Something For Everyone at the St. Augustine Film Festival This Weekend

When he thinks of St. Augustine, Gregory von Hausch is reminded of vintage postcards of Old Florida. Images of roadside orange stands, stately palms, that blend of rustic charm and the elegance of history seeping through the cracked cobblestone, that’s the flavor he had in mind when he staged his first film festival eight years ago in the Oldest City.

Now in its 8th year, this intimate, four-day Festival is held January 18-21 in the historic city center, with theaters within walking distance of one another and many opportunities in between films to take in the sites, stroll down St. George Street, or dine at one of the many nearby restaurants.

As the CEO and Director of the St. Augustine Film Festival, as well as the Ft. Lauderdale Film Festival in November, von Hausch curates an eclectic collection of foreign and independent films from around the world. This year, the event showcases works by filmmakers representing the United States, Canada, Russia, Israel, Poland, Spain, Italy, France, Serbia Croatia, China, Australia, Afghanistan, Georgia, Estonia, and Trinidad and Tobago. Von Hausch says the easygoing nature of the festival caters to the overall atmosphere of St. Augustine and celebrates the variety of films that appeal to an expansive audience. “One of my failed dreams, but something I always strive for, is to have something for everyone,” he says. “Not everyone is a cinephile. Audiences might want to cherry pick one or two that they like. Or they might want to binge watch.”

The selections include documentaries like Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World by Catherine Bainbridge of Canada that explores the influence of indigenous people on popular music in North America, romance in the Hebrew language film If & When by Eran B.Y. about a young, divorced father who reconnects a year later with a skeptical single woman with whom he’d fallen in love, and dramatic pieces such as The Bird Was Not a Bird by Ahmad Zia Arash of Afghanistan about a young bird seller who accepts a job offer that is preparing him for a suicide attack.

Films are screened in Lewis Auditorium, the Gamache-Koger Theater and the Virginia Room that are all part of Flagler College, as well as at all three viewing rooms of The Corazon Cinema and Café. Films are screened within a five-minute walk or less from one another lending to the convenience of viewing to back-to-back films. The Corazon Cinema and Café has three intimate theaters with a variety of chairs and tables, while Flagler College’s Lewis Auditorium seats just under 800 and will show all the festival’s major films. The Gamache-Koger Theater inside the Ringhaver Student Center at Flagler College has a capacity of 105.

The festival launches Thursday with ‘preview day’ allowing All Access pass holders early access to a handful of films. The opening Gala film and Gala Party are held Friday followed by Saturday’s ‘Centerpiece’ Party and ‘It’s A Wrap Event’ party closing out the festival on Sunday at the Markland House. The after-fest parties are held every night throughout the downtown area, including the ‘swimming pool’ of the Lightner Museum, historic Markland House and the stunning top floor Solarium of Flagler College with a rooftop view of the city.

Film producers and directors, writers and actors mingle with festival goers during the events as well SAFF staff. The parties include live entertainment, buffet or finger food and drinks. The All Access Pass provides entrance to all films at any location in addition to the festival parties. Individual tickets to the parties are not available.

The festival has evolved from humble beginnings to a signature event that draws thousands of film lovers to the area. The inaugural event was so sparsely attended “you could shoot a cannon off and not hit anybody in the audience,” says von Hausch of the event, which was originally titled the Flagler College Film Festival. Only later did he discover that the many serious film lovers didn’t attend the event because the name suggested it was all student films.

Rebranded the following year as the St. Augustine Film Festival, von Hausch says attendance skyrocketed. “It has definitely grown. The first year we had two venues operating simultaneously. The Lewis Auditorium at Flagler College and the Gamache-Koger Theater room,” he says. “My audience is tuned in, educated. They love innovative indie films. They love films from Europe and all over.”

The name change did not alter the original intent of hosting such a festival in a place like St. Augustine. The Ft. Lauderdale Film Festival is a glitzy, formal affair by comparison. He was drawn to the enclave of St. Augustine by its history and charm but also by its commitment to the arts and culture.

“Of the two festivals, I love St. Augustine because it’s all connected. You can walk, see a movie, have dinner and see another movie, or binge and see them back to back. It’s just so cool. I like it just the way it is. We do something that is not done in St. Augustine – or North Florida for that matter – which is we show films that you’re not going to see anywhere else and that are not going to show up at a multiplex in two weeks, or in Florida, for that matter,” says von Hausch.

“There is a line in Shakespeare – ‘The play’s the thing’. That’s central to me. Not in iambic pentameter but that thrill of discovery. We all share that common bond, we all came from the love of film. I love being in the Corazon or in the Gamache room at the Koger sitting in the back and hearing the audience react to something I love. Not everything we’re showing is my favorite, but I’m the least important ingredient in the recipe. If it’s sexy or thrilling or romantic, they are all great things and deserve the attention.”

Get your passes at www.staugfilmfest.com/tickets.

Download a PDF of the St. Aug Film Fest 2018 Map

SHOWING AT THE FESTIVAL

FALLING SOUTH — Director: Lorraine Portman
USA / 2017 / 39 min / English

THE THIN YELLOW LINE (La Delgada Linea Amarilla) Director: Celso Garcia
Mexico / 2015 / 95 min / DCP / Spanish, English subtitles

THE SENSE OF WONDER (LE GOUT DES MERVEILLES) Director: Eric Besnard
France / 2015 / 100 min / DCP / French, English subtitles / Dramatic Comedy

RUMBLE: THE INDIANS WHO ROCKED THE WORLD
Canada/ Director: Catherine Bainbridge/102 minutes

THE FATHER AND THE BEAR Director: John Putch
USA / 2016 / 85 min / English / Dramatic Comedy

DAD’S ARMY Director: Oliver Parker
UK /2016 / 100 min / English

PATIENT 001 Director: Katie Fleischer
USA / 2017 / 88 min / English / Sci Fi Horror

DOG YEARS Director: Adam Rifkin
USA / 2017 / 94 min / English / Bittersweet Comedy

CRIES FROM SYRIA Director: Evgeny Afineevsky
Syria / 2017 / 111 min / English / Documentary

IF & WHEN Director: Eran B.Y
Israel / 2015 / 75 min / Hebrew, English subtitles / Romance

A TREE. A ROCK. A CLOUD Director: Karen Allen
USA / 2016 / 30 min / DCP / English

GROOVE Director: Ryan McDonough
USA / 2017 / 87 min / BluRay / English

DEDE Director: Mariam Khatchvani
Georgia / 2017 / 96 min / DCP / Georgian, English subtitles

WAITING FOR YOU Director: Charles Garrad
UK-France / 2017 / 92 min / DCP / English + French, English subtitles / Mystery Drama

ECHOES THE STORY Director: Michael McGlinn
USA / 2017 / 66 min / MP4 / English

THE DISTINGUISHED CITIZEN (EL CIUDADANO ILUSTRE) Director: Gaston Duprat, Mariano Cohn
Spain-Argentina / 2016 / 118 min / DCP / Spanish, English subtitles

THE BIRD WAS NOT A BIRD Director: Ahmad Zia Arash
Afghanistan / 2017 / 92 min / English

LARGER THAN LIFE: The Kevyn Aucoin Story Director: Tiffany Bartok
USA / 2017 / 96 min / DCP / English

QUEST Director: Santiago Rizzi
USA / 2016 / 86 min / English / Drama

SERIOUS LAUNDRY Director: Ken Webb
USA / 2017 / 90 min / DCP/ English / Comedy

THE STORYTELLER Director: Joe Crump
USA / 2017 / 89 min / DCP / English / Dramatic Fantasy

AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL (Al Final Del Tunel) Director: Rodrigo Grande
Spain-Argentina / 2016 / 120 min / DCP / Spanish, English subtitles

AFTER YOU’RE GONE Director: Anna Matison
Russian Federation / 2016 / 120 min / DCP / Russian, English subtitles

THE MIDNIGHTERS Director: Julian Fort
USA / 2017 / 87 min / DCP / English / Suspense Thriller

THE EARTH IS FLAT Director: Sam Wickey
USA / 2017 / 72 min / BluRay / English, plus Amish, English subtitles

HEAVENS FLOOR Director: Lori Stoll
USA-Canada / 2016 / 87 min / DCP / English, Inukitut, English subtitles / BioPic-Action/Adventure-Drama

THESE DAUGHTERS OF MINE Director: Moje Córki, Krowy) Kinga Debska
Poland / 2015 / 88 min / DCP / Polish, English subtitles / Bittersweet Comedy

LOVERS Director: Matteo Vicino
Italy / 2017 / 102 min / DCP / Italian, English subtitles / Comic Drama

THE SPY AND THE POET (Luuraja ja luuletaja) Director: Toomas Hussar
Estonia / 2016 / 96 min / DCP / Estonian, English subtitles / Comedy Thriller

THE YOUNG OFFENDERS Director: Peter Foott
Ireland / 2017 / 83 min / DCP / English / Comedy

TRAIN DRIVER’S DIARY (Moje Córki Krowy) Director: Milos Radovic
Serbia-Croatia / 2016 / 85 min / DCP / Serbian, English subtitles / Dark Comedy

MOGLI E MARITO Director: Simone Gadano
Italy / 2017 / 100 min / DCP / Italian, English subtitles / Comedy

IN BED WITH VICTORIA Director: Justine Triet
France / 2016 / 99 min / DCP / French, English subtitles / Romantic Comedy

KING OF PEKING Director: Sam Voutas
China-Australia-USA / 2017 / 88 min / DCP / Chinese, English Subtitles

THE CUTLASS Director: Darisha J. Beresford
Trinidad and Tobago / 2017 / 97 min / DCP / English

THE TREE Director: Stephen Wallace Pruitt
USA / 2017 / 95 min / DCP / English / Drama

About Liza Mitchell

october, 2021

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