The 2013 Florida Film Festival, sponsored by Full Sail University, will screen a record-breaking 170 films representing 23 countries selected from over 1500 entries. This year’s Festival runs April 5-14, 2013 and is located in Central Florida.
Among them, Director Jorge Hinojosa, who grew up in Oviedo, FL, unveils his documentary about the legendary Chicago pimp and author, Iceberg Slim. Benjamin Fuqua (Producer), a Full Sail graduate, and FSU graduates Cherie Saulter (Producer) and Julio Perez (Editor) have films competing in the Narrative Feature competition. Among the recognizable faces on screen this year are Jane Adams (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), Jason Ritter (TV’s Parenthood), Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), Tippi Hedren (The Birds), and Melanie Lynskey (Up In the Air).
The films include:
AMERICAN INDEPENDENT COMPETITION
BIG JOY: THE ADVENTURES OF JAMES BROUGHTON/USA (Director: Eric Slade, Stephen Silha, Dawn Logsdon) EAST COAST PREMIERE
Long before Ginsberg and The Beats arrived, San Francisco boasted a vibrant bohemian arts scene that included poet/filmmaker James Broughton, a man who blurred the lines between gay, straight, profound, and silly and crafted a mantra—Follow your own weird—which he embodied for decades. Packed with Broughton’s quirky poetry and provocative films, BIG JOY serves as a fascinating remembrance of a creative life well-lived and perhaps a roadmap of how to discover joy in our own lives.
DOWNEAST/USA (Director: David Redmon, Ashley Sabin) SOUTHEAST PREMIERE
A man with a vision to create jobs arrives in a tiny Maine town in tough economic times—this sounds like a dream come true for unemployed workers, but there’s a wicked financial storm swirling controversy around the man’s efforts to get a seafood processing plant up and running. DOWNEAST is the latest masterwork from the accomplished filmmaking team that brought us Mardi Gras: Made in China (FFF 2005 Grand Jury Award for Best Doc Feature), Kamp Katrina (FFF 2007), Intimidad(FFF 2008), and last year’s disturbing Girl Model (FFF 2012).
FAR OUT ISN’T FAR ENOUGH: THE TOMI UNGERER STORY/USA (Director: Brad Bernstein)
Tomi Ungerer was once an icon for a whole generation of revolutionary children’s book illustrators, including Maurice Sendak. This film (featuring one of Sendak’s last interviews) takes us into the hidden world of an artist whose career defies easy description and was filled with fearless creativity, absolute outspokenness, and fierce independence.
FIRST COMES LOVE/USA (Director: Nina Davenport) SOUTHEAST PREMIERE
When the biological clock of filmmaker Nina Davenport (Operation Filmmaker, FFF 2008) starts pounding, she opts for husband-free procreation, assisted by a village of urban sophisticates who seem to know pregnancy and parenting about as well as they do farming. Davenport fearlessly puts her dreams, doubts, swollen stomach, and disheveled life in front of the camera for our viewing pleasure and captures an unflinching, often hilarious, and unusually moving portrait of single parenthood in the 21st century.
ICEBERG SLIM: PORTRAIT OF A PIMP/USA (Director: Jorge Hinojosa) FLORIDA PREMIERE
Quincy Jones, Chris Rock, Ice-T, Henry Rollins, and Snoop Dogg explore the rich layers that make up the legacy of Robert Beck, aka “Iceberg Slim,” a pimp and reformed convict who became one of the most influential African-American authors of our time. Director Jorge Hinojosa, who grew up in Central Florida, has been Ice-T’s manager for the last 28 years and has a unique insight into the process of creating art out of street life.
INFORMANT/USA (Director: Jamie Meltzer) SOUTHEAST PREMIERE
Brandon Darby developed a reputation as a bold and effective activist in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, but everything changed in 2008 when two youths were arrested for attempting to disrupt the Republican National Convention and Darby, working as an informant for the FBI, was largely responsible for their arrest. Filmmaker Jamie Meltzer reveals the bigger truths behind Darby’s actions through engaging interviews with all the major players and stylized reenactments (featuring Darby playing himself) in this spellbinding and provocative work.
MAGICAL UNIVERSE/USA (Director: Jeremy Workman) WORLD PREMIERE
Al Carbee is a reclusive 80-something eccentric and outsider artist living in Maine whose primary medium is Barbie doll photography, and when a documentary filmmaker from New York stumbles upon Al, he’s not sure if he’s dealing with a genius or a geriatric psycho with bodies hanging in the basement. Yet, as their friendship deepens over 12 years, discomfort is transformed into wonder and some amazing things happen.
SEEKING ASIAN FEMALE/USA (Director: Debbie Lum) SOUTHEAST PREMIERE
Steven, twice-divorced and over 60, trolls the Internet seeking an Asian woman to call his own when he finds “Sandy” and flies her to San Francisco—only to realize that rather than a submissive yellow rose, he got a pint-size firecracker with a secret agenda. The twist is the presence of filmmaker Debbie Lum, an Asian-American female who intended to make an exposé of Yellow Fever and instead becomes a translator, couples counselor, and the only one who actually knows what they are both thinking.
SHEPARD & DARK/USA (Director: Treva Wurmfield) SOUTHEAST PREMIERE
During the 40-year span of their friendship, Sam Shepard became a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and an Academy Award-nominated actor, and Johnny Dark lived a quieter life as a homebody who floated through a serious of odd jobs. The two men are brought together over an 18-month period to sift through their 40-plus years of correspondence for a book project, and the result is an intimate exploration of a male friendship as it heads into its fifth decade.
YEAR OF THE LIVING DEAD/USA (Director: Rob Kuhns) EAST COAST PREMIERE
Initially misunderstood by some critics and criticized for its use of gore, Night of the Living Dead has since been recognized as a groundbreaking independent film of the counterculture and its influence is still being felt nearly 45 years after it was released. YEAR OF THE LIVING DEAD is the definitive documentary on the historical, social, and cinematic importance of George A. Romero’s film, and features interviews with Romero, Gale Anne Hurd, Mark Harris, Larry Fessenden, and Elvis Mitchell.
AMERICAN INDEPENDENT COMPETITION
ALL THE LIGHT IN THE SKY/USA (Director: Joe Swanberg) EAST COAST PREMIERE
Jane Adams (Happiness, HBO’s Hung) stars as Marie, an aging, well-known independent film actress living at the beach who begins taking on roles for free after consistently losing out to upcoming and younger actresses. Director/writer Joe Swanberg (Uncle Kent, Hannah Takes the Stairs) reveals a quasi-autobiographical take on Adams that also reflects on aging in Hollywood, relationships with men, and—just for good measure—the future of the planet.
BE GOOD/USA (Director: Todd Looby) EAST COAST PREMIERE
In a perfect storm of writing, performance, and direction, Todd Looby’s autobiographically-inspired BE GOOD provides a vivid glimpse at a couple being tested by shifting priorities and the compromises they have to live with. Amy Seimetz, one of Indiewire’s “Top 25 Actors of 2011,” plays a mom who returns to work, leaving her struggling filmmaker hubby (Thomas Madden of Looby’s last film Lefty) in charge of their adorable baby while he tries to bang out a screenplay.
THE FORGOTTEN KINGDOM/USA/South Africa/Lesotho (Director: Andrew Mudge) WORLD PREMIERE
When Young Johannesburg gangster Atang reluctantly embarks on a journey to his ancestral land of Lesothoto to bury his estranged father, what begins as an inconvenience quickly becomes a magical rite of passage charged with humor and self-discovery. Stirred by memories of his youth, Atang’s journey takes an unexpected turn as he falls in love with his childhood friend, now a radiant young schoolteacher, and befriends a precocious eleven-year-old orphan.
FREE SAMPLES/USA (Director: Jay Gammill) FLORIDA PREMIERE
Jillian (Jess Weixler, Teeth), a hung over, acerbic law school drop-out who is holding out for the return of her boyfriend, has been roped into dispensing free samples of soft-serve ice cream from her friend’s food truck. This delightfully wry script with many side plots gives actor, director, and a fine supporting cast (including Jesse Eisenberg, Jason Ritter, James Duval, Halley Feiffer, and Matt Walsh) much to work with, and to top it off, the great Tippi Hedren (yep!) appears like a visiting angel who seems to bring everything back to normal.
THE HISTORY OF FUTURE FOLK/USA (Director: J.Anderson Mitchell, Jeremy Kipp Walker) SOUTHEAST PREMIERE
“I come from the planet Hondo, and I was sent to enact a doomsday device to destroy the human race forever,” General Trius explains to his audience in a little dive bar in Brooklyn. Soon, however, Trius discovers music for the first time and abandons his mission by becoming a one-man bluegrass band—that is, until the Hondonians send Kevin to Earth to complete their mission and the two form a partnership called Future Folk. This hysterical Sci-Fi musical comedy is sure to be a crowd pleaser at this year’s festival!
NANCY, PLEASE/USA (Director: Andrew Semans) FLORIDA PREMIERE
NANCY, PLEASE tells the story of gifted Yale Ph.D. candidate Paul, who moves in with his girlfriend while struggling to complete his dissertation and realizes that he’s left an important book with his difficult former roommate, Nancy. In order to retrieve it, he proceeds to drive himself and Nancy crazy, and his relationship, career, and sanity begin to unravel.
PUTZEL/USA (Director: Jason Chaet) SOUTHEAST PREMIERE
For Walter Himmelstein (Jack Carpenter), a young man endearingly known as “Putzel,” life doesn’t go beyond his family’s deli—which he hopes to inherit—and his community on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Walter’s aspirations are disrupted when Sally (Melanie Lynskey) becomes romantically involved with his about-to-retire and very-married uncle (John Pankow).
THE TAIWAN OYSTER/USA (Director: Mark Jarrett) SOUTHEAST PREMIERE
Ex-pat Simon, along with his friend and fellow kindergarten teacher Darin, steal the corpse of a fellow American and set off across Taiwan to give him the burial they believe he deserves. Before they even escape with the body, the morgue receptionist joins them and she becomes a guide, an observer, and a participant in the adventure.
THIS IS MARTIN BONNER/USA (Director: Chad Hartigan) EAST COAST PREMIERE
Martin Bonner (Paul Eenhoorn) has just declared bankruptcy, is a divorced father of two grown kids, an antique seller on eBay in his spare time, a soccer referee, and now is trying speed dating for the first time. He finds work at a church-based prison rehab program that aids recently released convicts, and develops an unlikely friendship with former criminal Travis Holloway (Richmond Arquette) in this 2013 Best of NEXT Sundance award-winner.
THIS IS WHERE WE LIVE/USA (Director: Josh Barrett, Marc Menchaca) EAST COAST PREMIERE
Noah, a man haunted by his past, enters the world of a rural Texas family as a caretaker for August, an intelligent young man who suffers from cerebral palsy, and discovers that these are people for whom love is a matter of fact and life remains a gift. Josh Barrett and Marc Menchaca’s insightful co-direction leads the accomplished cast (including Menchaca himself and Barry Corbin) to extraordinary and subtle performances.