The world-renowned Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLIFF), will reel out over 200 films during their 21st Annual event held from October 16 through November 14, 2006. The fest begins with a pre-fest kick-off week of films from October 16-19, with October 20 as the Official Opening Night. Whether intense or light and funny, FLIFF’s 2006 line-up offers a diverse selection of feature films, documentaries, shorts and tribute films from the U.S. and around the globe.
This year the fest will present nine (9) World Premieres including: Mrs. Worthington’s Party, where everyone is welcome and anything is possible and Trust Me, a con-man comedy starring Shelley Long (Cheers) who is expected to attend.
Two (2) North American Premieres: an inspiring true story from South Africa, FAITH LIKE POTATOES; and from France, THE TALMUD, which enlightens us on the destiny of a mythical book at the basis of Judaism.
Sixteen (16) U.S. Premieres includes: Ventura Pons’ Animales Heridos from Spain, action comedy from Sweden Baba’s Cars, hip-hop drama from Finland Beauty and the Bastard; a fascinating story of healing and love from the Philippines, Donsol; collaborative Columbian/U.S. romantic comedy Gringo Wedding; and one of three (3) Official Closing Night films held November 12, Sharkwater, recently featured at The Toronto Film Festival, offers extraordinary underwater imagery, a compelling original soundtrack, and interviews with renowned experts about the shark industry that could harm the ecological balance of our oceans. Rob Stewart, expert diver and underwater photographer who faced numerous challenges in making this film will attend the screening. The filmmakers are also bringing a 17ft Shark for fun photo ops.
Three (3) Southeast Premieres: the festival’s Centerpiece Gala, Pittsburgh, directed by Chris Bradley and Kyle LaBrachea, is a mockumentary style comedy starring Jeff Goldblum as Jeff Goldblum, who has fallen Tom-Cruise-crazy in love with a young musical theatre actress on a work visa in the U.S. Flannel Pajamas, written and directed by veteran distribution exec Jeff Lipsky, stars Tom Bower, Justin Kirk & Julianne Nicholson, and chronicles the two-year arc of a couple's relationship. Pianists Defining Chopin, is a breathtaking piece of musical entertainment that follows the four winners of the 2005 National Chopin Piano Competition, during their 30 grueling days of competition, as they represent the U.S. at the 2005 International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw.
Seventy-two (72) Florida Premieres including: FLIFF’s Official Opening Night film on October 20, Pedro Almodovar’s Volver which just received the Best Film of the Year Award from the International Federation of Film Critics, as reported by The Associated Press. The film, which also walked away with Best Actress Awards for all five leading ladies and Best Screenplay at Cannes Film Festival, stars Pénelope Cruz, Carmen Maura, Lola Duenas, Blanca Portillo, Yohana Cobo. The film was written and directed by Almodóvar. Described as a meeting of Mildred Pierce and Arsenic and Old Lace, Volver (which means coming back) marks Almodovar’s return to comedy, the feminine world, working again with Carmen Maura and Penélope Cruz…and the theme of Volver.
Two of three Official Closing Night films, on November 12, are also Florida Premieres: Canvas shot in Hollywood Beach, Florida, is the heart-warming film that combines love and the magic of sailing. This character-driven story is about one family's struggle with mental illness. Canvas, filmed in 2005, survived two tropical storms and Hurricane Wilma during the four-week shoot. Film star Joe Pantoliano (Memento, The Sopranos, Matrix) will attend the screening. George Gallo’s Local Color (Midnight Run, Wise Guys,The Whole Ten Yards) is a beautiful bio-based story about a successful artist who reflects back to a time when he was 18 and a summer spent learning the craft from an elderly Russian artist. In addition to his talent as writer and director, Gallo, is also an artist with exhibits in galleries across the nation. The paintings featured in the film are his. Gallo and stars Samantha Mathis (Pump Up The Volume, Broken Arrow), and Trevor Morgan (The Patriot, The Sixth Sense) are scheduled to attend.
FLIFF’s week of pre-fest kick-off films, begins October 16 and culminates on October 19, with the highly touted film and the Florida Premiere of A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints. This coming-of-age drama was inspired by writer/director, Dito Montiel's, mid-eighties youth in Astoria, Queens. The film exudes the rawness and authenticity of the classic urban dramas Mean Streets, Saturday Night Fever, Do The Right Thing and Kids and received two awards at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. The film features exceptional performances by Robert Downey Jr., Chazz Palmenteri, Dianne Wiest, Rosario Dawson, Shia LaBeouf, and Channing Tatum.
There will be a Children’s Mini Fest offering classic films including The Sound of Music, and the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The mini fest will also introduce the new animated comedy-adventure Happy Feet, with the voices of Robin Williams, Hugh Jackman, Elijah Wood, Nicole Kidman, and others.
Tribute films will celebrate the works of director Mel Stuart and film star/top recording artist Barbra Streisand. FLIFF will also present two films that benefit charitable organizations - Lunafest, offering 9 short films by, for and about women with proceeds going to The Breast Cancer Fund with a reception sponsored by WIFT (Women in Film & Television, Florida). And, the Southeast Premiere of Pianists Defining Chopin with a portion of the proceeds from this event going to The National Chopin Foundation of the United States. This event includes a reception and a live performance by Mei-Ting Sun (on a Yamaha Grand) winner of the 2005 competition in Miami and who is featured in the film.
FLIFF will also bring to the screen two powerful and controversial new documentary films: Tell Me Cuba, directed by Megan Williams and narrated by Gina Gershon, answers the question …”Why is Cuba off-limits to U.S. citizens?” And as part of the week-long pre-fest films, The Dixie Chicks: Shut up and Sing from two-time Academy Award® winning director Barbara Kopple (Harlan County USA, American Dream) and director Cecilia Peck who take us behind the scenes during a dramatic period of the best selling female group’s career. As bombs were falling on Iraq, lead singer Natalie Maines told a London audience, "We're embarrassed that the President is from Texas." With this remark the group made headlines all over the world in March 2003. Right-wing groups responded with radio boycotts, CD burnings and even death threats.
This year, FLIFF will present juried awards November 11 during The Awards Celebration to be held at the Westin Diplomat. Award-winning director, Mel Stuart (the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory) will receive a Lifetime in Achievement Award for Directing. Awards for Best Film, Best Performer, Best Short, Best Documentary among others will also be presented.
FLIFF’s special guests include filmmakers and some of our favorite on-screen film stars who are scheduled for audience Q&As at screenings of their films. Other opportunities that provide time for more intimate chats with festival staff and guests include trendy parties and receptions at top area venues, aboard yachts, the Sundance Festival Café and Toast To Humanity Wine Lounge, and casual gatherings at the festival’s host hotel Gallery One Fort Lauderdale (a four-star guest suites hotel).
Expected to attend this year are:
Film star Ernie Hudson (Lackawanna Blues, Miss Congeniality 1&2 & Ghostbusters) at the Florida Premiere of the romantic comedy, Halfway Decent.
Actress Bridget Moynahan (I Robot, Sex and the City, Six Degrees) is expected to attend their Florida Premiere of the romantic comedy about a close, single brother and sister who, to their biggest surprise, end up finding love in the most unlikely place.
Shiva Rose (DysEnchanted, Woman at the Beach), co-star David Moscow (Big Honey with Jessica Alba, Nearing Grace) will attend the Florida Premiere of David and Layla, a Romeo and Juliet-esque romantic comedy with a political twist that send their families, one Jewish – one Muslim into a spin reminiscent of My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Accompanying David Moscow is actress Kerry Washington (Ray).
Film & star Geri Jewell (Facts of Life) will be at the Florida Premiere of her new comedy NIGHT OF WHITE PANTS about the patriarch of a distinguished but crumbling family who is forced to hit the town with his daughter's (Selma Blair) punk rock boyfriend (Nick Stahl).
Award –Winning director Mel Stuart (the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory), will attend screenings of his films on November 9, including his outstanding documentaries - The Making of the President, Man Ray: Prophet of the Avant Garde, Billy Wilder: The Human Comedy, Wasstax, Sophia: A Portrait. FLIFF will present Stuart with a Lifetime Achievement Award in Directing on November 11, Awards Celebration beginning 7:00pm at Westin Diplomat.
Michelle Phillips (The Mamas & the Papas), will attend the screening of And The Sea Took Us, a documentary narrated by Phillips, that chronicles the devastating effects and wonderful relief efforts in one small fishing village community on the southern coast of Sri Lanka.
Artist Purvis Young and producer and owner of Gallery 721, Larry Clemons, will attend their showing of documentary Purvis of Overtown.
Robin Cowie, producer of the award winning, innovative and terrifying The Blair Witch Project will host a seminar titled Producing your first Indie Film at the October 21 High School Competition.
Writer and film star, Carl Andress will attend the showing of his film, A Very Serious Person, which is directed/co-written and stars Charles Busch (Die Mommie Die). The film is about a show tunes and old Hollywood-obsessed boy, his effete Danish mentor who bond and teach each other about self-acceptance over the course of one magical summer.
Popular actress from Columbia, Ana Lucia Dominguez (Te voy a enseñar a querer), will attend her U.S Premiere of Gringo Wedding, the hilarious, romantic comedy about finding true love through an international dating agency. Directed by Tas Salini (Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale) and Executive Producer Paul Lazarus (University of Miami) will also attend.
Stars of the U.S. Premiere of Donsol, Sid Lucero (TV series, Etheria: Ang ikalimang kaharian ng encantadia) and Angel Aquino (Crying Ladies) will attend this film from the Philippines about a young guide who swims with the whale sharks, and finds himself drawn to a woman as beautiful and mysterious of the sea.
Plus a host of actors from Sweden, Czech Republic, Croatia, Argentina, Colombia, Canada, UK, Philippines, Hong Kong, Indonesia, and … you never know who else may pay a surprise visit to the festival.
For a complete line-up of films visit http://www.FLIFF.com
or call (954)525-3456 or (954) 525 FILM).