Music Sidebar at the 2016 Florida Film Festival

By Leslie C. Halpern

As in previous years, the 25th Annual Florida Film Festival, produced by Enzian Theater and held from April 8-17 throughout Central Florida, offers a music sidebar, in addition to the American Independent Competition, celebrity guests, special events, food films, midnight movies, family programming, international films, Florida films, and retro films. This year’s music sidebar presents three full-length documentaries and one short film focusing on music industry professionals, who are innovative and interesting, yet not necessarily as well known or financially compensated as many of their musical peers.

Presenting Princess Shaw. Photo courtesy of Florida Film Festival.

Presenting Princess Shaw. Photo courtesy of Florida Film Festival.

Presenting Princess Shaw

(Screens Monday, April 11, 4:15 p.m. – 5:50 p.m. at Regal Winter Park Village and Thursday, April 14, 6:30 p.m. – 8:20 p.m. at Enzian Theater.)

Israeli director Ido Haar introduces audiences to Princess Shaw (Samantha Montgomery), a New Orleans woman who longs to be an Internet singing sensation. She posts her a cappella clips from nearly deserted open mic nights on YouTube, hoping to go viral. The 38-year-old caregiver works with the elderly in her regular job, but dreams of sharing her music with the world. Unbeknownst to her, an Israeli musician (Kutiman [Ophir Kutiel]) living on a kibbutz has discovered her online and creates new music with bits and pieces from YouTube videos by various poeple, including those of Princess Shaw. This new musical collaboration may finally provide her with the audience she’s been seeking for so long.

  • Run Time: 80 minutes
  • MPAA Rating: Unrated
  • Additional Note: This film is preceded by the 17-minute short from director Gabriel Sunday, Hi, How are you Daniel Johnston?
Danny Says. Photo courtesy of Florida Film Festival.

Danny Says. Photo courtesy of Florida Film Festival.

Danny Says

(Screens Monday, April 11, 9:15 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. and Friday, April 15, 9:15 p.m. – 11:00 p.m., both at Regal Winter Park Village.)

Directed by Brendan Toller (I Need That Record! The Death [or Possible Survival] of the Independent Record Store), this film examines the life, times, and jobs of Danny Fields, known for his work as a music manager, director of publicity at Elektra Records, and rock journalist. Having worked with many groundbreaking groups, including the Doors, Cream, Lou Reed, Nico, the Stooges, and the Ramones, Fields has supported music and musicians as a behind-the-scenes icon for decades. This film includes appearances by Judy Collins, Alice Cooper, John Cameron Mitchell, Iggy Pop, Tommy Ramone, and Jann Wenner.

  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • MPAA Rating: Unrated
  • Additional Note: Florida Premiere
Syl Johnson: Any Way the Wind Blows. Photo courtesy of Florida Film Festival.

Syl Johnson: Any Way the Wind Blows. Photo courtesy of Florida Film Festival.

Syl Johnson: Any Way the Wind Blows

(Screens Saturday, April 16, 4:15 p.m. – 5:55 p.m. and Sunday, April 17, 12:30 pm. – 2:10 p.m., both at Regal Winter Park Village.)

Chicago R&B singer and guitarist Syl Johnson was a sensation in the 1960s with his hits “Come On Sock It to Me,” “Different Strokes,” and “Is It Because I’m Black.” Yet, despite undeniable talent, record deals, lively stage presence, and a full schedule of touring, Johnson faded to obscurity rather than soared to the heights of his musical rival, Al Green. Leaving the music business to explore other options for supporting his family, Johnson (now close to 80 years old according to one of his daughters) made an unexpected comeback in recent years through hundreds of rap and hip hop artists sampling his music and being forced (with the threat of lawsuits) to give him the proper credit and compensation. Director Rob Hatch-Miller calls upon RZA, Prince Paul, Peanut Butter Wolf, Jazzy Jay, Jonathan Lethem, Otis Clay, and Syleena Johnson to help share Syl’s story of one man finally getting what he thinks he’s due from the music industry.

  • Run Time: 84 minutes
  • MPAA Rating: Unrated
  • Additional Note: Southeast Premiere

For more information about the Florida Film Festival and a full list of films, visit the official website.

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