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.

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.