2017 Florida Film Festival Competing Documentaries

By Leslie C. Halpern

The 26th Annual Florida Film Festival, produced by Enzian Theater and held from April 21-30 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, as well as special screenings of food films, international films, midnight movies, family programming, spotlight films, retro films, music films, and Florida films.

This year’s festival also includes 19 features and 65 short films competing in narrative features and documentary programs in the American Independent Competition. Always a crowd favorite for its eccentricity and diversity, the full-length documentary programming includes nine full-length films ranging from an examination of Baltimore, Maryland’s rat population (Rat Film) to a transgender firefighter in New York City (Woman on Fire).

2017 Documentary Features Competition

8 Borders, 8 Days. Photo courtesy of Florida Film Festival.

8 Borders, 8 Days (2017)

Sham, a single mother of two young children, travels from Syria to Lebanon to Greece and beyond seeking freedom for her family.

  • Director: Amanda Bailly
  • Run time: 60 minutes
  • Screenings: Saturday, April 22, 12:30 p.m. (Regal Winter Park Village); Wednesday, April 26, 1:15 p.m. (Enzian Theater)
  • Additional Information: In Arabic with English Subtitles; World Premiere

Cassette: A Documentary Mixtape. Photo courtesy of Florida Film Festival.

Cassette: A Documentary Mixtape (2016)

Experience the revival of the compact audio cassette, which is enjoying newfound popularity among modern-day hipsters.

  • Director: Zack Taylor
  • Run time: 92 minutes
  • Screenings: Sunday, April 23, 11:30 a.m. (Regal Winter Park Village); Thursday, April 27, 9:30 p.m. (Regal Winter Park Village)
  • Additional Information: East Coast Premiere/2nd US Showing

Circus Kid. Photo courtesy of Florida Film Festival.

Circus Kid (2016)

Actor Lorenzo Pisoni looks back at his life growing up in his father’s traveling show, The Pickle Family Circus.

  • Director: Lorenzo Pisoni
  • Run time: 71 minutes
  • Screenings: Sunday, April 23, 4:30 p.m. (Regal Winter Park Village); Wednesday, April 26, 9:30 p.m. (Enzian Theater)
  • Additional Information: Southeast Premiere

For Ahkeem. Photo courtesy of Florida Film Festival.

For Ahkeem (2017)

Delinquent teen Daje Shelton finishes her high school at a court-supervised alternative school amid her pregnancy, the school’s strict policies, and growing violence in the nearby town of Ferguson, Missouri.

  • Director: Jeremy S. Levine and Landon Van Soest
  • Run time: 90 minutes
  • Screenings: Monday, April 24, 7:15 p.m. (Regal Winter Park Village); Wednesday, April 26, 3:45 p.m. (Enzian Theater)
  • Additional Information: Southeast Premiere/2nd US Showing

The Peacemaker. Photo courtesy of Florida Film Festival.

The Peacemaker (2016)

Professor, author, pub owner, and recovering alcoholic, Padraig O’Malley is one of the world’s most respected experts on conflict negotiation.

  • Director: James Demo
  • Run time: 90 minutes
  • Screening: Saturday, April 22, 1:15 p.m. (Enzian Theater); Thursday, April 27, 3:45 p.m. (Regal Winter Park Village)
  • Additional Information: Southeast Premiere/2nd US Showing

Rat Film. Photo courtesy of Florida Film Festival.

Rat Film (2016)

This unpredictable exploration of the rat infestation in Baltimore, Maryland, looks at the rodents from a practical, historical, scientific, and metaphysical perspective.

  • Director: Theo Anthony
  • Screenings: Sunday, April 23, 9:00 p.m. (Regal Winter Park Village); Thursday, April 27, 7:00 p.m. (Regal Winter Park Village)
  • Run time: 82 minutes

Strad Style. Photo courtesy of Florida Film Festival.

Strad Style (2017)

With no formal training, Danny Houck takes on the daunting assignment of recreating a 300-year-old violin for virtuoso violinist Razvan Stoica.

  • Director: Stefan Avalos
  • Run time: 104 minutes
  • Screenings: Saturday, April 22, 4:00 p.m. (Enzian Theater); Tuesday, April 25, 9:00 p.m. (Regal Winter Park Village)
  • Additional Information: Southeast Premiere

This Cold Life. Photo courtesy of Florida Film Festival.

This Cold Life (2017)

Meet the 2,200 unusual inhabitants of Svalbard, Norway, the world’s northernmost town.

  • Director: Darren Mann
  • Run time: 88 minutes
  • Screenings: Friday, April 28, 4:00 p.m. (Enzian Theater); Sunday, April 30, 3:00 p.m. (Regal Winter Park Village)
  • Additional Information: US Premiere

Woman on Fire. Photo courtesy of Florida Film Festival.

Woman on Fire (2016)

The first transgender firefighter in the history of the New York Fire Department, Brooke Guinan comes from a family of firefighters, yet finds she must fight for acceptance in a male-dominated profession.

  • Director: Julie Sokolow
  • Run time: 84 minutes
  • Screenings: Saturday, April 22, 9:15 p.m. (Enzian Theater); Tuesday, April 25, 6:30 p.m. (Regal Winter Park Village)
  • Additional Information: Southeast Premiere

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

 

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.