The 29th annual Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLIFF) announces line-up the 2014 event. Starting Friday, November 7 and running through Sunday, November 23, over 175 American Independent and World Cinema features, shorts and documentaries will premiere. The Sunshine Celluloid segment will highlight film by Florida talent. There are 34 World Premieres, 12 U.S Premieres, 27 East Coast and 16 Southeast.
The film festival that has attracted Oscar nominated films, among them most recent were August Osage County, Nebraska, Silver Linings Playbook and The Artist. The festival also pays tribute to both celebrated and aspiring film talent. This year’s fest will present actor Jason Alexander with the Career Achievement Award November 7 at FLiFF’s Opening Night film, the East Coast Premiere of Lucky Stiff, in which he stars with Pamela Shaw (also attending).
FLiFF’s honorees will also include: George Hamilton for the Lifetime Achievement Award. Hamilton’s career includes Where The Boys Are, and comedies Love at First Bite and Zorro The Gay Blade. Daniel Baldwin will receive the Renaissance Award for writing, directing and starring in his suspense thriller, The Wisdom to Know The Difference. British filmmaker, Mike Downey, will be recognized for Producer of the Decade. Downey produced Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s The President, and will attend the U.S Premiere of his film Lost In Karastan, a gentle black comedy about a confused, washed up British film director, Emil, who is invited to make a national Epic in an obscure Caucasus Republic ruled by an eccentric and corrupt dictator.
This year FLIFF’s Star on the Horizon is Clara Mamet, who wrote and directed her first feature, Two Bit Waltz, in which she stars opposite Jared Gilman, her on and off screen mom Rebecca Pidgeon, with David Paymer and William H. Macy. Reminiscent of a Wes Anderson style (with a pinch of Marx Brothers), Two Bit Waltz is a coming of age story that mixes an elixir that is hilarious and at times sadly lonely. It’s also evident she learned a lot about dialogue from her father, award-winning screenwriter, David Mamet.
Actor Jason Alexander will receive the Career Achievement Award November 7 at FLiFF’s Opening Night film, the East Coast Premiere of Lucky Stiff, in which he stars with Pamela Shaw (also attending). Lucky Stiff marks the first time the festival debuts with a musical comedy. Directed by Christopher Ashley, the zany and fast-paced Lucky Stiff follows a down and out British shoe salesman who, in order to receive his inheritance of $6 million, must fulfill his deceased Uncle’s request of taking him for the best time of his “life” in Monte Carlo for a week of fun, sun, dancing, and gambling. Book writer/lyricist, Lynn Ahrens adapted her clever 1988 New York stage hit for the screen with additional songs written by her and composer Stephen Flaherty.
Selected as the Centerpiece Film, is the Southeast premiere of Frank vs God, a light-hearted, uplifting story of a former lawyer, David Frank. Unable to move past the loss of his wife, he had all but given up…that is until a tornado not only destroys his house but, takes his beloved dog Brutus. When the insurance company deems the loss an “act of God,” David becomes desperate and decides to serve God…with a lawsuit. In attendance are stars Henry Ian Cusick (TV hit series LOST) and director Stewart Schill.
FLiFF closes with the Southeast Premiere of dark comedy, Just Before I Go, the feature film directorial debut of actress Courteney Cox (Friends, Cougar Town). Seann William Scott (American Pie franchise) stars as Ted Morgan, who’s on the verge of giving up on life. Before he does, he decides to return to his hometown one last time to confront some old demons.
The festival recently added the ensemble rom-com, Loitering With Intent, to the line-up. In attendance will be the co-screenwriters and stars Michael Gondere and Ivan Martin, along with co-star Brian Geraghty (The Hurt Locker, Flight, and, also screening at the festival, Wildlike). The film also stars Marisa Tomei and Sam Rockwell. Loitering With Intent is about two filmmaker wannabes facing a looming deadline to write a script. They leave the city to quiet upstate New York to let the creative juices flow but their solitude is broken early when a cavalcade of uninvited guests burst onto the scene.
Feature films include:
Among the World premieres are: Oro Verde (Switzerland) directed by Mohammed Soudani, Foreign Land (USA-Mexico) directed byRafi Girgis, Love Thy Nature ( USA-Brazil-Namibia-British Virgin Islands) directed by Sylvie Rokab , Every Child Counts ( Bahamas-Canada), directed by Wendy Loten.
U.S Premieres include: Arabani (Israel) directed by Adi Adwan, Lost in Karastan (Georgia) directed by Ben Hopkins, La Casa Ausente (The Absent House), (Puerto Rico-USA-Switzerland) directed by Rubén Abruña, Non Present Time (Lithuania) directed by Mykolas Vildziunas and Papita, Mani & Toston (Venzuela) directed by Luis Carlos Hueck.
East Coast Premieres include: Gone Doggy Gone (USA) directed by Kasi Brown & Brandon Walter, Healing (Australia) directed by Craig Monahan, FLiFF’s opener Lucky Stiff (USA) directed by Christopher Ashley, Sombras de Azul (Cuba-Mexico-USA) directed by Kelly Daniela Norris.
Southeast Premieres include: Centerpiece Film Frank vs God (USA) directed by Stewart Schill, Amka and the Three Golden Rules (Mongolia) directed by Babar Ahmed, Human Capital (Italy) directed by Paola Virzi, Charlie’s Country (Australia) directed by Rolf de Heer, Inside Out: The People’s Art Project, (France-Israel-Abu Dhabi-USA) directed by Alastair Siddons, Jersey Shore Massacre (USA) directed by Paul Tarnpool, FLiFF’s closer Just Before I Go (USA) directed by Courtney Cox, Manos Sucias (Colombia) / directed by Josef Kubota Wladyka. Shunned (Philippines/USA) directed by Janice Villarosa, Two Bit Waltz (USA) directed by Clara Mamet, and Traitors (Morroco) directed by Sean Gullette.
The Southeast Premiere of director Paulo Virzi’s Human Capital, the Italian Candidate for the Foreign Language Oscar 2015, is a slick, stylish drama about the destinies of two families irrevocably tied together after a cyclist is hit by a jeep the night before Christmas Eve.
The Florida premiere of The Imitation Game features Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley in the a historical thriller about Alan Turing, a genius who pioneered modern-day computing and is credited with cracking the German Enigma code. However, Turing was prosecuted for homosexual acts which The U.K deemed illegal in 1952.
Big In Japan, from director John Jeffcoat, a semi-fictionalized rock ‘n roll road movie, featuring the band Tennis Pro, is based loosely on actual events and told with rollicking humor with a fresh narrative approach and guerrilla production style.
Director Sean Gullette attends the Southeast Premiere of his film, Traitors. Tangiers is the launching pad for this intoxicating, slick suspense ride into desperation and ambition.
The Salvation, a Florida Premiere directed by Kristian Levring, stars Mads Mikkelsen (The Hunt) as a peaceful American settler who revenges his family’s murder in this Danish western which is just as compelling as Eastwood’s Unforgiven.
Under The Same Sun, is the story of two businessmen – one Palestinian and one Israeli – who struggle to set up a solar energy company to communities in the Palestinian territories. The film was produced by Amir Harel, an Oscar nominated Israeli producer for Paradise Now, and directed by Sameh Zoabi, a leading Palestinian film-maker.
Directed by Alexandre Coffre, The Volcano, is a fun, fast moving comedy starring Danny Boon and Valerie Bonneton as two divorcees who must swallow their pathological hatred for each other and hit the road together if they are to make it in time to their daughter’s wedding. The Southeast premiere is an extension of French Week.
Winter Sleep took the 2014 Cannes Film Festival’s coveted Palme d’Or. The richly engrossing and ravishingly beautiful Turkish drama, directed by Nuri Bilge, is about three people with marital issues whose animosities are fueled when they are inescapably isolated in a small mountain hotel as the snow begins to fall.
Fascinating Documentaries include:
An Honest Liar, directed by Justin Weinstein and Tyler Measom, is about deception and the life of world-famous magician, escape artist and master skeptic, James ‘The Amazing’ Randi.
The South Florida Premiere of Shunned, from Filipino-American director Janice Villarosa, is a no holds barred look into the lives of transsexuals (male to female), in the Philippines. The film documents the rejection and attacks of violence within the society and transition to what it takes to be a woman.
FLiFF hosts the Florida Premieres of two documentaries with a focus on remarkable women.
The Empowerment Project: Ordinary Women Doing Extraordinary Things is the incredible journey of 5 female filmmakers driving across America to encourage, empower, and inspire the next generation of strong women to go after their career ambitions. Director Sarah Moshman and executive producer will attend. I know a Woman Like That, directed by Elaine Madsen and produced by daughter/actress Virginia Madsen, features interviews with extraordinary women over the age of sixty-five.
Sammy: The Journey is the incredible story of child Holocaust survivor, Sam Harris, the instrumental force behind the building of the 65,000 square foot Illinois Holocaust Museum and Educational Center, of which he is President Emeritus.
FLiFF premieres several ambitious Florida films. Among them are:
Short film, Tom In America, directed by Flavio Alves stars Oscar nominees, Burt Young and Sally Kirkland. The foundation of a 50 year marriage is rocked when the husband confesses to being gay. The film marks the first time Burt Young, from the Rocky franchise, has played a gay man in his career.
City of Memory by local filmmaker, director Robert Adanto and producer Gabriel Tyner, explores the ways in which the cataclysmic events in the wake of Hurricane Katrina became imprinted on the memory of the visual artists who lived through them. Adanto and Tyner head the Film & TV program at University School of Nova Southeastern University.
The Art of Community, directed by Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale film professor, Tas Salini, looks at a unique initiative led by the Community Foundation of Broward in bringing people together through civic engagements and by utilizing the arts in solving issues and problems important to the communities.
The first of two shorts in FLiFF’s Salute To Veteran’s special program is Rudy +Neil Go Fishing, directed by Abigail Tannebaum Sharon, and filmed in the Everglades, Aventura and Davie. The short doc is a touching story about Neil – a hairdresser and tournament fisherman, and Rudy, a U.S. soldier with PTSD who go fishing for therapy. The second short doc, And Great Showers of Tears Came Down, by Miami filmmaker, Dalton Narine, underscores themes about spirituality, suffering and fate, as a Marine’s tough slog in Vietnam attests to horrific experiences.
A Special Tribute to Robin Williams
Although Robin Williams is no longer with us, his spirit and unmatched talent will live for the ages in film and TV. FLiFF will pay tribute to the beloved comedian and actor Robin Williams with a montage of his career and a Special Screening of A Merry Friggin’ Christmas, one of the last films he made. In the vein of the classic National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, A MERRY FRIGGIN’ CHRISTMAS takes the modern day dysfunctional family to extreme and hilarious heights, and with no shortage of holiday spirit.
The 29th Annual Fort Lauderdale Special Events & Signature Parties
Friday, November 7, FLiFF’s opening night film will be held at 7:30pm at Broward Center for Performing Arts Amaturo Theater (201 SW 5th Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301). The opening night party starts at 9:30pm at Off The Hookah nightclub (111 SW 2nd Ave, Ft Lauderdale).
Sunday, November 9 is the ever popular Chairman’s Brunch Cruise, a two-hour excursion down the Intracoastal Waterway. Boarding is at 9:30am for the 10:00am departure from 2670 E. Sunrise Blvd in Ft Lauderdale, FL 33304.
Sunday, November 9, 4pm at Cinema Paradiso-Lauderdale, is a French Soiree, prior to the French comedy The Volcano. Join the French Consul General Philippe Létrilliart, Pascale Villet -Executive Director of the French-American Chamber of Commerce and Claire Jacobs – Manager of Partner Relations & Development with Air France.
Friday, November 14, 7:30pm the Centerpiece Film, Frank vs God followed by a party at the Sunrise Civic Center Theater (10610 West Oakland Pk Blvd. Sunrise, FL 33351).
Friday, November 21, at 7:30pm, FLiFF will hold the 2nd Annual Chairman’s Awards Gala at The Diplomat Resort (3555 S Ocean Dr, Hollywood).
Saturday, November 22: Movies, Martinis and Popcorn at Miramar Cultural Center and ArtsPark (2400 Civic Center Place, Miramar, FL 33025). The schedule: 12:30pm Amka and the 3 Golden Rules 2:30pm Pembroke Circle, 4:30pm Gone Doggy Gone, 6:30pm Lucky Stiff, 8:30pm Papita Mani Toston.
November 22 & 23, join Daniel Baldwin at the screening of his film, The Wisdom to Know the Difference Saturday, Nov 22, 9pm at Cinema Paradiso-Lauderdale and Sunday, November 23, 6pm at Cinema Paradiso-Hollywood.
November 22 & 23, join Clara Mamet at the screening of her film, Two Bit Waltz, Saturday, November 22, 6:00pm at Cinema Paradiso-Hollywood and Sunday, November 23, 3:00pm at Cinema Paradiso-Lauderdale
Sunday, November 23, Noon at Cinema Paradiso-Lauderdale, join George Hamilton at his Tribute Screening of Zorro The Gay Blade.
Sunday, November 23, 7:00pm is the Wrap Party at the Atlantic Hotel (601 N Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd, Fort Lauderdale)
Sunday, November 23, 5:00pm is the Closing Night Film, Just Before I Go at Cinema Paradiso-Lauderdale.
Sunday November 23, Special Tribute and Screening of Merry Friggin’ Christmas, 7:00pm at Cinema Paradiso-Lauderdale and 7:45pm at Cinema Paradio-Fort Lauderdale
For additional filmmaker guests, films, events, parties and receptions, please check the schedule online at www.FLiFF.com
If you are planning on attending the festival seats sell out fast so you may want to choose one of the following plans. And always arrive early!
Tickets are available in advance online at www.FLiFF.com or call the Box-office at 954-525-FILM (3456)
Regular screenings: $6 FLIFF / Members, $8 for Seniors or Students, $10 General Admission
Special Screenings: $10 – $25 depending upon a pre or post receptions
Opening Night Gala: $30 Members, $35 Non-member
Chairman’s Cruise: $65 members $75 Non-member
Centerpiece Party: $15 Members, $20 General Admission
Chairman’s Awards Gala: $100 Members; $150 Non-Members
Wrap Party: $30 Members, $40 General Admission
FAST Passes: $395 Members, $450 Non-Members, includes all films