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 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.
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.
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).
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.
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.