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April 22, 2004



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This Page is copyright 2000 FLORIDA TODAY.

April 22, 2004

 

Apr 22, 7:08 PM

Film festivals flood Florida

BY BREUSE HICKMAN
FLORIDA TODAY

Sure, blockbusters still reign at the local cineplexes.

Florida's film fests
Jacksonville Film Festival, May 13 to 16 in downtown Jacksonville.

Melbourne Independent Filmmakers' Festival, Sept. 9 to 11, various venues in Brevard.

Always will.

But more and more, Florida is serving up venues where you can enjoy creative moviegoing experiences while avoiding the outpouring of cliché-ridden action flicks and films about interchangeable teens who hurt each others' feelings.

Film festivals are popping up everywhere around the Sunshine State. And even though Central Florida's film festival granddaddy -- the Florida Film Festival in Orlando and Maitland -- has come and gone this year, there still are plenty of festivals to choose from in the coming months.

Like cable TV, film festivals have the luxury of catering to large and niche-oriented audiences.

"Florida is very diverse in its appeal and has these pockets of culture, like in Miami and Sarasota," said screenwriter and Brevard Community College film professor Jeff Johnson, whose latest book, "Pervert in the Pulpit" ($32; McFarland & Company), offers the author's viewpoints on filmmaker and film festival fixture David Lynch. "If you think about it, the art aficionados in Florida are desperate for cultural events. Film festivals are a good excuse to make one up."

Not to mention that video and digital video-movie making have lowered filmmaking production budgets.

"Now everyone wants to think they are a filmmaker," he said. "But like with everything else, the cream rises to the top."

Here's what's coming up:


Jacksonville Film Festival, May 13 to 16 in downtown Jacksonville: This is only the second year that Jacksonville has hosted an official film festival. But you wouldn't know it judging by how many indie films blanket the downtown district. About 40 features will be shown in six downtown venues, most of which are in historic locations.
All the better to remind people that Jacksonville, not Orlando, was the first so-called Hollywood East.

"During the '20s, many filmmakers came to Jacksonville to make movies," festival spokeswoman Liz Morgan said. "Now with Jacksonville becoming more of a destination, it makes sense for us to have our own film festival."

For the festival schedule, visit, www.jacksonvillefilmfestival.com.


Melbourne Independent Filmmakers' Festival, Sept. 9 to 11, various venues in Melbourne: It's not happening until the fall, but the jury is accepting films through July 4. And even though the local festival now attracts entries from as far away as Iran and New Zealand, organizer and filmmaker Terry Cronin says MIFF still focuses on supporting Florida Filmmakers and strives to offer films that will appeal to Brevard audiences.
At the same time, that local audience is expanding its tastes.

"Brevard audiences aren't naive," Cronin said. "Our audience here has grown to the point that they are well versed in independent films."

For more information about MIFF, visit www.3boysproductions.com.

Contact Hickman at 242-3789 or bhickman@flatoday.net

 

 

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