Florida Indies are Theme at 20th Florida Film Fest
(released 3/27/2011)

The Florida Film Festival is entering its 20th year.  We have seen a general direction of the themes lately centering around food.  This year, they bring everything together.  The 20th anniversary theme is Fresh Squeezed Indies.  With this theme, they have Florida Indie Film combined with Florida Citrus for their food.

They have asked former Florida resident Scott Foundas to create a series of films that make him think about Florida.  It is titled "Visions of Florida: A Native Tribute."  For background, Foundas is a film critic and programmer for the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York.

Foundas has picked River of Grass (1994), The Yearling (1964), Vernon, Florida (1981), and Ruby in Paradise (1993).  Director Victor Nunez will be on hand for the screening of Ruby in Paradise on Saturday, April 16th.  Nunez will do a Q&A with the audience which will be moderated by Foundas.

Along with a food theme in recent years, there has been an uptick in the participation of Florida films being screened.  This year is no exception.

In addition to the already mentioned films, Florida will be represented by 9 more and an entire showcase of Florida shorts.

Square Grouper: The Godfathers of Ganja is making its rounds in the state.  It has played at the Miami International Film Festival and the Gasparilla Film Festival.  It is directed by Billy Corben who has made a name for himself with Cocaine Cowboys.  His latest documentary covers three groups of marijuana smugglers in the 70's.  Thursday, April 14 at 6:45pm and Saturday, April 16 at 4:00pm.

Bots High is a documentary that follows three teams to a national robotics championship in Miami.  If you liked BattleBots from Comedy Central, you may want to watch catch this.  Directed by Joey Daoud.  Sunday, April 17 at 12:00pm.

A Beautiful Belly is the local Orlando sweatheart.  It is a narrative feature by UCF alum Andrew Kenneth Gay.  This is its world premiere.  This is Gay's first feature film.  It was shot on the Canon 5D Mark II, which along with the 7D, is revolutionizing indie filmmaking.  That camera enabled Gay to complete his feature on a budget of $25,000.  A Beautiful Belly is about a young couple Jason and Danny.  Danny gets pregnant on their first date.  They decide to get married.  They both find themselves attracted to other people.  You'll have to watch the movie to find out what happens.  http://www.abeautifulbelly.com/story/ for the trailer and a better summary.  Saturday, April 16 at 4:00pm.

Mr. Happy Man is a documentary short in competition.  It is directed by Winter Park's Matt Morris.  Johnny Barnes likes to make people happy and Matt Morris is going to introduce us to him.  Screens prior to Louder Than a Bomb on Saturday, April 9 at 12:30pm and Tuesday, April 12 at 9:15pm.

Tanzania: A Friendship Journey is a feature length documentary by director Sylvia Caminer.  This doc follows American Kristen and Tanzanian Venance as he shows her his home and his people in the village of Moshi in Africa.  Caminer will be in attendance for the world premiere on Sunday, April 10 at 3:15pm.

Other films with Florida ties include The Weird World of Blowfly directed by Jonathan Furmanski (doc subject is Miami musician Clarence Reid), Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe directed by Les Blank (Tampa native), Kodachrome directed by Xander Robin (FSU), and Midnight Son directed by Scott Leberecht (produced by UCF alumni Matt Compton and Eduardo Sanchez).

Don't forget about the Florida Shorts: Best of Brouhaha.  It's 89 minutes of short films by Florida indie and student filmmakers.  Saturday, April 16 at 1:30pm.

Tickets are currently on sale for the festival that runs April 8-17.  Get the full lineup of films and parties at http://www.floridafilmfestival.com.

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