Festival celebrates quirky films
Attendees bored with Hollywood
By Breuse Hickman
MELBOURNE -- In a county perhaps better known for fish camps
than art films, it seemed fitting that the Melbourne Independent
Film Festival's guest celebrity was Boss Hogg's deputy sheriff.
But veteran actor and Florida resident James Best didn't attend
the weekend festival merely to talk about his stint playing Roscoe
P. Coltrane on the low-brow '80s television hit "Dukes of
Instead, Best was in Melbourne to promote his new production
company at Orlando's Universal Studios and discuss the future
of independent film.
"To tell you the truth, I don't care much for Hollywood,"
Best told a crowd of about 150 people who had gathered at Melbourne's
Henegar Center on Saturday to watch short films and discuss filmmaking
with visiting filmmakers.
"Hollywood today figures that if you're older than 30, you're
irrelevant. And yet everything Hollywood turns out has been done
before. It's ridiculous that films cost $300 million to make with
stars getting paid $20 million," he said.
Indeed, the shared sentiment among attending filmmakers was that
newer forms of technology namely high definition video
-- will make filmmaking more accessible to those far outside the
In its fourth year, the film festival -- organized by Melbourne
dermatologist Terry Cronin Jr. -- expanded from two to three days,
including a Thursday night preview party at Da Kine Diego's Insane
Burritos in Satellite Beach. About 100 people, including Best,
showed up to the outdoor preview party.
Among them was Ray Serwin, 72, of Melbourne Beach. He enjoyed
the films "Bored of the Rings" and "Moon Place"
so much that he and his wife, Gay, attended Saturday's festivities
at the Henegar Center. He did not care as much for the morning's
offering, a mix of American and international shorts that ranged
from stylish to quirky.
. "But I'll stick around all day," he said. "I'm
going to the VIP party later on."
But the more outrageous short films were exactly what drew 17-year-old
Nick Martinolich of Merritt Island. He was part of a packed house
of movie goers at Friday's night's portion of the event that took
place at Melbourne's Metro Cinema Café as well as Saturday's
showings at the Henegar.
"I don't like the stuff that Hollywood puts out that much,"
he said. "I thought this would be a chance to see a wider
range of (filmmaking) styles. We don't get that much around here,"
Earlier on Saturday, Orlando filmmaker Joann Tyson, 43, felt
nervous about showing her short film "Meeting Bob."
"But the crowd seemed to like it," she said. "At
least, they applauded and didn't throw eggs."
Filmmaker Jose A. Acosta traveled from Atlanta to the festival
where his computer animated film "Edgar Allen Poe's Tales
of Mystery" was a big hit.
"It's really cool," Acosta said of the Melbourne festival.
"It's for a benefit -- a good cause. That's very unusual
for film festivals."
Since it's inception, the festival has raised money for Unconditional
Love, a local charity for HIV and AIDS patients.