The Florida Film Festival became an adult this year. It celebrated its eighteenth year in the community, and the opening night party set the tone. Guests were treated to fare from several Orlando area restaurants, prudently selected wines and conversation about the recently screened premier of Jennifer Aniston’s new “indy” film, Management.
On March 27, 2009, I slipped into the last available seat for the U.S. premier of Management. It was a fitting way to kick off the Florida Film Festival. Experienced, well-known actors plied their trade on the big screen against the backdrop of an event that has endured nearly two decades. Despite living in a nation whose priorities have been dominated by global political and financial instability, the importance of art was honored, as we left the turmoil of the outside world behind for a few hours and allowed ourselves an aesthetic indulgence.
Following a question and answer period with the film’s director, Stephen Belber, we filed out to a moonlit evening and the second aspect of the Florida Film Festival: food. The pairing of film and food is ideal, as the film aesthetic deserves more than dry popcorn and splattered butter-like chemicals. The Florida Film Festival’s two-pronged approach creates a self-contained, complete evening. The culinary theme runs through the entire festival, which ended on April 5, 2009.
This year’s winners include:
Grand Jury Award for Best Narrative Feature: Prince of Broadway
Director: Sean Baker
Special Jury Award for Original Screenplay and Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature: Poundcake
Writers: Troy Hall and Kevin Logie
Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature and Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature: The Garden
Director: Scott Hamilton Kennedy
Special Jury Award for Fearless Filmmaking: Prodigal Sons
Director: Kimberly Reed
Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary Short: Pickin’ & Trimmin’
Director: Matt Morris