The 38th Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLIFF) wrapped up Thursday, November 16 after a 14-day run featuring more than 200 films from 40 countries, of which eight were World Premieres and six were U.S. Premieres. Held at a variety of venues throughout Broward County, Florida, FLIFF presented an impressive line-up of features, documentaries, short film programs, and a Filmed in Broward showcase of 21 films by South Florida filmmakers. The majority of films included post-screening discussions and receptions with filmmakers and celebrity guests.
Four fabulous signature parties with live music and epicurean delights provided locals and out-of-town guests the opportunity to experience the diverse flavor of Fort Lauderdale. FLIFF’s Opening Night on November 3 took place at Hard Rock Live at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, kicking off with a star-studded red carpet, followed by the screening of THE GOOD HALF and a lively after-party. The following night, everyone dressed in 1920’s attire for The Gatsby Party in partnership with Winterfest at the luxurious waterfront Villa de Palma.
The Centerpiece on November 9 featured world premiere of THE SENIOR, with a football-themed street party complete with cheerleaders, former Miami Dolphin superstars, live music and a jumbo screen showing Thursday Night Football. Last, but certainly not least was Intracoastal Elegance, a memorable evening under the stars at a private estate on November 11.
“It was a banner year for FLIFF,” commented, Gregory von Hausch, President and CEO of FLIFF. “We had record attendance, and many of the films and all of the parties were sold out. Despite the actors’ strike, we had an abundance of celebrity talent and filmmakers on the red carpets, at the theaters, at parties and receptions.”
Among the special guests in attendance were director Robert Schwartzman, writer Brett Ryland, and Brittany Snow for the Southeast Premiere of THE GOOD HALF, a tender family dramedy that offers an honest and nuanced approach to grief, regret and healing. Snow also was on hand for her film PARACHUTE, which she co-wrote and directed. Charles Martin Smith was in town for the Florida Premiere of THIS TIME in which he stars. Actress Wendy Malick joined director Amy Glazer and producer Debbie Glazier for Southeast Premiere of 7,000 MILES, about a passionate woman pilot who is inspired by her grandmother’s mysterious legacy, and Michael Chiklis attended his World Premiere of THE SENIOR.
Pamela Poitier wowed the audience after the screening of SIDNEY, an inspiring documentary about the life of her father, Sidney Poitier. Melora Hardin celebrated the East Coast Premiere of her one-woman show, GOLDEN VANITY. FLIFF welcomed Justice Rosalie Abella, former member of the Supreme Court of Canada, for the U.S. Premiere of WITHOUT PRECEDENT: THE SUPREME LIFE OF ROSALIE ABELLA, a compelling and intimate portrait of a tireless champion for the neglected and underserved, and the daughter of Holocaust survivors. Sharon Gless attended as executive producer at the screening of SHOW HER THE MONEY, revealing the economic disparity women entrepreneurs face.
Kemba Smith Pradia attended the World Premiere of KEMBA, based on her true story of how she went from drug dealer’s girlfriend to domestic violence victim. Sentenced 24.5-years in federal prison, President Bill Clinton pardoned her after 6.5 years. Director Ravit Markus, cannabis crusaders Dale Sky Jones and Jeff Jones, Dale’s mom, former radio talent Sunny Quinn, and stepfather Don Brewer of Grand Funk Railroad (whose American Band, was featured in the film) attended the Florida Premiere of AMERICAN POT STORY: OAKSTERDAM, the story of how a handful of underdogs risked everything to ignite the current worldwide revolution in cannabis policy.
Throughout the festival, FLIFF presented awards to honorees at their respective screenings:
Robert Schwartzman (Dreamland, Princess Diaries (actor), and the band Rooney) received the FLIFF Renaissance Award on Opening Night, prior to his film THE GOOD HALF, which he directed.
Brittany Snow (Pitch Perfect, Hairspray), who starred in THE GOOD HALF, who also attended the film PARACHUTE, a film for which she co-wrote and directed, received a FLIFF Career Achievement Award.
Charles Martin Smith (American Graffiti, Starman, The Untouchables) received a FLIFF Lifetime Achievement Award prior to the screening of his film THIS TIME.
Michael Chiklis (The Senior, The Shield, Fantastic 4), Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning actor, will be presented with the FLIFF Career Achievement Award prior to the screening of THE SENIOR, FLIFF’s Centerpiece film.
At the conclusion of the festival, FLIFF announced the following list of the winning films:
Feature – GOLDEN VANITY directed by Max Abram
Documentary – SHOW HER THE MONEY directed by Ky Dickens
Short Doc – INTERCEPTION: Jayne Kennedy – American Sportscaster directed by Safiya Sanghai
Short – On The Edge of Hope directed by Sukhvir Parmar
Sunshine Celluloid Doc – UNFILTERED directed by Josh McLawhorn
Filmed in Broward Feature – JUST MY TYPE directed by Jill Melody, Jerry Sommer and Mitchell Worley
Filmed in Broward Doc – Video Vagabond Broadwalk Biography directed by Stephen Sarsfield
Filmed in Broward Short Short (tie) – Prick directed by Alex DiBucci and Small Packages directed by Jenny Leser
Filmed in Broward Long Short – Sisters of Vengeance directed by George Monteiro
PRESIDENT’S CHOICE AWARDS
American Indie Feature – THE SENIOR directed by Rod Lurie
Foreign Language Feature – FIRST SNOW OF SUMMER directed by Chris Raiber
Documentary – WITHOUT PRECEDENT: The Supreme Life of Rosalie Abella directed by Barry Avrick
Short Documentary (tie) – Our Ukrainian Sky directed by Bobby Roth and Astor Place: The American Dream directed by Guiseppe Malpasso
American Indie Short (tie) – Blue Hour directed J.D. Shields and Jack & Sam directed by Jordan Horowitz
Best Actress – Melora Hardin GOLDEN VANITY
Best Actor – Nick Jonas THE GOOD HALF
Female Directorial Debut – Brittany Snow for PARACHUTE
Male Directorial Debut -Andres Taboada for ALTA CALIFORNIA
True Story Depiction – Kelley Kali director of KEMBA
Breakthrough Comedy – Esther Povitsky (collaborating, acting) &
Nicholaus Goosen (collaborating, directing) for DRUGSTORE JUNE
Documentary Excellence – Frank Marshall for RATHER
Best Romantic Feature – Juan Zapato for WHEN IN VENICE
Technical Accomplishment Feature – Jeffrey Lando (writing, directing) LISSA’S TRIP
Technical Accomplishment Animated Short – Jojo Scanlon for BRUTUS
SPIRIT OF INDEPENDENTS AWARDS
Amy Glazer (directing) for 7000 MILES;
Cinder Chou (writing, directing) for ARTIST UNKNOWN;
Casey McAdams (writing, directing) & Chynna Walker (acting) for HELLO IN HERE;
Paul Osborne (writing, directing) for FLUORESCENT BEAST;
Rob Margolies (writing, directing) for IN FIDELITY;
David Connelly (writing, directing, acting) for THE MAGIC HOURS; Robert George Vaughn (directing) THIS TIME;
Jimi Petulla (writing, producing, acting) TRUST IN LOVE;
Ravit Markus & Dan Kazir (directing, producing) for AMERICAN POT STORY: Oaksterdam;
Salvatore Z. Zannino for THE GENIUS OF GIANNI VERSACE,
Denny Tedesco for IMMEDIATE FAMILY;
Randy Martin for KAREN CARPENTER: Starving for Perfection
Daniel E. Cohen (directing) THE MIDNIGHT RIDE OF JONATHAN LUNA
Charles Martin Smith, Lifetime Achievement (acting, directing) – THIS TIME
Brittany Snow, Career Achievement (acting, writing, directing) – THE GOOD HALF, PARACHUTE
Michael Chiklis, Career Achievement (acting) – THE SENIOR
Robert Schwarzman, Renaissance Award (acting, producing, directing, composing, performing) – THE GOOD HALF, THE PRINCESS DIAIRIES, HUNG UP ON A DREAM, DRUGSTORE JUNE
Best Short Narrative THE LAMPBOY, OR THE UNIVERSE BETWEEN US directed by Tali Bardi of IFS Internationale Filmschule Köln, Germany
Second Place THE HAPPIEST AND SADDEST I’VE EVER BEEN directed by Molly Smith of Yale University, USA
Third Place BOXED directed by Alam Virk of New York Film Academy, USA
Best Long Narrative ISTINA (Truth) directed by Tamara Denic of Hamburg Media School, Germany
Second Place WANDERING MEMORIES directed by Yuta Noguchi of Digital Hollywood University Graduate School, Japan
Best Documentary ROOTED directed by Freddy Kwak & Nishika Goel of Villanova University, USA
Second Place LACED directed by Nico Wilcox of Florida State University, USA
Best Animation BEYOND THE FARM directed Allison Fraidenburg of Ringling College of Art & Design
HIGH SCHOOL AWARDS
Best Short GARAGE directed by Daria Batylina of Kinomolodost’, Russian Federation
Best Documentary THE HIDDEN TALENT OF GILBERT GOTTFRIED directed by Lily Gottfried of Ethical Culture Fieldston School, USA
Best Animation AMIRA’S LETTERS directed by Sarina Policastro of Ward Melville High, USA
Technical Achievement LIFE ON MARS directed by Shayan Habibnejad of NSU University School, USA
Certificate of Merit
BIRTHDAY CAKE directed by Garvin Kim of Seoul Foreign School, South Korea;
GREY AREA directed by Jiayang Sang of 北京市中关村外国语学校, China;
BURNING IMAGE directed by Christopher Matthew Martin of West Orange High School, USA;
A SHOT OF EXPRESSO directed by Michael Pruski, Roman Losa, Ryan Armenta of Klein Collins High School, USA;
THE FATAL AFFAIR directed by Carter Stoudt of Souderton High School, USA;
FRESH COMPANY directed by Sabrina Dubner of American Heritage High, USA
To learn more about FLIFF, and view the photos from throughout the festival, go to www.fliff.com.