Thursday, September 10, 2009
CenFlo part one!
Well, I didn’t have much of a chance to blog the Central Florida Film Festival and I thought that I’d better remedy that!
Rickey, who played Batraal in the flick, and I left Sarasota pretty early and after dealing with some errands that needed to be done, we made our way to Ocoee, Florida, which is about half an hour away from Orlando, and the host hotel which was the Best Western. The name isn’t redacted this time because it was an endlessly good experience from check-in to check-out.
We decided to go check out the host theatre so we got in the car and drove a whole two minutes to get to the West Orange 5, a cute little mom and pop theatre kind of set back from the road, but with a surprising amount of parking. The employees let us roam around a little, very nice theatre, but I didn’t know how nice until the weekend really got started.
From there, we decided to head over to downtown Disney for a look around and a bite to eat. We decided on the House of Blues for a salad with some amazingly tasty grilled chicken and chicken quesadillas. It was my first trip there, too...very cool place. Nice atmosphere, good music, and good company. Couldn’t ask for more!
After that, and with everything starting to close for the night, we headed back to the hotel to get some shut eye for the first day of the festival.
After waking up and primping and preening, we headed back to the theatre and met Kuuchi, a Gypsy Vanner horse. A documentary about the relatively new (to the US anyway) breed of horse had played just before we got to the theatre and the horse was outside in a pen to help drum up publicity for the breed. I’m not a horse woman per se; I like them, but I don’t go all gaga when I see them, but this was definitely a beautiful, friendly horsey.
We departed Kuuchi’s company and headed in and were immediately, and warmly I might add, greeted by Bob Cook, the director of the festival, before we headed into theatre 2 for our first film of the weekend, Aerojet Dade, a documentary about Homestead, Florida’s, participation in the space race of the sixties and the invention of solid rocket fuel. It was a tad dry, but otherwise fantastic.
We stayed in the theatre for the next film, Homeland Nation: Mescalero Apache, which was a made-for-television piece about the Mescalero Apache tribe of native Americans. It was well produced and well done, but it shouldn’t have had the commercial bumpers in it and it needed some proof-reading as there were several misspelled words.
Afterwards, we decided to go have lunch with some friends that were driving three hours just to come hang out so we went to the ginormous Mall at Millenia and raided FYE’s exceptional movie selection (I grabbed Lamberto Bava’s Demoni and Kasi Lemmons’ Talk to Me. You can’t say I’m not diverse!) After perusing a couple of other stores, we met up with our friends and ate at the Cheesecake Factory. Good lord, that place was busy, but the food was good so it wasn’t surprising that it was slammed.
We had to cut the hanging out a little short so we could go to the opening night party back at the hotel where we schmoozed and mingled and we met the Aerojet Dade filmmakers. Great people, lots of fun to talk to! The party was over at, like, 8:30 or so and we decided to leave a little early and head back to downtown Disney to catch the 9:00 performance of Cirque du Soleil’s La Nouba. I’d seen Cirque’s performances on Bravo before, but never live...such an amazing experience! If you have to chance to see them perform live, I highly recommend it!
After La Nouba, we headed back to the room to get some shut-eye for the next day’s film intensive activities, including the screening of our flick!
We woke up early enough to catch the Acting and Film in Florida seminars which were held in the Best Western conference room, very handy. Even though I’m not an actor, I attended the seminar as a filmmaker because you never know when you’re going to learn something new about dealing with actors. As it turns out, most of the people who attended the seminar had the same thoughts I did! It was great to learn at little bit about the various SAG contracts in order to get SAG actors in your flick.
The Film in Florida seminar was also fantastic, but a little harder to swallow as a filmmaker who had to go about the filming of her movie guerilla-style especially when one of the panelists doesn’t believe in film festivals, just pay checks, apparently. I understand that the business is a business, but there’s art in it, too, and if you don’t think so, Mr. Panelist, you’re missing the point entirely. While he gave some good advice, I don’t think he should have been on the panel.
After the lectures and grabbing some lunch, we headed over to the gay party at the Courtyard Mariott, which was directly behind our hotel, so directly that they shared parking spaces for an hour before heading over to the theatre for our screening. The party was fun, but not enough people showed up, which was a shame. Well, if they do the celebration of gay film next year, too, hopefully more people will show up.
Anyway, we meet Chris (who played the Priest in the flick) and his wife Reba at the theatre and sit down to watch the shorts package. Ours came first and there were at least 30 people total in the theatre, the most attendance that I personally saw throughout the festival with the exception of the awards ceremony! Everyone I spoke to seemed to love it, but the strange thing is that there was no Q&A after the package. In fact, there was no Q&A for all but two of the films the entire weekend, which I found to be strange, but hey, each festival does things differently, I guess. My hometown festival runs the whole package and then has the filmmakers come up at the end, introduce themselves, and answer questions and Indie Gathering ran every film, feature and short, separately.
Unfortunately, Chris and Reba had to leave right after the package was over, but Rickey and I stuck around, of course. I stayed for the first film in the gay themed night, Choosing Absalon, which was a documentary about a US citizen who felt that he had to leave his country in order to live with his husband and have all the rights someone in a relationship should have, but doesn’t here in the States just because they’re gay. A good, thought-provoking documentary that, unfortunately, won’t get widely seen because it’s 30 minutes long. Not that it would change the minds of people who are so vehemently against gay marriage or anything, but it really should be seen.
Afterwards, I popped outside to call my mom to let her know how the screening went and then went to theatre 2 for shorts package 1 and after that a feature film called Deadland, which was about a man’s journey through a nuclear wasteland formerly known as the United States as he searches for his wife. It’s a good flick, well made, well acted, and well written. Deadland went on to win two awards the next night, Best Feature and the Media award, as decided by the Ocoee indie newspaper.
When my feature was over, I met up with Rickey in his theatre and watched the rest of his feature, A Lower Power. After speaking with the filmmaker, I found out that the festival played the wrong version so I can’t really pick on the technical issues much, but the actors were reciting their lines instead of acting and that’s never good. After that, we headed back to the hotel room to get some much deserved rest in anticipation for the next day, the final day of the festival.