2017 Florida Film Festival Special Guests

By Leslie C. Halpern

The 26th Annual Florida Film Festival, produced by Enzian Theater and held from April 21st  through the 30th throughout Central Florida, offers more than 180 feature and short films from 40 different countries, in addition to celebrity guests, special events, film forums, and parties.

This year’s festival includes 19 features and 65 short films competing in narrative features and documentary programs for the American Independent Competition. The Festival also includes special screenings of food films, international films, midnight movies, family programming, spotlight films, retro films, music films, and Florida films.

So while film buffs need to check the Festival’s online schedule to make their movie plans, star gazers should buy their tickets early to reserve a place at the limited-seating special guest events. Tickets for these events can be purchased with General Admission tickets or through a Backstage Pass, which includes the event, plus a Meet & Greet, and photo opportunity (for guests who bring their own camera).

Billy Crudup. Photo courtesy of Florida Film Festival.

Billy Crudup

Special Festival guests this year include actor Billy Crudup for “An Evening with Billy Crudup, featuring Jesus’ Son,” the 1999 Alison Maclean-directed drama. The event takes place on Friday, April 28th from 7:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. at Enzian Theater. Known for his work on stage and screen, Crudup appeared in the recent films Jackie, 20th Century Women, and Spotlight, and in the upcoming Alien: Covenant and 1 Mile to You. Crudup will be available for Q&A after the film screening.

Lea Thompson. Photo courtesy of Florida Film Festival.

Lea Thompson

The Festival also welcomes Lea Thompson for “An Evening with Lea Thompson, featuring Back to the Future,” the 1985 Robert Zemeckis-directed sci-fi adventure that started the series. The event takes place on Sunday, April 23rd from 7:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. at Enzian Theater. Known for her work in film, theater, and television, Thompson also directed several films for Hallmark as part of the Jane Doe film series, in addition to directing The Goldbergs, and the upcoming film The Year of Spectacular Men, in which she co-stars with her daughter, Zoey Deutch.

David Zucker (l) and Robert Hays (r). Photo courtesy of Florida Film Festival.

David Zucker and Robert Hays

On Saturday, April 29th from 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Enzian Theater will host “An Afternoon with David Zucker and Robert Hays, featuring Airplane.” Zucker co-wrote and co-directed the 1980 comedy classic that starred Robert Hays as the handsome, but traumatized former fighter pilot who is called upon to save the day when a series of disasters occur onboard his plane. The cast includes Leslie Nielsen, Julie Hagerty, Robert Stack, Peter Graves, Lloyd Bridges, and Kareem-Abdul Jabbar.

Visit the Florida Film Festival website for full movie listings and ticket information.

2016 Florida Film Festival Special Guests and Parties

By Leslie C. Halpern

The 25th Annual Florida Film Festival, produced by Enzian Theater and held from April 8-17 throughout Central Florida, offers more than 180 feature and short films from 36 countries, in addition to celebrity guests, special events, film forums, and parties.

This year’s festival includes competing films in narrative features and documentary programs for the American Independent Competition, plus special screenings of food films, international films, midnight movies, family programming, spotlight films, retro films, music films, and Florida films.

Special Guests

Special guests this year include actress Sissy Spacek for “An Evening with Sissy Spacek featuring Badlands,” a film she personally chose for the occasion. The event, which takes place at Enzian Theater in Maitland, Florida, is scheduled for Friday, April 15th from 7:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Directed by Terrence Malick, this 1973 film stars Spacek and Martin Sheen as teenagers who go on a killing spree, murdering ten people during a nine-day period as they wander aimlessly across South Dakota. Spacek will be available for Q&A after the film screening.

Sissy Spacek and Martin Sheen star in Badlands. Photo courtesy of Florida Film Festival.

Sissy Spacek and Martin Sheen star in Badlands. Photo courtesy of Florida Film Festival.

Actor-director-writer-producer Mark Duplass will be on hand for “An Evening with Mark Duplass featuring The Puffy Chair,” a comedy he co-directed with his brother, Jay Duplass. Scheduled for Sunday, April 10th from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at Enzian, the event will include a screening of the 2005 film about a puffy purple armchair purchased from eBay as a birthday gift. The movie will be followed by a Q&A session with Duplass.

Mark Duplass stars in The Puffy Chair. Photo courtesy of Florida Film Festival.

The Puffy Chair stars Mark Duplass. Photo courtesy of Florida Film Festival.

Both of the special guest events can be purchased with General Admission tickets or through a Backstage Pass, which includes the event, plus a Meet & Greet, and photo opportunity (for guests who bring their own camera).

Parties

Nearly a dozen parties also will be held in conjunction with the Festival. The Opening Night Party on Friday, April 8th kicks off the celebration at Enzian at 7:00 p.m. with a screening of The Lobster, starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz in a film directed by Yorgos Lanthimos about single people given ultimatums of find suitable mates or being turned into the animal of their choice. The movie is followed by a party outside Enzian Theater at Eden Bar (8:00 p.m. until 2:00 a.m.) with food samples and cocktails from several restaurants and bars, including Eden Bar, Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, Jillycakes Orlando, Hourglass Brewery, Terrapin Beer Company, and many more local favorites. Prices: Film only $25; Party only $95; Film and Party $110.

The Lobster is the opening night movie at 2016 Florida Film Festival. Photo courtesy of Florida Film Festival.

The Lobster is the opening night movie at 2016 Florida Film Festival. Photo courtesy of Florida Film Festival.

Additional parties open to the public include: Festival Block Party on Saturday, April 9th from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Regal Winter Park Village; on Sunday, April 10th, Locally Fresh (food documentaries and live demonstrations – beginning at 11:00 a.m./tickets $12), followed by free farmers market at Enzian from noon until 2:30 p.m.; Sunday Brunch Buffet at Enzian on April 10th from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. with food provided by Enzian and Eden Bar for $13.99; Awards Bash on Saturday, April 16th from 4:30 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. at Enzian, featuring a dinner buffet and awards ceremony (tickets $45 in advance, $50 day of the event); and Closing Sunday Brunch Buffet at Enzian and Eden Bar on April 17th from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. (cost is $13.99).

Visit the Florida Film Festival website for full movie listings and ticket information.

 

 

How to Present Your Book Proposal to an Agent

By Leslie C. Halpern

Writer’s conferences are a great way to meet agents and present your proposal, because literary agents fly in from all over the country specifically for this purpose. Meeting a literary agent (or publisher or book coach or editor) face-to-face may seem far more intimidating than sending out query letters and proposal packages through the mail.

These 10-minute pre-arranged interviews, however, provide a tremendous advantage over the thousands of other writers who never get (or never take) the chance to pitch out-of-town agents in person.

Although direct interaction with the agent has a strict time limit, the amount of time spent preparing for the writer’s conference should be extensive. Authors can’t just walk in unprepared and expect to dazzle the agent with a great idea. Many people have wonderful ideas; it’s having a wonderful idea and proving that you can implement it that lands an agent and publishing contract.

Need a literary agent?

Need a literary agent?

In addition, if authors are lucky enough to interest the agent in a book project, then they need to send the materials immediately before his or her enthusiasm dies down. The only way to send these materials in a timely manner is to have them prepared in advance before the interview. Authors can consult one of the many books on the subject of how to prepare a book proposal.

In preparing for an agent interview, focus on two areas: what to do and what to bring.

What to Do

  • For nonfiction book projects, write a clean, edited proposal, a table of contents, and up to three sample chapters.
  • For fiction or collections of stories, write a clean, edited proposal and the entire manuscript, if possible.
  • Prepare a writing resume that highlights your publishing history and relevant education and experience.
  • Research the agents attending the writer’s conference to see what kinds of genres they represent.
  • Dress as if you were going to a job interview.
  • Be prepared to deliver an oral 2-3 sentence synopsis for your book. Have a clear idea of the genre and market.

What to Bring

  • The manuscript (or at least a portion of it). Agents usually don’t want to read it there or take it with them (because manuscripts weigh down their luggage). Typically they will give you a business card with directions to send it to them.
  • A writing resume, a 2-3 sentence synopsis, and business cards.
  • Copies of your previously published books or articles (if no book credits).
  • Pen and paper to take notes. Write down any suggestions the agent offers, even if they don’t want to take you on as a client.
  • A list of questions you would like answered.

Good luck!