CUBA directed by Peter S. Chang
CUBA directed by Peter S. Chang

The Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLIFF) returns for its 34th year, November 1 thru 17, 2019, with an exciting line-up of more than 150 films. Opening Night kicks-off at the Museum of Discovery and Science with the South Florida premiere of Cuba on the giant Autonation IMAX® screen. Directed by Peter S. Chang, this visually stunning film will transport audiences across breathtaking landscapes, under the ocean surface to iridescent reefs, and into streets throbbing with music and dance in the heart of Havana.

Opening Night Film at Savor Cinema is co-presented by Popcorn Frights Film Festival. The night includes a special showing of A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge which was coined as the “gayest horror film ever made.” The screening will be followed by The Florida Premiere of the documentary Scream, Queen! My Nightmare On Elm Street.

Scream, Queen! My Nightmare On Elm Street – Teaser

Cinema Paradiso-Hollywood will open the festival with the Southeast Premiere of La Bolduc, a biopic of Quebec’s folk singer Mary Travers Bolduc’s life and her dazzling career in the 20’s and 30’s directed by Francois Bouvier and starring Debbie Lynch-White. The second show that evening is the Southeast premiere of the documentary, Sex Drugs And Bicycles, about Dutch social Democracy.

The Centerpiece Film, Nov 9 features the Southeast Premiere of the bittersweet comedy Safe Spaces. Attending are director Daniel Schechter and star, Justin Long. Additionally, Popcorn Frights Film Festival will present a late night screening of the 2009 horror film, Drag Me To Hell, which also features Justin Long.

The Closing Night Film, on November 17 features the East Coast Premiere of From The Vine. Directed by Sean Cisterna, the comedy set against the back drop of Italy’s wine country, stars Emmy Award-Winning actor Joe Pantoliano (Risky Business,The Matrix, Midnight Run) and Marco Leonardi (Cinema Paradiso, Like Water for Chocolate).

Kevin Pollak and director Andrew Hunt, will host a night of comedy with their film Funny You Never Knew. In the film Pollak and Fred Willard re-discover three remarkable TV comics from the 1950s: Imogene Coca, George Gobel and Martha Raye, whose groundbreaking work was broadcast live.

Award-winning actresses Karen Allen, and Talia Shire will return to FLIFF this year with the Southeast Premieres of films that have a similar theme. In Colewell, directed by Tom Quinn, Allen portrays a woman who is faced with sudden retirement when the Post Office where she works closes down. In Working Man, directed by Robert Jury, Shire portrays Lola Parkes whose husband (Peter Gerety) continues going to work after the factory at which he worked closes down.

Argentina has four Florida Premieres during the film festival. All are comedies. Uruguayan Actress Natalia Oreiro and director Martino Zaidelis will attend screenings of Re Loca. Director Juan Villegas will attend Las Vegas starring Pilar Gamboa, and director Gaspar Scheuer will be in town with his film Delfin. The fourth film from Argentina is Initials S.G. directed by Rania Attieh and Daniel Garcia, and starring Julianne Nicholson, Daniel Fanego and Malena Sanchez.

Tribute Films will include: Animal House with special guest honoree, Peter Riegert. Diane Baker will attend Robert Castle’s thriller Straight Jacket and Alfred Hitchcock’s Marnie. Bill Grefe will attend the screening of his post-Vietnam war drama Cease Fire. Three pre-festival films will also screen; Deterrence starring Kevin Pollak and The Prize, and Diary of Anne Frank starring Diane Baker.

Honorees attending and award presentations include: Lifetime Achievement Awards will be presented to Joe Pantoliano, Kevin Pollak, Diane Baker, and Peter Riegert. Career Achievement Awards will be presented to Marco Leonardi, Natalia Oreiro, and Justin Long. Bill Grefe will be presented with the Florida Treasure Lifetime Achievement Award.

U.S. Premieres include: the documentary Chasing The Jet Stream from Switzerland/ United Kingdom directed by Claudio von Planta and featuring skydiver Marc Hauser. Swedish Director Robert Andersson will attend screenings of his comedy The Duckpond. Jonathan Cohen and Camille Chamoux star in the comedy Our Happy Holiday, from Bulgaria/ France. Chamoux, co-wrote the comedy with the director, her husband Patrick Cassir. Both will be in attendance. Papita 2cond Base, from Venezuela, directed by Luis Hueck stars Juliette Pardau, Jean Pierre Agostini. Italy has two U.S. Premieres and both are comedies. Don’t Stop Me Now directed by Riccardo Milani and starring Paola Cortellesi (Like a Cat on the Highway), and L’Amore a Domicilio directed by Emiliano Corapi starring Miriam Leone.

Among the Southeast Premieres are: A Stone in the Water, directed by Daniel Cohen, stars Melissa Fumero, Bonnie Bedelia, David Fumero. Co-star Kim Lemmins will join Cohen at the screening. Directors Bill Sykes and Melissa Shepard Sykes will attend screenings of their documentary Gamble Rogers: Down at the Terminal Tavern. The film features Jimmy Buffett, Michael Peter Smith, Jim Stafford, Peggy Bulger, Pete Seeger. Saint Frances, is a bittersweet comedy starring Kelly O’Sullivan and directed by Alex Thompson. The Wall of Mexico, a bizarre dramatic comedy and fable for today, stars Jackson Rathbone, Esai Morales, Mariel Hemingway and is directed by Zachary Cotler and Magdalena Zyzak.

East Coast Premieres in the World Cinema category include: From Afghanistan, the drama The Lost Mother written, directed by and starring Lida Aseer. Attending from Australia is director Ben Hackworth and actress Radha Mitchell for Celeste. Director Tiago Arakilian from Brazil will attend his bittersweet comedy Before I Forget, starring Jose De Abreu. A Dream Before Dying, an action adventure drama from Iraq, directed by Fekei Barosh and starring Delil Dilanar. From Italy, Lucia’s Grace is a comedy directed by Gianni Zanasi and starring Alba Rohrwacher. Director Phaim Bhuiyan will attend his comedy from Italy-Bangladesh titled Bangla. Actress Birthe Neumann will attend Hella Joof’s Danish comedyHappy Ending. From Germany comes the historical suspense drama, Balloon directed by Michael Herbig and Cold Feet, a comedy directed by Wolfgang Groos.

In addition to opening night, centerpiece and closing night parties, FLIFF will host a Retro Pool Party featuring the filmed in Fort Lauderdale, Girl Happy. Actress Chris Noel will be in attendance. There will also be a dinner cruise aboard the Musette, and a Rock ‘n Roll Street Party featuring the movie Woodstock. A Night at the Museum, at NSU Art Museum, includes the Florida Premiere of American Mirror, which focuses on a social issue that has global reach: how we perceive and judge ourselves and the others in a world dominated by social media.

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