Lights, Camera, Action!
Independent filmmaking is once again the focus of the 11th Fort Myers Beach Film Festival from Wednesday, April 26, through Sunday, April 30. “While this is the 11th festival, they were not all consecutive,” said Carla Mandel, Film Festival Chair. “We 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 Greater Fort Myers Beach Friends of the Arts, as the arts are wonderful, fundamental and critical for our community.”
The Film Festival kicks off on Wednesday, April 26, with the public invited to the free opening ceremony at the Beach Theater at 6425 Estero Boulevard at 2 p.m., followed by a 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 other subjects.
While a committee of locals selects the films, their final lineup remains a secret until early April; the Festival announced the title of the popular “Film on the Beach.” “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, at a location to be determined, on Friday, April 28, beginning at dark.”
Another favorite are the workshops on Friday, April 28, and Saturday, April 29, spearheaded by visiting filmmakers, with details soon on its website. 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 & 9 p.m. The Festival bundles short films together to fill a 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 those include lunch. If you want to attend most events, the $150 VIP Pass admits you to the Friday workshop, all screenings, and you receive a Festival t-shirt; for information, sponsorships or tickets, see FMBFilmFest.com or connect with them 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 that 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.