2014 Florida Film Festival: The Good News: My Viewing Schedule

FFF2014LogoUsually, if you ask me whether I want the good news or the bad news first, I’ll tell you I want the bad news. Bad news first means I get the opportunity to troubleshoot, and then have some of the sting taken away by the good news. Hearing the good news first means that the good news is not as sweet as it could be. In the back of my mind, I’m always wondering what the bad news is, so the good news loses its luster. And then tarnishes quickly, as I turn my attention to the bad news.

Since I’m a bad news first kind of person, I intended to post my list of films I will not be seeing before I post the list of films I will be seeing. But I needed to work out what I will be seeing first! Since I will be posting details of films I see after the fact, this good news post is mostly a list. You’ll get trailers and details after I see the films. But since I’m not going to see the films on the bad news list, I want that post to be more detailed, along the lines of what I wrote for the Shorts #1. That will take some time. So good news first, for a change.

It took me quite a long time to come up with this schedule. But this is final. I think.

Friday, April 4

7:00 pm – 9:00 pm The Trip to Italy
Surprise! I’m making it to the opening night film. My husband needed to be in the office on Friday, so we came back from Austin a day early. This film is a sequel to a 2010 film, The Trip which was a feature-length version of a British comedy TV show. It is preceded by the animated short Oh Sheep! about two separate flocks of sheep who insist on mingling, despite their owners’ efforts to keep them apart.

Saturday, April 5

11:00 am – 12:30 pm Locally Fresh!
A video about local farming accompanied by food from local producers.

12:00 pm – 2:30 pm Locally Fresh! Farmers Market
A regular farmer’s market, which I will wander through between shows.

1:30 pm – 3:20 pm Druid Peak
A teenager causes the death of a friend and is sent from West Virginia to Wyoming to live with his father who works with the wolf relocation project in Yellowstone National Park.

4:15 pm – 5:35 pm After Winter, Spring
After Winter, Spring is a documentary about traditional farming in Perigord, France. It is preceded by the short Faces from Places – Louisiana: La Boucherie, which is about a Cajun butcher and BBQ.

6:30 pm – 8:00 pm For No Good Reason
A documentary about the work of cartoonist Ralph Steadman. Johnny Depp, who considers Steadman a mentor, is the film’s narrator.

8:45 pm – 10:20 pm Dom Hemingway
Jude Law plays the title character, a London safecracker, just back on the streets after 12 years in prison because he didn’t squeal on his boss, gets drawn back into a life of crime.

Sunday, April 6

12:30 pm – 1:55 pm Le Chef
A narrative feature about behind-the-scenes drama at a French restaurant.

2:00 pm – 3:40 pm Love Me
A documentary about modern-day mail-order Russian brides.

4:45 pm – 6:45 pm Joe
Starring Nicholas Cage in the title role, this film tells the story of the friendship between Joe and a 15-year-old who works for him.

7:15 pm – 8:50 pm Powerless
A documentary about illegal electric grids in Kanpur, India, built by locals who would otherwise have no electricity at all.

9:30 pm – 11:00 pm American Jesus
A documentary exploring various expressions of American Christianity.

Monday, April 7

4:30 pm – 5:50 pm Ernest & Celestine
The first film adaptation of a series of children’s books by Gabrielle Vincent. Animated.

6:30 pm – 8:10 pm Copenhagen
Starring Gethin Anthony (Renly Baratheon on Game of Thrones) as William. He goes to Copenhagen, his father’s birthplace, to find his last living relative. The film explores his emotional growth as he falls in love with a girl he meets in Copenhagen and struggles with his family’s past.

8:45 pm – 10:25 pm Last I Heard
Paul Sorvino (Paul Cicero in Goodfellas) stars as Joe Scoleri, a former Mafia capo returning to his Queens neighborhood after serving 20 years in federal prison.

Tuesday, April 8

3:45 pm – 5:25 pm Ilo Ilo
A narrative feature about what happens to a middle-class Singaporean family after the father loses his job.

6:30 pm – 8:10 pm Mission Congo
A documentary and journalistic expose of Pat Robertson’s “Operation Blessing,” a ‘humanitarian’ aid project allegedly providing help to Rwandan refugees. It is preceded by the documentary short Not Anymore: A Story of Revolution about the Syrian Revolution.

8:00 pm – 9:15 pm Whole Foods Market Tasting Reception
Complementary organic appetizers provided by Whole Foods Market.

9:15 pm – 11:00 pm The Front Man
A non-fiction comedy, 27 years in the making, focused on Jim Wood, the front man for a Jesey band called Loaded Poets. It is preceded by the documentary short Strike: The Greatest Bowling Story Every Told about the quest for a ‘perfect series’ — 3 games of nothing but strikes. It’s only been done 21 times since 1895!

Wednesday, April 9

11:00 am – 12:30 pm Bleary-Eyed and Bushy-Tailed: 1500+ Films in 100+ Days
A panel discussion, bringing us behind the scenes of the process of selecting films to screen during the Florida Film Festival.

1:15 pm – 2:50 pm I Believe in Unicorns
A teenager runs away with an older skateboarder, leaving behind her ailing mother, but begins to question her decision.

3:45 pm – 5:45 pm Winter in the Blood
Staring Chaske Spencer (Sam Uley in The Twilight Saga) as Virgil First Raise, who must come to grips with his past.

6:30 pm 0 8:20 pm Yellow
Beautiful, intelligent, and addicted to Vicodin, Mary Holmes (Heather Wahlquist, who also co-wrote the script), packs up her car to get away from Los Angeles and return to her childhood home.

9:30 pm – 11:15 pm Forev
Young twenty-something, barely acquainted neighbors get engaged and take a 6-hour road trip to pick up his sister from college.

Thursday, April 10

11:00 am – 12:30 pm Perseverance: Women in the Industry
A panel discussion of hurdles faced by women in the filmmaking industry.

1:30 pm – 3:20 pm Levitated Mass
A documentary about artist Michael Heizer moving a 340-ton rock 105 miles from a quarry to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

4:15 pm – 5:35 pm Ida
Set in 1960s communist Poland and shot in black and white. Young Anna is told to leave her convent and visit her last remaining relative, Communist Party Judge Aunt Wanda, before taking her final vows.

6:15 pm – 7:50 pm The Double
Based on a Dostoevsky novella and tarring Jesse Eisenberg (Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network) as meek and ineffectual Simon James and his doppelganger, brash and assertive James Simon who slowly starts taking over Simon James’ life.

9:30 pm – 11:15 pm Doomsdays
Two slackers spend their time breaking into and living in vacation homes, moving on to a new one when they run out of food or are chased off.

Friday, April 11

11:00 am – 12:30 pm Pushing the Curfew: A Case Study from Short to Feature
A discussion with the director of Curfew, a short film aired during the 2010 Florida Film Festival, about the process of transforming the short into a feature-length film.

2:00 pm – 3:30 pm Filmmaker Forum
A panel discussion with filmmakers discussing their craft.

The next two films listed are tentative as I may have to drive my husband to the airport. April 13, 2014 marks the 2-year anniversary of his father’s death, so he is spending the weekend visiting his mother. Originally, we were both going to go, and this would have been the end of my Film Festival experience. However, airfares are twice as much as usual because this weekend is the beginning of spring break up north, so my husband is going by himself, and I will be seeing a lot more films. We have yet to determine what will work best re: airport transportation.

4:30 pm – 6:15 pm (tentatively) Gabrielle
A developmentally challenged young woman’s quest for independence and sexual freedom. The title character is played by Gabrielle Marion-Rivard, who has Williams syndrome in real life.

6:30 pm – 8:25 pm (tentatively) International Shorts
9 separate shorts are included as part of this shorts program

9:30 pm – 11:15 pm Shorts Program 5: Animated Shorts
17 separate shorts are included as part of this Shorts program!

11:30 pm – 12:50 am The Final Member
A documentary about a penis museum. Really. This Icelandic museum has a specimen of every single mammalian penis on the planet, except for a human member. But there’s a few volunteers willing to donate, posthumously. Or perhaps before then.

Saturday, April 12

12:30 pm – 2:00 pm Led Zeppelin Played Here
An investigation of the legend that claims then-unknown Led Zeppelin performed for 50 teenagers in the gym of the Wheaton Youth Center in Maryland on January 20, 1969.

3:45 pm – 5:45 Chu and Blossom
Chu is an exchange student from South Korea, having a hard time acclimating to American life, until he meets and becomes friends with Blossom, a performance artist.

6:45 pm – 8:20 pm I Feel Like Disco
A father and his teenage son have to renegotiate their relationship after the boy’s mother suffers a stroke and slips into a coma.

9:15 pm – 11:05 pm Before I Disappear
This is the feature-length film that started out as the short Curfew. Loser and druggie Richie finds a woman overdosed in the club where he works, and asked by his boss to keep it quiet. He plans to attempt suicide, but is interrupted by his estranged sister who asks him to look after her 11-year-old daughter.

11:30 pm – 12:50 am Cheatin’
An animated feature-length film about newlyweds Jake and Ella. A jealous female friend give Jake fake evidence that Ella is cheating and he goes on a binge of revenge sex. Ella finds out and plans retaliation of her own.

Sunday, April 13

12:00 pm – 1:15 pm Annie: It’s the Hard Knock Life
A behind-the-scenes look at the revival of the Broadway musical Annie, focusing on the song in the film title. This film is available in its entirety on PBS’s website, so I may end up skipping it and watching on my own.

2:00 pm – 3:45 pm Florida Shorts: The Best of Brouhaha
14 shorts are included in this program. Brouhaha is a festival held in the fall at the Enzian Theatre and featuring Florida filmmaking students and local filmmakers. The shorts in this Florida Film Festival program were selected by a 2013 Brouhaha Festival jury to represent The Best of Brouhaha at the Florida Film Festival.

4:15 pm – 6:00 pm 15 to Life Kenneth’s Story
The United States is the only country in the world that sentences children to life in prison. In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Graham v. Florida decision that it is unconstitutional to sentence juveniles to life in prison without the possibility of parole for non-homicide crimes. Before the decision, 129 juveniles had been sentenced to life for non-homicide crimes; 77 of those were in Florida. This film tells the story of Kenneth, who at 14 committed an armed robbery in Florida and was sentenced to life. He has been in prison for more than a decade, and now a clinic at Florida State University represents him in appealing the life sentence.

7:15 pm – 9:05 pm Words and Pictures
An English teacher challenges an art teacher to a war of words versus images to determine which form carries the greatest meaning.
And that’s all folks. 10 days, 34 feature-length films, 44 shorts, 5 discussions, and a couple food events. It’s going to be a good time!

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