2018 Florida Film Festival Music Sidebar

By Leslie C. Halpern

As in previous years, the 27th annual Florida Film Festival offers a music sidebar in addition to its other programming. This sidebar includes non-competing documentaries related to music, musicians, and musical instruments. In addition to this sidebar, the Festival also features live music at Eden Bar. Produced by Enzian Theater and held from April 6 – 15, 2018 throughout Central Florida, the Festival features parties, forums, and more than 180 independent narrative features, documentaries, and shorts on a variety of unusual subjects.

Music Sidebar Selections for 2018

40 Years in the Making: The Magic Music Movie

Hardcore hippies in the 1970s, the band Magic Music never produced an album nor achieved the widespread fame many felt it deserved.  Emmy-nominated sitcom writer-producer, Lee Aronsohn decided it was finally time to reunite the former members from his favorite band that played back when he was a student at the University of Colorado. Not only that, but he talked them into one more gig and a documentary.

40 Years in the Making: The Magic Music Movie. Photo courtesy of Florida Film Festival.

  • Director: Lee Aronsohn
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Screenings: Sunday, April 8, 4:00 p.m. (Regal Winter Park Village); Sunday April 15, 12:30 p.m. (Regal Winter Park Village)
  • Southeast Premiere
  • Talent in Attendance

The Godfathers of Hardcore

New York City hardcore legend Agnostic Front has survived 35 years of personal and professional challenges among its members. In addition to the music, this documentary explores friendship, family, drug problems, health issues, and, of course, the music. From film and music video director, Ian McFarland, this film looks at the two leaders in New York Hardcore and how they defined, shaped, and inspired the musical movement.

The Godfathers of Hardcore. Photo courtesy of Florida Film Festival.

  • Director: Ian McFarland
  • Stars: Roger Miret, Vinnie Stigma
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Screenings: Saturday, April 7, 9:00 p.m. (Regal Winter Park Village); Friday, April 13, 8:00 p.m. (Regal Winter Park Village)
  • Florida Premiere
  • Talent in Attendance on April 7

Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami

Forsaking traditional documentary-style storytelling, Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami provides viewers with a blend of bold concert performances and unscripted candid moments. There’s Jones the performer on stage singing in enormous high heels and an extraordinarily large hat and not much else. There’s Jones the businesswoman yelling at her promoter over the telephone. There’s Jones at home with her parents and other family members in Jamaica, all talking over each other at mealtime. Rather than the usual story arc, this doc presents different sides of the eccentric singer and lets the audience come to its own conclusions.

Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami. Photo courtesy of Florida Film Festival.

  • Director: Sophie Fiennes
  • Stars: Grace Jones, Jean-Paul Gourde
  • Run Time: 115 minutes
  • Screenings: Thursday, April 12, 6:30 p.m. (Regal Winter Park Village); Saturday, April 14, 9:00 p.m.
  • East Coast Premiere

Live Music at Florida Film Festival

Local musicians perform outside Eden Bar (located at Enzian Theater in Maitland) to enhance the atmosphere during the Festival. Free and open to the public.

  • Weekday Performances: 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
  • Weekend Performances: 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

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


2017 Florida Film Festival Music Sidebar

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-length and short films from 40 different countries, in addition to special events, film forums, parties, and celebrity guests including Billy Crudup, Lea Thompson, David Zucker, and Robert Hays.

This year’s festival includes 19 features and 65 short films competing in narrative features and documentary programs for the American Independent Competition. The programming includes special screenings of food films, international films, midnight movies, family programming, spotlight films, retro films, and Florida films. In keeping with its annual tradition, this year’s Festival also offers a music sidebar, in which two fascinating full-length music documentaries and one short film provide looks at lesser-known people, places, and musical traditions.

Honky Tonk Heaven: Legend of the Broken Spoke. Photo courtesy of Florida Film Festival.

Honky Tonk Heaven: Legend of the Broken Spoke

This fun documentary focuses on an Austin, Texas, honky tonk celebrating its 50th anniversary. Broken Spoke, owned and operated by husband-and-wife team James and Annetta White, welcomes the biggest names in country music to perform on its modest stage for enthusiastic locals and tourists from all over the world. Performers are quick to point out that Broken Spoke is not a classy dance hall where patrons get dressed up, nor a concert hall where people come merely to listen. This is a honky tonk where musicians play music so people can dance for hours on end. Known for its authentic Texas ambience, long-standing tradition of exclusively hiring country music bands, and serving its famous chicken fried steak (using Annetta’s family recipe), this well-known establishment remains unchanged amid the rapidly developing neighborhood around it. This satisfying film examines the music, food, family, culture, and history behind Broken Spoke.

  • Director: Sam Wainwright Douglas and Brenda Mitchell
  • Stars: The White family and dozens of country music stars including Willie Nelson and Dale Watson
  • Run time: 75 minutes
  • Screenings: Tuesday, April 25, 4:30 p.m. (Regal Winter Park Village); Saturday, April 29, 2:30 p.m. (Regal Winter Park Village)
  • Rating: 3.5 / 5

Vinyl Revival. Photo courtesy of Florida Film Festival.

Vinyl Revival

In its World Premiere, this short film looks at the aesthetics of vinyl records and why for some music lovers, CDs and digital downloads just won’t do. Three Florida record store owners offer their opinions on the subject.

  • Director: Shasta Ford
  • Run time: 10 minutes
  • Rating: 3 / 5
  • Additional Information: Screens with Honky Tonk Heaven

Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World. Photo courtesy of Florida Film Festival.

Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World

This ambitious documentary traces Native American influence on rock and roll, blues, and folk music. Spanning decades in time and locations around the country (including some scenes in Toronto, Canada) and filled with interesting historical information, the film provides profiles of nearly a dozen musicians of Native American descent. Beginning with Link Wray, whose notorious 1958 instrumental hit “Rumble” was banned from radio because of its perceived ability to incite violence, the doc uses live interviews specifically for the film (Stevie Salas, Robbie Robertson, Tony Bennett, Iggy Pop, Slash, Steven Tyler, Buffy Saint Marie, Taj Mahal, Martin Scorsese, etc.), in addition to archival interviews and concert footage. The filmmakers provide a broad picture of the evolving music scene and how it relates to Indian history and culture. The film never promises to be all-inclusive and it’s not. Some indigenous musicians are excluded and certain aspects of Indian culture are minimized or ignored. However, the exhaustive amount of research and obvious dedication to bring little-known information to the general public, make this an important film for all music lovers.

  • Director: Catherine Bainbridge and Alfonso Maiorana
  • Run time: 103 minutes
  • Screenings: Monday, April 24, 9:00 pm. (Regal Winter Park Village); Saturday, April 29, 6:30 p.m. (Regal Winter Park Village)
  • Rating: 4 / 5

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