For the first time in two years, the Orlando Film Festival returns for an in-person event featuring more than 200 independent films from around the world.
These range from feature documentaries and fictional films to experimental shorts, all of which can be seen at the CMX Plaza Cinema CafÃ© in downtown Orlando from October 28 to November 28. 4. The in-person event, known to attract thousands of attendees from across the country and around the world, is back after a virtual edition in 2020.
âWe have films from Egypt to Korea, we have films from all over the world. The beautiful thing is that these people come in, âsaid Daniel Springen, executive director of the festival. âWe’re a film festival organized by filmmakersâ¦ We look at some of the issues with certain films because we see the potential. We understand because that’s what we do for a living.
The festival, now in its 16th year, neither focuses nor excludes any genre. This year, attendees will experience a craft beer documentary, a California campfire movie, and narrative feature films of all kinds. Movie fans can also see several blocks of short films, music videos and animation.
âWe’re open to anything, except that we don’t play movies that use suicide as an issue. We don’t play any porn or anything that is rated X, âSpringen said. “Festivals are the way you can see independent cinema … You’re not going to find these stories anywhere other than a festival.”
This year, Springen and his team chose “The Retaliators” as the festival’s opening night film, a genre work that combines elements of horror, thriller and zombie films.
âWe never showed a thriller / horror at the Orlando Film Festival for opening night. But I felt the quality of the production was there, the acting was there, âSpringen said.
The film centers around the idea of âârevenge as the main character, John Bishop, played by Michael Lombardi, struggles with his own morals and emotions.
âThis film allows the viewer to take a walk with his revenge fantasies,â Lombardi said. âWe can all relate to that, some people on a daily basis, as if someone is raging at you behind the wheel. In this case, it is a loved one.
âThe Retaliatorsâ was written as a form of therapy for Darren and Jeff Geare, whose younger sister is a survivor of sexual assault. Later, the brothers had to face their sister’s assailant in court and wrote the script as a way to cope.
âI think that should give you some pause for thought,â Lombardi said. “It is in the realm of morality, religion and justice.”
The in-game prizes for emerging filmmakers include two $ 500,000 âFirst Lookâ contracts with Valencia Motion Pictures for the winner of Best Feature Film and Best Unproduced Screenplay.
âWe give away somewhere in the range of 30 to 35 awards at our awards show. We understand what these awards mean for these young filmmakers, âSpringen said.
In addition, the festival also chooses each year an actor or actress for the âCinematic Icon Awardâ. This year, John Amos (known for “Roots”, “Die Hard 2” and “Coming 2 America”) was chosen to receive this honor for his contributions to the film industry spanning more than five decades.
Amos appears in the comedy-drama “Because of Charley”, which will be screened twice at the festival. The film tells the story of two distant and racially mixed blended families trapped in a central Florida home as Hurricane Charley passes.
Ultimately, the festival is a celebration of the collaborative nature and art found in the movies.
âThere is no other art form where more artists come together to create something than film,â Springen said. âIn my opinion, this is the greatest form of art. Because it takes so many artists to get it right. And everyone can put their own mark on it.
If you are going to
The Orlando Film Festival runs Oct. 28 through Nov. 4 at 155 S. Orange Ave. in Orlando. Day passes cost $ 20 each, or a 7-day festival pass costs $ 100. VIP passes cost $ 150 and Elite VIP passes cost $ 300. Participants must show their vaccination cards to enter the festival. Those who are not fully vaccinated will need to wear a mask. Masks are recommended for all participants. For more information and a full schedule, visit offvirtual.com.