by Kellie Abrahamson
Jacksonville’s love affair with film stretches back over a century when the River City was known as the Winter Filmmaking Capital of the World. At the time Hollywood was a tiny town with an inadequate water supply and a handful of small production companies. Our city, however, was a bustling metropolis with over 30 studios Downtown and on the Southbank, with silent film stars around every corner. Had things stayed on course, Jacksonville would be a very different city today. But, alas, the conservative political climate and World War I put an end to our brief entry in cinematic history. The Jacksonville Film Festival helps us get back to those roots. The annual event brings independent movies, filmmakers and actors to the First Coast, adding a touch of glamour to the city and giving us a glimpse of what might have been.
Founded in 2002, the Jacksonville Film Festival has changed and evolved over the past eight years. The 2010 festival marks some of the event’s biggest adjustments to date. Warren Skeels and Brenda Egedy Kolb from Jacksonville’s TigerLily Media are now at the helm and have moved the event from May to October 14- 17 in an effort to bring in a more diverse crowd of movie lovers and film execs. They’re also tweaking the ever problematic location issues that have plagued the festival in the past. This time around each day of the festival will be held in a different neighborhood: San Marco on Thursday, Riverside on Friday, Downtown on Saturday and back to Riverside on Sunday. Finally, there will be no overlapping events, allowing fest attendees the opportunity to experience everything over the course of the long weekend.
The 2010 Jacksonville Film Festival will consist of several different programs including Indie USA, Viva Cinema and African American Spotlight. There will also be four shorts programs, two discussion panels, two workshops, a seminar on film and law, and several parties and red carpet events, including one just for kids. Twenty one feature-length films and documentaries are slated in all and many include Q&As with the filmmakers after each screening. Most of the selected films are from filmmakers from around the world, but three of the documentaries have direct ties to the First Coast- The 904 (about Jacksonville’s murder epidemic), Thespians (about high school theatre troupes including one from Douglas Anderson), and Streetball (about South Africa’s 2008 Homeless World Cup team, co-funded by Jacksonville charity From Us With Love).
Not only do events like the Jacksonville Film Festival show us what our fair city could have been, it also shows us what we can be. According to the website “The mission of the Jacksonville Film Festival is to provide entertainment, educational opportunities, programs and events that enrich the arts and culture of Northeast Florida, while inspiring a new generation of filmmakers through the diversity and power of film.” With a stellar line up of films showing in a variety of venues over the course of one weekend, the 2010 Jacksonville Film Festival is poised to do just that.
You can choose to buy tickets to individual films for $10, buy a festival pass for all of the screenings, workshops and panels for $100, or purchase an all access pass to gain entrance to everything including all of the parties for $200. All tickets for the Jacksonville Film Festival can be purchased online at www.jacksonvillefilmfestival.com.
Everything Must Go (Narrative Feature)
When an alcoholic relapses, causing him to lose his wife and his job, he holds a yard sale on his front lawn in an attempt to start over. Starring: Will Ferrell, Rebecca Hall, Glenn Howerton, Laura Dern, Stephen Root, Michael Pena
Jews and Baseball (Documentary) Q&A with Filmmakers
More than a film about sports, this is a story of immigration, assimilation, bigotry, heroism, the passing on of traditions, and the shattering of stereotypes. Players interviewed include Al Rosen, Kevin Youkilis, Shawn Green, Bob Feller, Yogi Berra, and a rare interview with the Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax. Fans, including Ron Howard and Larry King, connect the stories of baseball to their own lives, and to the turbulent history of the last century.
Endure (Narrative Feature)
A young woman has been abducted, tortured and tied to a tree in the middle of an isolated swamp in central Florida. The only person who knows her location is dead. Starring: Devon Sawa, Judd Nelson, Joey Lauren Adams, Tom Arnold
Breaking and Entering (Documentary)
Three would-be Guinness World Record holders battle the odds in pursuit of global dominance.
A NY Thing (Narrative Feature) Q&A with Filmmakers
Three days in New York. Three days in which Antoine must pretend to be ‘John’ while staying at Aurthur’s place, who dates Alice, whom Antoine desperately loves. Three days to discover all women are not as romantic as him. Three days to test his potential as a comic, his talent as a liar, his French charm and his existential melancholy. Three days to love New York and be loved in return.
I Am Bish (Narrative Feature)
Dave ‘Bish’ Bishop is a multi-award nominated, yet massively unsuccessful screenwriter and indie filmmaker who moves back to his hometown after coming 2nd in Project Greenlight Australia and completely failing to get his film financed.
The Fat Boy Chronicles (Narrative Feature) Q&A with Director Jason Winn
Inspired by a true story, the film reveals the emotionally painful world obese teens experience in the face of a thin-obsessed society.
Thespians (Documentary) Q&A with Filmmakers & Cast
Every performer starts somewhere and many of them started in their high school thespian troupe. For kids in Florida, that means possibly ending up performing on a stage for over 7,000 other students who share their passion. This is the story of four of those troupes.
I Want So Much To Live (Documentary) Q&A with Filmmakers
Explore the pioneering efforts of a biotech company whose independent and collective efforts resulted in the world’s first targeted biotechnology therapy for breast cancer.
Finn on the Fly (Narrative Feature)
Ben Soledad, a shy thirteen-year-old, has just moved to a new town. He tries his best to fit in at school, but most of the time he feels like his only friend is his dog, Finn. Just when he thinks life can’t get worse, his world is turned upside-down when the scientist living next door performs a genetic experiment that goes terribly awry, transforming his dog into a flea scratchin’, cat chasin’, frisbee lovin’ HUMAN! Starring: Ana Gasteyer, Ryan Belleville, Mathew Knight, Brandon Firla
AFRICAN AMERICAN SPOTLIGHT
Everyday Sunshine (Documentary) Q&A with special guest Greg Tate
From the shifting fault lines of Hollywood fantasies and the economic and racial tensions of Reagan’s America, Fishbone rose to become one of the most original bands of the last 25 years. Featuring interviews with Flea, Gwen Stefani, Ice-T, Perry Farrell, Branford Marsalis, George Clinton, Tim Robbins and Gogol Bordello. Laurence Fishburne narrates. Read EU’s review at folioweekly.com.
StreetBall (Documentary) Q&A with Filmmakers
In Cape Town, there are two realities. Sixteen years after the end of apartheid, South Africa prepares to host the FIFA World Cup and the country is ripe with celebration while a generation that lives in extreme poverty, with many youth falling into lives of violence, drugs and abuse. This is a fast paced documentary that tells the story of South Africa’s 2008 Homeless World Cup team.
The Great Debaters (Narrative Feature) Q&A with Producer Valerie Scoon
In 1935-36 Wiley College Professor Melvin Tolson coaches the debate team to a nearly-undefeated season that sees the first debate between U.S. students from white and Negro colleges and ends with an invitation to face Harvard University’s national champions Starring: Denzel Washington, Forest Whitaker.
The 904 (Documentary) Q&A with Filmmakers
Jacksonville, Florida has been the Sunshine State’s murder capital for the last 10 years. This one-hour documentary tells the real-life story of Jacksonville’s epidemic tide of violence. The film shares stories of citizens impacted by violent crime, explores solutions and inspires people to take action to fight the city’s persistent crime problems. Read EU’s review at folioweekly.com.
Children of God (Narrative Feature)
Set against the backdrop of a nation grappling with violent homophobic crime and offering a scathing examination of the underlying hatred for gays rampant in Caribbean societies, Bahamian Kareem Mortimer’s debut narrative feature tells the stories of three very different individuals: Lena, the conservative, deeply religious wife of a secretly gay firebrand pastor; Romeo, a handsome young black man hiding his sexuality from his close-knit and loving family; and Jonny, the conflicted and creatively-blocked white artist in search of himself. Starring: Sylvia Adams, Van Brown, Aijalon Coley
Family Affair (Documentary)
At ten years old, Chico Colvard shot his older sister in the leg. This seemingly random act detonated a chain reaction that exposed unspeakable realities and shattered his family.
Mamachas Del Ring (Documentary)
Set in the heights of the Bolivian Andes, the film is the story of Carmen Rosa the Champion, a cholita and wrestler who struggles to make it on her own in the male-dominated world of Bolivian professional wrestling.
El Traspatio (Narrative Feature)
An astonishing fictional account of the unending series of murders of young women in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, which began in 1996. Mexican police officer Blanca Bravo is sent to Cuidad Juarez to investigate and comes to learn realities of these women’s lives, as well as the truth about a police force and local power structure embodied by entrepreneur Mickey Santos that has ceased to care. Starring: Jimmy Smits, Ana de la Reguera, Joaquin Cosio
Spoken Word (Narrative Feature)
Cruz Montoya is a rock star on the West Coast poetry circuit, where audiences from San Diego to Seattle gather to hear him perform. One day, he gets an unexpected phone call alerting him that his father is fatally ill. Cruz rushes home and retreats to his old life, managing a Santa Fe hip-hop club owned by local crime boss. Starring: Kuno Becker, Miguel Sandoval, Ruben Blades, Persia White