2014 Florida Film Festival: An Introduction

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I’m Karen, aka greenegirlcr, and I’m excited to be guestblogging about The Florida Film Festival for An Inanimate F*cking Blog!

I am a New Englander who moved to the Orlando metro area 12 years ago to escape the cold. For many years, I referred to Orlando as ‘a cultural void.’ The truth was, I wasn’t taking advantage of the cultural opportunities that Orlando offers. It’s not Boston (my former home), and it may be dominated by a certain mouse, but that doesn’t mean there’s no culture here. For the last three years, my husband and I have had season tickets to the Orlando Shakespeare Theater, an excellent regional theater. For a couple seasons, we had tickets to the Orlando Philharmonic Pops series; for a year we had Broadway in Orlando tickets.

As part of my ongoing quest to take advantage of the local cultural opportunities, I knew I would eventually get to the Enzian Theater. The Enzian, located 15 minutes north of Orlando in Maitland, is Central Florida’s only full-time alternative cinema. It is a dine-in theater, one of only two I know of in the area. The Enzian is a non-profit and member-supported theater. Their regular film schedule is a quirky mix of current independent film and classics, including a weekly ‘cult classic.’ The Enzian is also the headquarters of the Florida Film Festival.

The 23rd Annual Florida Film Festival will take place in Central Florida on April 4-13, 2014. More than 1700 (my brain made that up, apparently), 1500 (according to their website), 2000 films (according to an announcement at the Preview Party) were submitted to the Festival. 170 films from 26 different countries were accepted and will be shown during the Festival. Three juries award prizes in the following categories: Narrative Features, Narrative and Animated Shorts, and Documentaries.

The Florida Film Festival is an Oscar-qualifying festival. I didn’t know what that meant, so hopped over to the Oscars website and read some of the eligibility requirements for the Academy Awards (I’m a lawyer, so reading these kinds of things is fun for me). For most Academy Award categories, the film must be feature length (over 40 minutes, including the credits), publicly exhibited (and meet certain technical requirements for filming and sound) for paid admission in a commercial motion picture theater in Los Angeles County (and, for certain categories, also in the borough of Manhattan) for a qualifying run of at least 7 consecutive days, and advertised as is customary in the industry. For certain Academy Award Categories (but none of the big ones like best picture or the acting awards), winning a qualifying award at a competitive film festival is an acceptable substitute for the usual requirements. The Florida Film Festival is a competitive film festival and the grand prize in the Narrative Shorts or Animated Shorts category qualifies the winners for eligibility for an Academy Award in those categories. The winners still have to apply to the Academy; they are not automatically considered.

Attending the Florida Film Festival has been on my list of things to do for many years, but I never seem to remember it in time to go. I have occasionally attended a film that was a part of the Festival, but by happy accident, when I heard about a film I wanted to see and it was part of the Festival. This year, I remembered in time. I bought a pass that gives me access to every screening. My pass also gives me access to the preview party!

This intro post is going up after I attended the Preview Party. I am working on a separate post on that event, and will link it here when it is finished. I’m also planning at least one angst-ridden post as I work out the schedule of films I will attend during the Festival. I’ve already got problems trying to fit in at least one of the films I wanted to see. During the Festival, I will be posting at least one post per day, describing the films I attended and what it is like to attend a film festival.

I am so looking forward both to the Festival and to blogging about it. I hope you all enjoy it too!

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