Fort Myers Beach does its best Hollywood impression from Wednesday through Sunday, April 26 to 30, with the 11th Fort Myers Beach Film Festival at the Beach Theater at 6425 Estero Boulevard. “While this is the 11th festival, they are not all consecutive,” says Carla Mandel, Film Festival Chair. “We’ve hosted it again for the past 6 or 7 years, but the Film Festival went away for a while during the Great Recession, then came back, spurred on by the Board of the Fort Myers Beach Friends of the Arts, as the arts are fundamental to our community.”
The Film Festival kicks off on Wednesday the 26th, with the public invited to the free opening ceremony at 2 p.m., followed by full day of screenings. From Wednesday through Sunday, there will be feature films, documentaries and shorts by domestic and international filmmakers that delve into social issues, comedy, relationships and a diversity of other subjects.
While a committee of local residents selects the films, and their final lineup still remains a secret, the Festival announced the title of the popular “Film on the Bay.” “We will present Disney’s 2016 smash hit, ‘Moana,’” gushed Carla, “including its music by Lin-Manuel Miranda, famous for ‘Hamilton.’” This free family film will be right on Fort Myers Beach’s back bay on the Mound House grounds beginning at 7pm on Friday, April 28.
More favorites include the workshops the film fest holds on Friday, April 28, and Saturday, April 29, spearheaded by visiting filmmakers. Sunday, April 30, closes the festival, with the awards presentation that is free and open to the public at 2 p.m., with screenings of the winning films immediately following the ceremony.
There are three show times from April 26 to 29 at 3, 6 and 9 p.m. The Festival bundles short films together to fill an entire block, while full-length movies receive their own slot. Tickets are $7 per screening, with the Friday workshop at $30 and the Saturday forum at $40, and each of those includes lunch. If you want to attend most of the festival events, the $150 VIP Pass admits you to the Friday workshop, all screenings, as well as providing a festival t-shirt; for information, sponsorships or to obtain tickets, see FMBFilmFest.com or connect on Facebook.
Carla calls the best part “meeting the young people in the film industry who are just beginning to make their mark, then you watch them move on to other successful endeavors and acclaim. It is phenomenal we get these films, so c’mon out and experience this. We are so grateful to our sponsors and volunteers, as it really ‘takes a village,’ or in our case, an island, to make the Fort Myers Beach Film Festival a success!”
The Festival expresses its appreciation to its major sponsors: Beach Theater, The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel, Fish-Tale Marina, the Greater Fort Myers Beach Friends of the Arts, GullWing Beach Resort, TPI Hospitality and Lovers Key Resort.