Orlando has a lot of festivals dedicated to the arts, but one of my favorites is the annual Florida Film Festival, which runs from April 8 to 17 this year.
Produced by Enzian, one of the best places to catch a movie in Orlando, this fest is a perfect blend of indie and lesser-known films, food and parties.
2011 is the 20th anniversary of the Florida Film Festival, and as such, it will celebrate all things Florida, from film to food.
Among the highlights of the festival are the Opening Night Film and Party, which takes place on April 8. Tickets for this event are $20 to see the film only, $80 to only attend the party, and $100 for both the film and party. The party will feature food from several area restaurants, including Enzian/Eden Bar, the Ravenous Pig, 4 Rivers Smokehouse and more.
There are two celebrity events to attend. The first is “Victor in Paradise: An Afternoon with Victor Nunez, featuring Ruby in Paradise.” Following a screening of the film on April 16 at the Enzian, director Victor Nunez will do a Q&A with the audience. Tickets are only $10.
The second is “An Evening with Alan Arkin,” also at the Enzian on April 16. This event will begin with a special 45th anniversary screening of the classic Cold-War comedy “The Russians are Coming! The Russians are Coming!” – a film that earned Arkin his first Oscar® nomination in 1966. Following the film, the actor will do a Q&A with the audience. Tickets for this are only $30, but this may be postponed due to Arkin’s health following a recent car accident.
There are several food and film events worth noting, too. Enjoy a night of Italian cinema on April 11, along with an intermission of food provided by Olive Garden. Tickets are $10 for each film (La Pivellina and Amarcord), but the tasting reception is free.
The “Peroni & Popcorn: Hitchcock Happy Hour,” happening April 13 at the Enzian/Eden Bar, sounds like fun. It features gourmet popcorn paired with select brews while classic Hitchcock films play on a large outdoor screen. The films are free; the popcorn/drinks are available for purchase.
Let’s not forget the films, either. Among the ones I’m interested in catching are:
- Mutant Girls Squad (a Japanese splatter flick described as “a cross between the Powerpuff Girls, the X-Men, and a Gwar concert”)
- The People vs. George Lucas (a Star Wars fan documentary)
- The Troll Hunter (a Norwegian fantasy/horror flick)
- Midnight Son (a horror film with a twist)
- Hesher (a dark drama featuring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rainn Wilson and Natalie Portman)
- Super (a dark superhero comedy directed by James Gunn and featuring Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Liv Tyler, Kevin Bacon and Nathan Fillion)
Individual tickets to most films are $10, or you can buy them in groups of 4 for $40, 8 for $75 or 16 for $140, all of which include an official program voucher. For film fanatics, there is also the Platinum Pass, which at $650, includes priority seating, party invitations and a swag bag, among other benefits.
All tickets and the platinum pass are available for purchase online at the Florida Film Festival website or in person at the Enzian box office.
[Images courtesy of Florida Film Festival and Ambush Entertainment/James Gunn]