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Bonita Springs International Art Festival

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Center for Performing Arts 02This fall and winter, the Centers for the Arts of Bonita Springs will be screening a series of nationally-touring independent films at which filmmakers, directors and some of the actors will be in attendance. “And in February, we’ll kick off the first Bonita Springs International Film Festival featuring award-winning films from around the world, a fun and entertaining weekend Center for Performing Arts 03complete with red carpet opening night, and scheduled and surprise visits by filmmakers, directors and actors,” touts Centers for the Arts President Susan Bridges. All screenings will take place in the Centers’ cozy Moe Auditorium and Film Center on Bonita Beach Road. Below, you will find announcements, news, articles and reviews about this brand new film festival.

 

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Bonita Springs International Film Festival announces award winners (02-18-16)

Ribbon Cutting 04The inaugural Bonita Springs International Film Festival wrapped up on Tuesday, February 16 in the Hinman Auditorium with an 8:30 p.m. Awards & Filmmaker Party. Bringing together the best and the brightest filmmaking talent and film industry professionals for a night of cinematic revelry, attendees celebrated the final night of the festival with craft beers, wine and the festival’s signature Tom Falciglia at Opening 02cocktail-complimenting fabulous fare.

But it was not just fun and camaraderie. The evening was highlighted by the announcement of the winners, vis:

  • Tom Falciglia Audience Choice Award: Pride (Director: Matthew Warch)
  • Best Feature Film Documentary: Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning (Director: Tom Eller and Roberta Moore 02Dyanna Taylor)
  • Best Feature Film Narrative Fiction: Tangerines (Director: Zaza Urushadze)
  • Best Florida Film Adult: Again (Director: Mitch Glass)
  • Best Florida Film Teen: Revolving Child (Director: Francisco Cabrera)
  • Best Short Film Animation: Otto (Directors: Marieke Blaauw, Jois Oprins, Job Roggeveen
  • Best Short Film Documentary: It’s Better in Rachel Albanese 2Italian (Director: Jordan Ledy)
  • Best Short Film Narrative Fiction: The Grill Man (Director: Fabio Montanari)
  • Best Short Film Cinemaniacs (Grades 4-6): Little Attic (Director: Maiia Fazulina)
  • Best Short Film Storytellers (Grades 7-9): The Battle (Directors: Joshua Costea, Peter Bundic)
  • Best Short Film Visionaries (Grades 10-12): Keep it Clean (Directors Evan Sennett, Matthew Rivera)

Pride (Feature is a 119-minute U.K. biography/comedy that takes place in the summer of 1984. Thatcher is in power and the Pride 02National Union of Mineworkers is on strike.  At the Gay Pride March in London, a group of gay and lesbian activists decide to raise money to support the families of the striking miners, but the union is embarrassed to receive their support. The activists are not deterred and decide to ignore the union and go direct to the miners.  They identify a mining village in deepest Wales and set off in a mini bus to make their donation in person.  And so Pride 01begins the extraordinary story of two seemingly alien communities who form a surprising and ultimately triumphant partnership. The film was directed by Matthew Warchus and produced by James Clayton, Christine Langan, David Livingstone, Cameron McCracken and Jim Dorothea Lange 3Spencer.

Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning tells the life story of Dorothea Lange through the eyes of her granddaughter. Lange is the photographer who captured the iconic image “Migrant Mother,” and the film contains never-seen-before photos, film footage, interviews, family memories, and journals which reveal the artist who challenged America to know itself. Produced by Roberta Grossman and Lisa Thomas, the 112-minute documentary was directed by filmmaker Dyanna Taylor, who was in Tangerines 02attendance during and following the film.

Tangerines is an 87-minute narrative fiction feature film that tells the story of an Estonian man who stays behind to harvest his crop of tangerines notwithstanding war in Georgia, Apkhazeit region in 1990. When a wounded man is left behind at his door, he is forced to help.

Directed by Mitch Glass and produced by Ryan Sadler, Again is a 22-minute narrative in which a 22-something busboy finds a peculiar business card for AGAIN, a company that specializes in a patented procedure called “Simulated Time-Placement.”

Directed by Francisco Cabrera, Revolving Child is an 8-minute short in Tangerines 01which a young girl stumbles upon a gun, causing us to travel through her mind to discover the real cracks in her family.

In the animated 10-minute short Otto, a woman who can’t have children steals the imaginary friend of a little girl. When the girl come to claim back Italian 01her imaginary friend, it’s the power of imagination that unites everyone. Marieke Blaaus, Joris Oprins and Rob Roggeveen directed and produced this submission.

In Better in Italian, BIFF audiences discovered the world of the ‘doppiatori’–the elite group of Italian voice over actors that dub English language films into Italian. It’s Better in Italian (2015 / NR / USA / 40 min / Documentary/ Comedy) was also followed by a Q & A with filmmaker Magee Clegg.

The Grill Man took Best Short Film Narrative Fiction. The story revolves around two Sao Paulo bakers who are unfairly fired from the Charlie Masi and Company 1bakery for which they’ve worked for more than 20 years. So they decide to get revenge by robbing the place during Brazil’s first World Cup match. Directed by Fabio Montanari and produced by Diana Golts, Fabrio Montanari and Vinicius Prado Martins, the running time for this Brazilian film was 14 minutes.

The Bonita Springs International Film Festival was moes 01sponsored by The News-Press Media Group, FineMark Bank, BouTeak by Jackie Morelisse, Sue & Roderick Price Trusted Real Estate Advisors, SunTrust Private Wealth, BB&T Oswald Trippe and Company, Whole Foods and The Fresh Market.

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Final day of Bonita International wraps up with shorts, features and filmmaker’s party (02-16-16)

Force Majeure 03The Bonita Springs International Film Festival wraps up today with a packed schedule. At 10:00 a.m. in the Moe Auditorium & Film Center, BIFF presents Shorts Showcase #4: Domar: To Tame, An Interview With ESE Teaching Assistant Michael Meehan (short), Loyal to the Game (short) and Love Never Dies (short).

At 1:00 p.m. in the Moe Auditorium & Film Center, BIFF presents Force Majeure (2014 / Sweden / R / 120 min / Comedy / Drama). A family on a ski holiday in the French Alps find themselves staring down an avalanche during lunch one day. In the aftermath, their dynamic has been shaken to its core, with Force Majeure 05a question mark hanging over their patriarch in particular.

At 1:30 p.m. in the Hinman Auditorium, BIFF presents Son of Mapes (Short) and Man without a Past (Feature). The second part of Aki Kaurismäki’s “Finland” trilogy, this 97-minute Man Without a Past 022002 Finnish comedy/drama follows a man who arrives in Helsinki and gets beaten up so severely he develops amnesia. Unable to remember his name or anything from his past life, he cannot get a job or an apartment, so he starts living on the outskirts of the city and  starts putting his life back on track

At 4:00 p.m. in the Moe Auditorium & Film Center, it’s Sisters (Short), With God (Short) and The Farewell Party (2015 / NR / Isreal / 95 min / Comedy / Drama). Residents of a retirement home build a machine for self-euthanasia in order to help their terminally ill friend, though they are faced with a series of dilemmas when rumors of the machine begin to spread.

Dan Hudek 01Take a journey into this year’s Best Picture Oscar nominees from 6:00-7:00 p.m. in the Hinman Auditorium with film critic Dan Hudak as he discusses why each film was nominated and which is the odds-on favorite to come out the winner. Clips and background information about all eight nominated films will be shared, and a discussion of the Academy’s voting habits will lend perspective to choosing the likely winner. It’s a lively, dynamic and fun discussion that also covers the voting process and gives audience members a chance to vote for who they think should win Best Picture!

At 7:00 p.m. in the Moe Auditorium & Film Center, BIFF Dorothea Lange 5presents the Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Films’ Dorothea Lange:  Grab a Hunk of Lightning (2014 / 112 min / NR / Documentary / Biography). Explore, through her granddaughter’s eyes, the life story of Dorothea Lange, the photographer who captured the iconic image “Migrant Mother.” Never-seen-before photos, film footage, interviews, family memories, and journals Dorothea Lange 2reveal the artist who challenged America to know itself.

The film will be followed by a Q & A with Filmaker Dyanna Taylor

The inaugural Bonita Springs International Film Festival wraps up in the Hinman Auditorium with an 8:30 p.m. Awards & Filmmaker Party. The Filmmaker Party brings the best and the brightest Ribbon Cutting 08filmmaking talent and film industry professionals to Bonita Springs for a night of cinematic revelry. Join BIFF’a visiting filmmakers and celebrate the final night of the festival with craft beers, wine and the festival’s signature cocktail complimenting fabulous fare. The Filmmaker Party promises to be an extraordinary event! (Business casual attire suggested.)

Read on for more information on the inaugural Bonita Springs International Film Festival.

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Spotlight on film critic Dan Hudak (02-16-16)

Dan Hudek 02Film critic Dan Hudaek will be taking the Bonita International Film Festival audience on a journey into this year’s Best Picture Oscar nominees from 6:00-7:00 p.m. in the Hinman Auditorium as he discusses why each film was nominated and which is the odds-on favorite to come out the winner. Clips and background information about all eight nominated films will be shared, and a discussion of the Academy’s voting habits will lend perspective to choosing the likely winner.

Hudak is a lifelong film lover. He has worked Dan Hudek 01extensively as a film critic in print, radio and television, providing film reviews and commentary for WPLG-TV (ABC) Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, ESPN 760 AM West Palm Beach, The Sid Rosenberg Show, WFTL 850 AM South Florida, WLRN FM (NPR) South Florida, and WPSL 1590 AM in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Online and in print he has contributed to ABCNews.com, the Baltimore Sun, Chicago Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, CNN.com, indieWIRE.com, New Orleans Times-Picayune, Newsday, Orlando Sentinel, San Francisco Examiner and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Dan’s film reviews are syndicated throughout the country. He is the former BIFF Crowd Shot tchairman of the Florida Film Critics Circle and a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association. He has also worked as a theatre critic and arts writer for various publications. He studied Film History and Criticism at Bard College and the University of Miami, where he received his M.A. in Film Studies.

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Seventeen-year-old filmmaker Henrikas Genutis makes debut at Bonita Springs International Film Festival (02-15-16)

Henrikas Genutis 02One of the filmmakers attending the Bonita Springs International Film Festival is Henrikas Genutis. His 8-minute short, Dumped, was screened Sunday evening. It features a young man by the name of Ryan who decides to surprise his girlfriend Emily by coming home early to make her a romantic dinner. But he discovers to his chagrin that the evening he planned is anything but romantic.

Henrikas Genutis 06Henri co-wrote the script with his best friend. “Our instructor challenged us to make a complete film that was at least seven minutes long,” recounted Genutis at the opening on February 12. “Several of us were sitting around thinking of all the terrible ways to break up with someone, and we decided to do a comedic short that is kind of really dark.”

They wrote a script that incorporated the ideas generated by this brainstorming session and then assembled a cast from among their classmates and friends. Henri directed, edited the footage and even handled lighting design.

Henrikas Genutis 04Since he is contemplating a career in film, Genutis was not content to merely complete the project and turn it in for a grade. “I had never really submitted anything to a film festival before, and wanted to have that experience.” So he looked around via Withoutabox.com for film festivals that have a youth category and require either no or a very modest application fee. (Many film festivals, including Sundance, TIFF, and SIFF use Withoutabox as their first source to discover talented indie filmmakers.) Bonita International has a category called “Kidz Shortz – Visionaries” that encompasses students in grades 10-12. The price was right too, as submissions are free. “It was a really low budget film, less than $500, which only covered food and transportation.”

Henrikas Genutis 08Bonita International also checked off another box on Genutis’ list of film festival criteria. One of the schools that the 17-year-old hopes to attend following high school graduation is Full Sail University in Winter Park. “I want to pursue a degree in cinematography and directing, but I’d like to learn as much about Henrikas Genutis 07all aspects of filmmaking as possible,” Genutis points out. People from around the world go to Full Sail to earn degrees and indulge their passion for creative careers in the entertainment and media industry.

In the meantime, Genutis will continue to use Henrikas Genutis 09U-Tube and social media as tools to get his creative work out so that he can gauge what other people like and don’t like.

Please continue reading below for more stories and information about the inaugural Bonita Springs International Film Festival and some of the films it has screened over the five-day event.

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‘Ain’t No Mouse Music’ honors musical legacy Arhoolie’s Chris Strachwitz created and is leaving behind (02-14-16)

Mouse Music 02Those attending the Bonita Springs International Film Festival on Saturday were treated to an enthralling documentary titled This Ain’t No Mouse Music, which tells the story of Arhoolie Records founder and producer Chris Strachwitz, who has almost single-handedly preserved and promoted little known musicians in the genres of blues, zydeco, bluegrass, New Orleans jazz, norteño and other roots music. “It’s just got some guts to it,” says Strachwtiz of the music that interests him. “It ain’t wimpy, that’s for sure. It ain’t no mouse music!” And that’s how the 92-minute film got its name.

German-born Strachwitz fled what’s now Poland as the Red Army made its advance toward Berlin in 1945. He fell in love with the Chris Strachwitz 04American blues, country and jazz he heard on Armed Forces Radio Network in the months following Germany’s surrender on May 9, 1945.

Strachwitz’s family emigrated to Reno, Neveda in 1947. There, he heard a wealth of music from roots artists on border radio stations. “I was captured by the rhythm primarily,” recounts Strachwitz. “They all had their totally individualistic style.”

Strachwitz began amassing recordings and, while still in his teens, started a mail-order business to service European collectors. The service enabled him to buy more records and eventually start field recording.

Mouse Music 04In 1957 he saw and came to idolize bluesman Lightnin’ Hopkins. He founded Arhoolie (named after a variant on a field holler) in 1960. Arhoolie’s first release was Mance Lipscomb’s Texas Sharecropper and Songster, which Strachwitz recorded the previous year during a trip across the Chris Strachwitz 07South with British blues scholar Paul Oliver.

But the label struggled to meet expenses until Strachwitz published and recorded I Feel Like I’m Fixing to Die by Country Joe and the Fish. That song became an anti-war anthem following Woodstock, providing Arhoolie with the down payment on the building that houses the label and its specialty retail unit, the Down Home Music Chris Strachwitz 09Store. Other songs that Strachwitz published further financed the label, including K.C. Douglas’ Mercury Blues, which has been covered by Steve Miller and Alan Jackson, and McDowell’s songs You Gotta Move and Kokomo Blues, which have been covered by the Rolling Stones and Bonnie Raitt, respectively.

This royalty stream gave Strachwitz the means to Chris Strachwitz 05comb the country for acts who’d never been given proper credit for their roles in music history. “I became a pretty good detective,” says Strachwitz, who explains that his techniques for finding musicians ranged from consulting old phone books to striking up conversations with men shooting craps on the sidewalk.

Chris Strachwitz 10Defying all odds, Arhoolie endured and the label celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2010. It celebrated the occasion by releasing Hear Me Howling!: Blues, Ballads & Beyond in January of 2011. The four-CD boxed set consists of a historical collection of music Strachwitz recorded in the ’60s from artists such as Big Mama Thornton, Lightnin’ Maureen Gosling 02Hopkins, Country Joe and The Fish, Debbie Green, and the Hackberry Ramblers, among others.

“Strachwitz is about to get a trustee’s award at the Grammy’s, which sometimes recognizes people who, although they are not themselves musicians, do important things for the industry,” revealed Maureen Gosling, one of This Ain’t No Mouse Music’s directors and producers, during a 20-minute Q&A following the documentary’s screening. Trustees Awards are Special Merit Awards given to recording industry professionals who have made “contributions of outstanding significance in areas other than performance.” Other recipients have included Dick Clark, Chris Strachwitz 03composer Aaron Copeland, Steve Jobs, Beatles producer George Martin, and guitar player and designer Les Paul.

Even though the documentary includes dozens of musicians and volumes of material, the presentation is virtually seamless. “We didn’t want Chris Strachwitz 01to present it chronologically because [different types of music] were being recorded at the same time,” Gosling told the BIFF audience during the Q&A. So she and co-director/producer Chris Simon decided to structure the storyboard by musical genre.

“We decided to start with blues because it influenced a lot of the other music that shows up later,” Gosling explained. “I also thought it would be better to include jazz at an early stage because it’s more familiar, and that way you get Clifton Chenier, and you get accordion music, which takes you to Tex-Mex, which is a little less Maureen Gosling 08accessible for some people. And then we end on Bluegrass, which will still a little inaccessible, but it is still happening these days, along with zydeco, which is also pretty strong.”

Gosling met Strachwitz through Les Blank, a filmmaker for whom she worked over 20 years. “Les was a good friend of Chris’. Strachwitz came to visit one time in the middle 1970s, and when we moved to Berkeley, which was where Chris lived, Les set up his film studio in the same building as Chris’ record company and record store.”

Chris Strachwitz 02It was important for Gosling and Simon to work into the documentary Strachwitz’s extensive collection of old records, including a cache of approximately 17,000 Mexican-American and Mexican vernacular recordings, which Gosling believes to be the largest in the world. The latter are assets of the Arhoolie Foundation, which is in the process of cataloging and digitizing them with Chris Strachwitz 06the ultimate goal of making them available for listening through the UCLA library system.

“Chris went about finding and collecting old records without knowing much about them, without any academic background, pretty much learning as he went,” Gosling proffered. He used his keen ear for music and local reaction as the polestar to guide him rather than what academics might think was important. “In essence, Chris became a collector by default.

Now 84 and beginning to face a variety of health concerns and challenges, Strachwitz is not only making provision for the Mouse Music 03disposition of his vast record collection, he’s making arrangements for the perpetuation of the Arhoolie record label as well. “By virtue of a very generous donation, the record label is going to be acquired by the Smithsonian and will probably be called Swiss Smithsonian @ Arhoolie,” Gosling happily reported. The Smithsonian Institution has a music arm, which handles a number of other independent labels such as @ Folkways Records, Maureen Gosling 06@Monitor, @Paredon, @Cook, @Dyer-Bennet, @Fast Folk, @Collector), accounting for well over 3,000 titles, all of which are maintained in print.

It would be a fitting end to a life spent capturing, preserving and promulgating music outside of the mainstream by an unconventional recording executive whose family today consists of the many musicians he’s befriended and promoted over the last five plus decades. And in that regard, This Ain’t No Mouse Music goes a long way toward recognizing and honoring the musical legacy that Chris Strachwitz created and is leaving behind.

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‘Good Ol’ Freda’ gold for lifelong Beatles fans and ‘best movie’ they’ve seen in years (02-14-16)

Freda 01When Freda Kelly was 16, she left school and took a job as a secretary in a typing pool. About a year later, one of the girls invited her to come along to a local hang-out at lunchtime to hear a band that was playing there. Freda was instantly smitten and returned often. That band was the Beatles, and by her count, she heard them play The Cavern Club a total of 190 times (out of the 294 times they appeared in the club in the years prior to their fame and success).

A record executive from around the corner also frequented the Cavern, and when he decided to manage The Beatles in 1962, he wanted a familiar face. So he hired Freda Kelly as his secretary, converted a storeroom into Freda’s private sanctuary. Her father was Freda 05furious, and predicted the job wouldn’t last a year. But Freda went on to work for Epstein, the Beatles and Apple Records for the next 11 years, even managing the Beatles fan club during this time. She was one of the few employees to have stuck with the band for the entire time they were together, and at the height of the band’s success, a newspaper headline referred to her as: “The Most Coveted Girl in the World.”

Yesterday evening, folks attending the inaugural Kathy McCabe 10Bonita Springs International Film Festival got to hear her previously-untold story when BIFF screened Good Ol’ Freda, an 82-minute documentary directed by Ryan White and produced by Jeffrey Blitz, Jessica Lawson and Kathy McCabe. McCabe was in attendance and fielded questions during a 15-minute Q&A.

In all, the documentary included 650 pictures of Freda 03the Beatles. The vast majority had never been seen before.

“Of course, Freda had her own photos, and Paul’s brother, Mike McCartney provided the ones he took,” McCabe recounted for the BIFF audience. “But we went to the various archive houses in London and spent days and days and days going through them. Sometimes when a photographer went out to cover a Beatles event, they’d print one Freda 04picture but there might be 50 others they didn’t use. All of the photos in the film had to be licensed, and sometimes we didn’t know who the photographer was.”

Going through the old photos was a labor of love, said McCabe, because she is herself a lifelong Kathy McCabe 04Beatles fan. “When I was sixteen living in Baltimore, I was one of those fans who wrote a letter to Freda asking her to put my name in the Beatles monthly [newsletter] because I wanted a pen pal from Liverpool.”

Only 40 names were selected. McCabe’s was one of those select few. “Robbie Malloy chose me as his pen pal,” McCabe continued. “Robbie’s sister worked for Freda. And through them, over the decades, I met Freda, but she never spoke about freda 02the Beatles and I knew if I brought them up, I’d never be part of the group again.”

Freda, you see, is an obsessively private person and she accorded that same respect for truth and privacy to the lads for whom she once worked. During her tenure as Epstein’s and the Beatles secretary, she spurned envelopes of money offered for insider gossip, and in the years following the band’s break-up, she turned down numerous offers for tell-all books. But that changed in 2008 when Freda’s daughter, Rachel, finally persuaded her to tell her story so there’d be a record of it for her grandson, Niall.

freda 06“I happen to have a nephew who’s a filmmaker, and a couple of years ago, he won Best Director at the Sundance Film Festival for his film The Case Against 8.” That’s Ryan White, whose uncle happened to be Billy Kinsley of the Merseybeats and a contemporary of the Beatles. White had grown up surrounded by people involved with the Freda 06Liverpool music scene and counted Kelly as a friend but had no idea of her past. “My mind was completely blown when I found out the scope of her tenure, the importance of her job,” White said in an interview following the documentary’s release.

It was McCabe who filled him in. “He and I have been very close since he was born and we’ve done a Kathy McCabe 02lot of projects together,” McCabe filled in. “So over a bunch of wine, I talked him into doing this project.” She sold him on a six-month timeframe to shoot and edit the movie. The project took two and one-half years to complete.

Much of that time was consumed by fundraising. They received $50,000 through the crowd-funding website Kickstarter to pay for a three-week shoot in Liverpool. The name of every contributor appears in the credits.

freda 03The film had its premiere in 2013 at the South by South West (SXSW) film festival in Austin, Texas. As the final credits rolled, Kelly received a five-minute standing ovation.

But Freda chose to watch her copy of the finished product with just a single close friend. Even then she had misgivings. “After 50 years of silence, it was hard freda 04for her to trust even us,” concedes McCabe, who notes that her nephew insisted on having creative license in relation to the film. “But after it was over, she nodded and said, ‘They got it right.’”

The Beatles former press officer Tony Barrow also thinks White and McCabe got it right. “Freda is Kathy McCabe 12one of the few ‘backroom boys’ who’s never got the recognition she deserves for all the hard work she put in on behalf of the Fab Four,” says Tony in the film.

As a Liverpool native, Freda understood the Fab Four’s backgrounds. Their families lived within walking distance of her house, and Freda visited them often. George and John had cars, and took turns driving her home after work. “The Beatles saw her as a sister and [their] families saw her as a daughter,” says Paul McCartney’s stepmother, Angie. And perhaps that freda 01explains why she still won’t gossip about them or reveal their secrets. “She’ll take those stories to her grave,” McCabe says with undisguised admiration.

Paul, Ringo, Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison admire Freda as well. “That’s why the Beatles gave this film their blessing. “If they hadn’t, she wouldn’t have done it,” says McCabe in no uncertain terms. freda 05“And then to have them actually agree to license us any four songs we wanted out of the entire catalogue … was a testament to the work that she did for them and their families and the respect that they have for her and her silence over 50 years about the innermost workings of the band. I respect her a lot for that too.”

But while Paul and Ringo generously gave her the rights to use four of their songs (and Ringo even did a short congratulatory piece that is included Kathy McCabe 06as the credits begin to roll), neither the Beatles nor Apple Records provided Freda with any pension. In fact, the lack of a pension was one of the reasons her father didn’t want her to take the job with Epstein and the Beatles back in 1962. “All my family had jobs with pensions but when you’re a teenager you don’t care about pensions,” Freda says now. 

Freda Now 01So Kelly works today at the age of 71 as a secretary to one of the senior partners of a law firm in Birkenland. Her boss is great about accommodating her suddenly busy schedule, and she uses her five weeks of paid vacation for purposes of attending film festivals and other events at which Good Ol’ Freda is aired.

Kelly doesn’t care about money. She is just Freda Now 02delighted to have the ongoing opportunity to meet and converse with additional legions of loyal Beatles fans. “We’ve been touring with this film for nearly three years,” McCabe told the BIFF audience, “and [Freda] is still traveling all over the world with this film, at film festivals and events.” She has nine or ten appearances already booked for 2016. “She’s been all over Europe, to Mexico City and flies around in helicopters. As Freda Now 03filmmakers, it’s very rewarding to see her do things she never thought she’d be able to do. She loves it because she gets to meet fans, and fans bring in things that she sent them 50 years ago, which they still have, and they all share their stories, so it’s like a mutual admiration society.”

Or love fest, as became clear from the reaction of the BIFF audience.

Kathy McCabe 08“As a Beatles fan, this movie is gold,” one audience member told McCabe. “It’s one of the best films we’ve seen in years.” Everyone else nodded their enthusiastic agreement.

This is the type of programming that is included in the Bonita Springs International Film Festival. If you haven’t attended yet, you’re missing out. But there’s still three more days of films, Q&A sessions BIFF Opening 01and workshops remaining. Click here to see the remaining schedule.

[N.B.: The title Good Ol’ Freda is taken from the Beatles’ 1963 Christmas record, which they made for their fan club. On the disc, Harrison gives thanks to “Freda Kelly in Liverpool”. The three other Beatles shout: “Good ol’ Freda!” and this recording is played over the opening credits of the film.]

 

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Filmmakers Lisa Ryan and Rachel Giddens curious to see if Bonita audience will respond to their short film same way Australian audiences have (02-13-16)

Lisa Ryan and Rachel Giddens 9At 4:00 p.m. in the Moe Auditorium & Film Center, the Bonita Springs International Film Festival presents The Battle (Short), Earned Wings (Short) and This Ain’t No Mouse Music (Feature). Following both Earned Wings and This Ain’t No Mouse Music, there will be a Q & As with the filmmaker Maureen Gosling of Ain’t No Mouse Music and Director Lisa Ryan and Rachel Anna Giddens for Earned Wings.

Earned Wings revolves around Harvey, a tenacious six-year-old boy who wants, with every fiber of his little being, a limited edition, one-of-a-kind handmade red propeller Lisa and Rachel Walk the Red Carpet 02airplane from the local toy store down the road. And he’s prepared to go to extraordinary lengths to see his dream fulfilled.

Ryan not only directs, she wrote the screenplay for the six-minute short, which is actually a study for a larger scale project she has in mind. “But it has a beginning, a middle and an end,” stated Lisa in her absolutely engaging down-under accent at last night’s BIFF opening. “It’s fast and it’s punchy and Lisa and Rachel Walk the Red Carpet 05it’s cute to trouble around with. It doesn’t have any big, meaningful message. We constantly get told that in order to make a good film, it has to be complicated, layered and really tug at your heartstrings. But I’m really good at storytelling that makes you giggle. That’s really what I want to do – put a little bit of giggle back into a world that’s a bit too dreary.” And so Earned Wings is more of a nostalgic, feel-good story.

Lisa is fresh out of film school in Sydney, Australia, and she and Producer Rachel Giddens are pursuing careers in corporate film production and advertising “to pay the bills.” But their passion is in independent filmmaking, which they do “to feed our souls.”

Lisa Ryan 02Lisa and Rachel have done a few other film projects, but are only now beginning to discover their voice. In this regard, Earned Wings represents the kind of films they really want to make, namely uplifting adventures with a kind of 1990s nostalgic feel to them. “We want to explore how to go to longer format films that perhaps have a bit more subtlety to them, but we really like these episodic stories which lend themselves to shorter films.”

“It’s a progression,” adds Rachel, who also collaborates on concept and script.

Rachel Giddens 02Ryan and Giddens are also serious about getting their work out to film festivals. They are under consideration by nine film festivals, including the 25th Anniversary Aspen Shortfest, which is recognized as one of the premier short film festivals in North America. While they hope to end their American tour in the ski town April 5-10, they began their journey earlier this year in New York and decided to come to Bonita Springs “to see what Bonita is all about.”

“The thing about filmmaking is that it’s like a key to experiencing other cultures,” observes Ryan. “Even small cultures like Bonita Springs are exciting to us. We get to share time with people that Lisa Ryan and Rachel Giddens 5have the same passions as we do and storytelling is, after all, universal.”

But one of the reasons why Ryan and Gedden are willing to invest the time and coin to make the trek stateside is to see just how American audiences will respond to their storytelling. “We know how Australian audiences will react to this type of episodic film. It’s subtle and not in your face. We are curious to see how an American audience will Lisa Ryan and Rachel Giddens 7receive the film, but we don’t know at this point.”

“So we’ll be sitting in the audience today to observe how the Bonita International audience reacts to the type of humor we’ve created in this film,” says Rachel. “If the audience doesn’t react as we hope, then we’ll consider what we should do next time to get a better reaction, although there’s a very fine line between what we, as filmmakers, want to create and what an audience might like to watch.”

“You’ll never create something that everyone likes,” Lisa chimes in. “But experiences like these help us better define the BIFF Opening 01elements of storytelling that can be universally told and can be universally enjoyed. And I’m so curious about that. I think I’ve happened upon something with this film. It’s very physical and musically-driven and music is very universal.”

“As is body language,” Rachel amplifies.

The final product turned out pretty close to how Lisa and Rachel envisioned the film, so they are both pleased with Earned Wings. In a few hours, they’ll find out if the Bonita International audience is too.

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‘Una Noche’ sets the bar for films included in inaugural Bonita Springs International Film Festival (02-13-16)

Lisa Malloy Una Noche 01The inaugural Bonita Springs International Film Festival opened last night with a screening of Lucy Mulloy’s Una Noche. It was an interesting choice to kick off a film festival and opening night party given the film’s stark depiction of life in present-day Havana, where people struggle to survive and the future seems bleak, especially for adolescents. But with illegal immigration front and center in this year’s presidential race and the U.S. finally moving to restore ties with Cuba after decades of economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation, the film definitely gave those who attended the BIFF opening lots to think and talk about.

The film was shot and edited in 2013, more than a year before Lisa Malloy Una Noche 02Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro shook hands at the Summit of the Americas in Panama in April of 2015, marking the first meeting between a U.S. and Cuban head of state since the two countries severed their ties in 1961. It was written and British filmmaker now New York resident Lucy Mulloy (whose dad is acclaimed animator Phil Mulloy), who was drawn to the richness Lisa Malloy Una Noche 03of Cuban culture and who spent months in Havana learning Spanish and martial arts while researching, writing and finding the perfect assemblage of untrained actors to bring her screenplay to life for her debut feature film.

In the first two-thirds of Una Noche, Mulloy and her cinematographers, Trevor Forrest and Shlomo Godder, paint a portrait of the city as experienced Lisa Malloy Una Noche 08by the three teenaged protagonists in her story, Elio, his twin sister, Lila and his best friend, Raul. “Havana jumps off the screen in a visceral way,” wrote reviewer Sheila O’Malley for RogerEbert.com following the film’s 2013 release. “You can smell it, feel it, like a living presence. Raul complains at one point, ‘The only things to do Lisa Malloy Una Noche 04here are sweat and fuck.’ The entire atmosphere is jagged with rampant sexuality, street harassment, open prostitution, and cruel jokes. Every interaction takes on a sexualized tone, bordering on violence, which Lila finds tiresome. It takes a lot of energy to bat that nastiness away. You can sense the exhaustion.”

But at the same time, Mulloy has a great eye for the unique, the special, in this landscape, often contrasting the nervous desperation of the people against the tropical beauty of their surroundings – which she augmented by filming the entire movie in 35mm. “There’s a lonely shot of Elio Lisa Malloy Una Noche 05riding his bike along the deserted waterfront on a grey day, with the tropic-green waves crashing over the sea wall in towers of foam,” O’Malley notes. “A yellow canary sits in a cage hanging on a hook outside a building. Windchimes of colored glass sway against the white stone background. A hooker’s black shoes lie on grimy tile with a wire of Lisa Malloy Una Noche 06Christmas tree lights snaking up the wall, lending garish romantic atmosphere to a transaction devoid of romance. Old withered guys clack dominoes at a table on a sidewalk. Kids run wild in the parks, leaping from the sea wall into the ocean. The cars that glide through the streets are all Lisa Malloy Una Noche 07brightly colored gigantic gas-guzzlers, with gleaming fins from the 1950s, but a closer look shows the decay, the deteriorating steering wheels. These are details, snapshots, fragments, but put together they create a fully-inhabited, three-dimensional reality.”

Lisa Malloy Una Noche 10While several film critics called Una Noche “a confident and striking debut, with gorgeous and somewhat tragic footage of current-day Havana, in all its dilapidated splendor,” others condemned the film as a thinly-veiled condemnation of Castro-controlled Cuba. “[F]or for all the effort she put into the film (hurricanes and tropical storms threatened the production, not to mention it’s a story about unsatisfied Cubans living under the More Una Noche 106communist regime), the final result is a rather lackluster film that pretends not to be politicizing, but works out like anti-communist propaganda out of the ‘60s,” Jose Solis wrote in his review of the picture. “[A] all art in a way is political and trying to deliver an apolitical film in one of the world’s most controversial countries is nonsensical. Mulloy judges the characters who want to stay behind and gives them condescending dialogues and plot twists, she looks down on anyone who doesn’t want to take an uncertain journey towards the United States, including Lila, whom she portrays as a woman too simple for words.”

Assuredly, those who support the bids of Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and More Una Noche 1076even Marco Rubio might react to the film in ways that are quite different than the experience to be had by those who favor Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton or even Jeb Bush. But if nothing else, Una Noche does personalize the great risk and desperation of those who are willing to leave their homes and families behind to seek freedom and the prospect for a better life in the United States. It remains to be seen if their efforts will be rewarded or meet the same end as Elio, Lila and Raul find.

Co-Chairs Susan Bridges and Tom Falciglia are to be commended for selecting a film as unobvious as Una Noche to kick off the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs seminal film festival. If the other 70 or so Lisa Malloy Una Noche 09films aspire to this standard, then Bonita International will indeed find a welcome place among the pantheon of Southwest Florida’s other fine film festivals.

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Today’s films at Bonita Springs International Art Festival (02-13-16)

Freda 03Click here and scroll down for a list of the films and times they are being shown today at the Bonita Springs International Film Festival, which is taking place in the Moe Auditorium & Film Center and Hinman Auditorium on Bonita Beach Road. Among the many fine films being screened today is Good Ol’ Freda (Feature), an 86-minute documentary and Q & A With Filmmaker: Kathleen McCabe. Good Ol’ Freda tells the story of Freda Kelly, a shy teenager asked to cook for a Freda 05young band hoping to make it big: The Beatles.  As the band’s fame multiplies, Freda becomes a part of music and cultural history, yet she never exploited her insider access.  Freda finally tells her tale for the first time in 50 years. “Good Ol’ Freda ” is generously sponsored by Suntrust Private Wealth.

Tickets for the Bonita Springs International Film Festival are available by calling 239-495-8989 and more information is available at www.artcenterbonita.org.

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Final day of Bonita International packed with shorts, features and filmmaker’s party (02-12-16)

BIFF PosterThe Bonita Springs International Film Festival opens on Friday, February 12. Over the course of the five-day event, Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs will present over 70 carefully curated narrative, documentary, animation and short films from around the world, complemented by a wide variety of workshops, demonstrations, and Q & A sessions with filmmakers, writers, directors and actors at the first Bonita Springs International Film Festival (BIFF). Here’s the schedule of films being shown on Tuesday, February 16:

At 10:00 a.m. in the Moe Auditorium & Film Center, BIFF presents Shorts Showcase #4: Domar: To Tame, An Interview With ESE Teaching Assistant Michael Meehan (short), Loyal to the Game (short) and Love Never Dies (short).

Force Majeure 03At 1:00 p.m. in the Moe Auditorium & Film Center, BIFF presents Force Majeure (2014 / Sweden / R / 120 min / Comedy / Drama). A family on a ski holiday in the French Alps find themselves staring down an avalanche during lunch one day; in the aftermath, their dynamic has been shaken to its core, with a question mark hanging over their patriarch in particular.

At 1:30 p.m. in the Hinman Auditorium, BIFF presents Son of Mapes (Short) and Man without a Past (Feature). The second part of Aki Kaurismäki’s “Finland” trilogy, this 97-minute 2002 Finnish comedy/drama follows a man who arrives in Helsinki and gets beaten up so severely he develops amnesia. Force Majeure 02Unable to remember his name or anything from his past life, he cannot get a job or an apartment, so he starts living on the outskirts of the city and  starts putting his life back on track

At 4:00 p.m. in the Moe Auditorium & Film Center, it’s Sisters (Short), With God (Short) and Farewell 02The Farewell Party (2015 / NR / Isreal / 95 min / Comedy / Drama). Residents of a retirement home build a machine for self-euthanasia in order to help their terminally ill friend, though they are faced with a series of dilemmas when rumors of the machine begin to spread.

Dan Hudek 01From 6:00-7:00 p.m. in the Hinman Auditorium, take a journey into this year’s Best Picture Oscar nominees with film critic Dan Hudak as he discusses why each film was nominated and which is the odds-on favorite to come out the winner. Clips and background information about all eight nominated films will be shared, and a discussion of the Academy’s voting habits will lend perspective to choosing the likely winner. It’s a lively, dynamic and fun discussion that also covers the voting process and gives audience members a chance to vote for who they think should win Best Picture!

A lifelong film lover, Dan has worked extensively as a film critic Dan Hudek 03in print, radio and television. He has provided film reviews and commentary for WPLG-TV (ABC) Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, ESPN 760 AM West Palm Beach, The Sid Rosenberg Show, WFTL 850 AM South Florida, WLRN FM (NPR) South Florida, and WPSL 1590 AM in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Online and in print he has contributed to ABCNews.com, the Baltimore Sun, Chicago Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, CNN.com, indieWIRE.com, New Orleans Times-Picayune, Newsday, Orlando Sentinel, San Francisco Examiner and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Dan Hudek 02Dan’s film reviews are syndicated throughout the country. He is the former chairman of the Florida Film Critics Circle and a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association. He has also worked as a theatre critic and arts writer for various publications. He studied Film History and Criticism at Bard College and the University of Miami, where he received his M.A. in Film Studies.

At 7:00 p.m. in the Moe Auditorium & Film Center, BIFF presents the Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Films’ Dorothea Lange:  Grab a Dorothea Lange 3Hunk of Lightning (2014 / 112 min / NR / Documentary / Biography). Explore, through her granddaughter’s eyes, the life story of Dorothea Lange, the photographer who captured the iconic image “Migrant Mother.” Never-seen-before photos, film footage, interviews, family memories, and journals reveal the artist who challenged America to know itself.

The film will be followed by a Q & A with Filmaker Dyanna Taylor

The inaugural Bonita Springs International Film Festival Dorothea Lange 7wraps up in the Hinman Auditorium with an 8:30 p.m. Awards & Filmmaker Party. The Filmmaker Party brings the best and the brightest filmmaking talent and film industry professionals to Bonita Springs for a night of cinematic revelry. Join our visiting filmmakers and celebrate the final night of the festival with craft beers, wine and the festival’s signature cocktail complimenting fabulous fare. The Filmmaker Party promises to be an extraordinary event!

Business casual attire.

Dorothea Lange 2Additional workshops not listed will be included in the full schedule available at www.artcenterbonita.org.

For a day-by-day schedule of events or visit www.artcenterbonita.org. Tickets can be purchased for individual films and film/party packages are available:

  • General Admission (Single Film) – $15
  • Dorothea Lange 1Opening Night Film & Party – $75
  • Saturday Night Film & Party – $50
  • Tuesday Night Film & Party – $50
  • 10 Pack Film Pass – $100
  • Festival Badge – $200 (Friday, Saturday & Tuesday Parties + 10 additional films)

Tickets for the Bonita Springs International Film Festival are available by calling 239-495-8989 and more information is available at www.artcenterbonita.org.

The Bonita Springs International Film Festival is sponsored by The News-Press Media Group, FineMark Bank, BouTeak by Jackie Morelisse, Sue & Roderick Price Trusted Real Estate Advisors, SunTrust Private Wealth, BB&T Oswald Trippe and Company, Whole Foods, The Fresh Market.

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‘Mona Lisa is Missing’ highlights Monday screening schedule at Bonita International Film Festival (02-12-16)

BIFF PosterThe Bonita Springs International Film Festival opens on Friday, February 12. Over the course of the five-day event, Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs will present over 70 carefully curated narrative, documentary, animation and short films from around the world, complemented by a wide variety of workshops, demonstrations, and Q & A sessions with filmmakers, writers, directors and actors at the first Bonita Springs International Film Festival (BIFF). Here’s the schedule of films being shown on Monday, February 15:

At 10:00 a.m. in the Moe Auditorium & Film Center, BIFF presents Shorts Showcase #3: Newtones (short), Trees Count (short), Summer Dragons (short), Adventures of Malia (short), Bonnie Pureheart and the Golden Ghost (short).

Italian 01At 10:30 a.m. in the Hinman Auditorium, it’s The Strangeness of Coming Home (Short), After the Blitz (Short) and the feature film, Ukraine. Paralipomenon. A Chronicle of Omissions, in which post-Maidan Kiev survivors struggle with guilt after the revolution. A strong patriotic spirit associates very different groups, including extreme right-wing paramilitary groups and drag queens at gay nightclubs. People in the Ukrainian capital petition the government to block an ‘undeclared war’ against the East.

At 1:30 p.m. in the Hinman Auditorium, BIFF presents Titanium (Short), Lost & Found (Short), a Q & A with Lost & Found Filmmaker, and Trouble on Wheels (Feature), a 105-minute Turkish 2015 Mona Lisa 01Adventure /Comedy. Kudret has always lived life by the book. Until, that is, his routine is turned upside down by a succession of surprise events. Kudret jumps into his much loved car and sets off for Antep on a journey that will take him from one end of the country to the other.

At 4:00 p.m. in the Moe Auditorium & Film Center, BIFF presents Crumb Catchers (Short), Dancing with Gene Kelly (Short), Silence is Golden (Short) and It’s Better in Italian (2015 / NR / USA / 40 min / Documentary/ Comedy) followed by a Q & A With Filmmaker Magee Clegg. In Better in Italian, discover the world of the ‘doppiatori’–the elite group of Italian voice over actors that dub English language films into Italian.

Mona Lisa 04At 6:30 p.m. in the Hinman Auditorium, is a presentation of Making of ‘The Mona Lisa is Missing’ with Joe Medeiros. This 2014 85-minute U.S. crime documentary tells the little-known story of a man who stole the Mona Lisa from the Louvre in 1911. His 84-year-old daughter thought he did it Mona Lisa 03for patriotic reasons. A filmmaker spends more than 30 years trying to find the truth. The film will be followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Joe Medeiros. The Mona Lisa is Missing is generously sponsored by BouTeak by Jackie Morelisse.

At 7:00 p.m. in the Moe Auditorium & Film Hockney 02Center, it’s The Gift (Short) and Florida Premier: Hockney (Feature), a 112-minute U.K. 2014 documentary in which the charismatic artist takes director Randall Wright on an exclusive tour of his archives and into his studio, where he still paints seven days a week.

Return to Art Southwest Florida for a day-by-day schedule of events or visit Hockney 01www.artcenterbonita.org. Tickets can be purchased for individual films and film/party packages are available:

  • General Admission (Single Film) – $15
  • Opening Night Film & Party – $75
  • Saturday Night Film & Party – $50
  • Tuesday Night Film & Party – $50
  • 10 Pack Film Pass – $100
  • Festival Badge – $200 (Friday, Saturday & Tuesday Parties + 10 additional films)

The Bonita Springs International Film Festival is Hockney 03sponsored by The News-Press Media Group, FineMark Bank, BouTeak by Jackie Morelisse, Sue & Roderick Price Trusted Real Estate Advisors, SunTrust Private Wealth, BB&T Oswald Trippe and Company, Whole Foods, The Fresh Market.

Tickets for the Bonita Springs International Film Festival are available by calling 239-495-8989 and more information is available at www.artcenterbonita.org.

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Bonita International announces Sunday schedule of films (02-11-16)

BIFF PosterThe Bonita Springs International Film Festival opens on Friday, February 12. Over the course of the five-day event, Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs will present over 70 carefully curated narrative, documentary, animation and short films from around the world, complemented by a wide variety of workshops, demonstrations, and Q & A sessions with filmmakers, writers, directors and actors at the first Bonita Springs International Film Festival (BIFF). Here’s the schedule of films being shown on Valentine’s Day, Sunday, February 14:

At 10:00 a.m. in the Moe Auditorium & Film Center BIFF presents Shorts Showcase #2: Suburban Wilderness (short), Jump, Match.kom (short), Underground Artist (short), The Horror-able Day (short), The Famous Nathan 04Last Orange Grove of Middle Florida (short), Silence (short), The Magician’s Boxes (short), Pirates (short), The Battle (Short), Trespassers (short).

At 10:30 a.m. in the Hinman Auditorium, it’s Submarine Sandwich (Short), Fresh Guacamole (Short), Western Spaghetti (Short), Mute (Short), How Mute was Made (Short), A Single Life (Short), Otto (Short), and Famous Nathan, an 84-minute Coney Island-inspired, densely-layered visually dynamic 2014 documentary portrait of the life and times of the original Nathan’s Famous, created in 1916 by filmmaker Lloyd Handwerker’s grandparents, Nathan and Ida Handwerker. A Q & A with Timbuktu 01Filmmaker Lloyd Handwerker & Leslie Siegel, Producer.

At 1:00 p.m. in the Moe Auditorium & Film Center, BIFF presents Revolving Child (Short), The Yellow Block (Short) and Timbuktu (Feature), a 97-minute 2014 French drama that tells the story of a cattle herder and his family residing in the dunes of Timbuktu who find their quiet lives — which are typically free of the Jihadists determined to control their faith — abruptly disturbed.

At 1:30 p.m. in Hinman Auditorium, it’s Deathworld: 2120 (Short), More Than Anyone (Short) and Pride (Feature), a 119-Pride 03minute U.K. biography/comedy that takes place in the summer of 1984. Thatcher is in power and the National Union of Mineworkers are on strike.  At the Gay Pride March in London, a group of gay and lesbian activists decide to raise money to support the families of the striking miners.  But, the union is embarrassed to receive their support. The activists are not deterred, and decide to ignore the union and go direct to the miners.  They Pride 02identify a mining village in deepest Wales and set off in a mini bus to make their donation in person.  And so begins the extraordinary story of two seemingly alien communities who form a surprising and ultimately triumphant partnership.

At 4:00 p.m. in the Moe Auditorium & Film Center, BIFF presents Rhythms of Bonita (Short) The Wrecking Crew 02and The Wrecking Crew (Feature), a 2008 / PG / USA / 101 minute documentary that’s a celebration of the musical work of a group of session musicians known as “The Wrecking Crew”, a band that provided back-up instrumentals to such legendary recording artists as Frank Sinatra, The Le Villi 01Beach Boys and Bing Crosby. The screening will be followed by a Q & A With Filmmaker Eric Langhoff.

At 6:30 p.m. in the Hinman Auditorium, there will be an opera performance and presentation featuring Ron Bowman Pianist and Karin White Soprano followed by Le Villi (Feature), a 2004 68-minute Italian film.

At 7:00 p.m. in the Moe Auditorium & Film Center, BIFF presents Keep It Clean (Short), Dumped (Short), Man Who Loved Flowers (Short), Relatively Screwed (Short) and Wild Tales (Feature), a 122-minute Argentinian comedy/drama shot in 2014 that is wickedly Wild Tales 01hilarious and delightfully deranged. Wild Tales is a subversive satire that doubles as a uniformly entertaining anthology film.

Return to Art Southwest Florida for a day-by-day schedule of events or visit www.artcenterbonita.org. Tickets can be purchased for individual films and film/party packages are available:

  • General Admission (Single Film) – $15
  • Opening Night Film & Party – $75
  • Saturday Night Film & Party – $50
  • Tuesday Night Film & Party – $50
  • 10 Pack Film Pass – $100
  • Wild Tales 02Festival Badge – $200 (Friday, Saturday & Tuesday Parties + 10 additional films)
  • Tickets for the Bonita Springs International Film Festival are available by calling 239-495-8989 and more information is available at www.artcenterbonita.org.

The Bonita Springs International Film Festival is sponsored by The News-Press Media Group, Wild Tales 04FineMark Bank, BouTeak by Jackie Morelisse, Sue & Roderick Price Trusted Real Estate Advisors, SunTrust Private Wealth, BB&T Oswald Trippe and Company, Whole Foods, The Fresh Market.

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Bonita International announces Saturday schedule of films and House Party (02-10-16)

BIFF PosterFebruary 12-16, 2016 the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs present over 70 carefully curated narrative, documentary, animation and short films from around the world, complemented by a wide variety of workshops, demonstrations, and Q & A sessions with filmmakers, writers, directors and actors at the first Bonita Springs International Film Festival (BIFF). The film festival will be held over five days at the Center for Performing Arts Bonita Springs with films screening in both the 400 Seat Hinman Auditorium and the newly renovated 200 seat Moe Auditorium & Film Center.

At 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 13, BIFF will present Shorts Showcase #1 in the Moe Auditorium & Film Center. The package Quest for Meaning 01includes Send a Memory (short), Save the Date (Short), Depredator (short), Behind the Rocks (short), The Fresh Prince of Lee County (short), One Single Butterfly 2015 (short), Mr Cypress 2015 Commercial (short), Skyview Elementary School First Animation (short), Sisters (short), AGAIN (short).

At 10:30 in the Hinman Auditorium, BIFF will screen Little Attic (Short), Searching for Green (Short) and A Quest for Meaning (Feature). A Quest for Meaning is an 88-minute French documentary/adventure in which two childhood friends travel the world to meet some of the greatest thinkers of our time. This incredible voyage, full of moments of doubt and moments of joy, will lead them to Tangerines 02question the very beliefs that have shaped Western civilization. This film captures the change in human consciousness currently happening all over the planet, and the desire to live in harmony with oneself and the world.

At 1:00 p.m. in the Moe Auditorium & Film Center, BIFF will screen One Nation (Short), Countdown (Short) and Tangerines (Feature). Tangerines is an 87-minute U.S. drama that depicts war in Georgia, Apkhazeti region in 1990. An Estonian man has stayed behind to harvest his crops of tangerines. In a bloody conflict at his door, a wounded man is left behind, and he is forced to help.

At Mayo 021:30 p.m. in the Hinman Auditorium, it’s Home Cooking (Short), The Grillman (Short) and The Mayo Conspiracy (Feature), a 72-minute U.S. comedy in which an intrepid journalist meets up with a mysterious whistle-blower from the Mayonnaise cartel, and is taken down a dark historical path from France to Nazi Germany, and then through the depths of culinary hell.

Mouse Music 02At 4:00 p.m. in the Moe Auditorium & Film Center, it’s The Battle (Short), Earned Wings (Short), Q & A With Filmmaker & Director and This Ain’t No Mouse Music (Feature), a 92-minute U.S. documentary that follows Roots music icon Chris Strachwitz, a detective of deep American music – music that’s the antithesis of the corporate “mouse music” dominating pop culture. Since 1960, he has been the guiding force behind legendary Arhoolie Records, bringing Cajun music out of Louisiana, Tex-Mex out of Texas, blues out of the country – and into the living rooms of Middle America. American music has never been the same. Following the film , there will be a Q & A With Filmmaker: Maureen Gosling.

Freda 01At 6:30 p.m. in the Hinman Auditorium, BIFF will screen Permission (Short), Meant for More (Short) and Good Ol’ Freda (Feature), an 86-minute documentary and Q & A With Filmmaker: Kathleen McCabe.

Good Ol’ Freda tells the story of Freda Kelly, a shy teenager asked to cook for a young band hoping to make it big: The Beatles.  As the Beatles fame multiplies, Freda’s a part of music and cultural history, yet never exploits her insider access.  Freda finally tells her tale for the first time in 50 years. “Good Ol’ Freda ” is generously sponsored by Suntrust Private Wealth.

Freda 06At 7:00 p.m. in the Moe Auditorium & Film Center, it’s the feature film Theeb, a 60-minute UAE drama/thriller that takes place in the Ottoman province of Hijaz during World War I, where a young Bedouin boy experiences a greatly hastened coming of age as he embarks on a perilous desert journey to guide a British officer to his secret destination. “Theeb” is generously Theeb 06sponsored by Sue & Roderick Price Trusted Real Estate Advisors

At 8:30 in the Moe Auditorium & Film Center, the day wraps up with the Saturday House Pary. After a long day sitting in a movie seat, it’s time to get on your feet! The House Party is not only a Moe 0444celebration of the strength and diversity of Bonita springs, but it’s also the BIFF’s best dance party! The House Party is where our community comes together to eat, drink and dance the night away! An annual tradition in the making! Casual attire.

Return to Art Southwest Florida for a day-by-day schedule of events or visit www.artcenterbonita.org. Tickets can be purchased for individual films and film/party packages are available:

  • General Admission (Single Film) – $15
  • Opening Night Film & Party – $75
  • Saturday Night Film & Party – $50
  • Moe 05Tuesday Night Film & Party – $50
  • 10 Pack Film Pass – $100
  • Festival Badge – $200 (Friday, Saturday & Tuesday Parties + 10 additional films)

Tickets for the Bonita Springs International Film Festival are available by calling 239-495-8989 and more information is available at www.artcenterbonita.org.

The Bonita Springs International Film Festival is sponsored by The News-Press Media Group, FineMark Bank, BouTeak by Jackie Morelisse, Sue & Roderick Price Trusted Real Estate Advisors, SunTrust Private Wealth, BB&T Oswald Trippe and Company, Whole Foods, The Fresh Market.

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Bonita International Film Festival kicks off on Friday with Opening Night Party and screening of ‘Una Noche’ (02-09-16)

BIFF PosterFebruary 12-16, 2016 the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs present over 70 carefully curated narrative, documentary, animation and short films from around the world, complemented by a wide variety of workshops, demonstrations, and Q & A sessions with filmmakers, writers, directors and actors at the first Bonita Springs International Film Festival (BIFF). The film festival will be held over five days at the Center for Performing Arts Bonita Springs with films screening in both the 400 Seat Hinman Auditorium and the newly renovated 200 seat Moe Auditorium & Film Center.

On Friday, February 12, BIFF screens the feature Una Noche in the Moe Auditorium & Film Center. In this 100-minute drama from Cuba, Una Noche 06Raul dreams of escaping to Miami. Accused of assault, he appeals to Elio to help him reach the forbidden world 90 miles across the ocean. One night, full of hope, they face the biggest challenge of their lives. Una Noche is Generously Sponsored by Finemark National Bank & Trust.

Una Noche 02With music, inspired cuisine, craft beers, creative cocktails, desserts and the opportunity to mingle with friends and film lovers, the Opening Night Party is the perfect start to five days of conversation, cinema and celebration! Business casual attire is suggested.

Return to Art Southwest Florida for a day-by-day schedule of events or visit www.artcenterbonita.org. Tickets can be purchased for individual films and film/party packages are available:

  • General Admission (Single Film) – $15
  • Una Noche 04Opening Night Film & Party – $75
  • Saturday Night Film & Party – $50
  • Tuesday Night Film & Party – $50
  • 10 Pack Film Pass – $100
  • Festival Badge – $200 (Friday, Saturday & Tuesday Parties + 10 additional films)

Una Noche 01Tickets for the Bonita Springs International Film Festival are available by calling 239-495-8989 and more information is available at www.artcenterbonita.org.

The Bonita Springs International Film Festival is Sponsored by The News-Press Media Group, FineMark Bank, BouTeak by Jackie Morelisse, Sue & Roderick Price Trusted Real Estate Advisors, SunTrust Private Wealth, BB&T Oswald Trippe and Company, Whole Foods, The Fresh Market.

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Centers for the Arts Bonita announces dates and schedule for inaugural Bonita International Film Festival (12-18-15) 

Moe 0444The Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs is introducing something new in February. It’s the inaugural Bonita Springs International Film Festival and it will be held in both the 400-seat CFABS Hinman Auditorium and the newly-renovated 200-seat Moe Auditorium & Film Center. The festival will open on February 12 and run through February 16, 2016 and feature over 80 carefully curated narrative, documentary, animation and short films from around the world, complemented by a wide variety of workshops, demonstrations, and Q & A sessions with filmmakers, writers, directors, producers and actors.

BMoe 02IFF is accepting films in 12 categories including youth- and teen-produced films, animated films, shorts and Florida films, as well as standard fiction/narrative and documentary works. Cash prizes will range from $250 to $1,000.

The film festival is the next progression in CFABS’ longstanding love affair with film as an art form. Moe 01The Centers launched their Film for Film Lovers series in 2008, offering one film per month for three months. Over time, Film for Film Lovers was expanded and now features films every Monday. Moe 0And earlier in 2015, the Centers added the impressive Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers, with showings on the first Tuesday of each month.Today, thousands of Southwest Florida residents and visitors attend these screenings, so it was only logical to add a multi-day film festival to the equation.

Moe 05The mission of the Bonita Springs International Film Festival is to create experiences that bring people together to discover extraordinary films from around the world, recognizing that it is through the art of cinema that a community becomes more informed, aware and alive.

“The big point that ultimately surfaced in our discussions about having a film festival was that we, as an organization, are all about the arts, all the arts,” says Susan Bridges, President of the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs, who is also Co-Chair for the moes 01festival. “So, we began looking at the idea that our Bonita Springs International Film Festival might see the majority of our films showcasing an artistic connection of some kind, beyond the fact that film is an art form in itself.”

moes 02“This festival has two essential purposes,” adds Tom Falciglia, the Film Festival’s other Co-Chair. “The first is a christening of CFABS’ newly-minted Moe Auditorium and Film Center at 10150 Bonita Beach Road and the other is a tribute to what CFABS sees as a solid audience base for cinema in Bonita Springs. Festivalgoers will enjoy fascinating and rewarding experiences, right alongside the discovery of each film’s unique details, inspiration, meaning and challenges.”

LogoThose events will begin with an over-the-top opening night on Friday, February 12, 2016, followed by a “House Party on Saturday, February 13, and a special “secret surprise” Valentine evening on Sunday, February 14. The festivities culminate with the finale, the Awards Night and Filmmakers Party on Tuesday February 16. “Each event is unique, filled with great catered food, beverages, quality entertainment and opportunities for filmmakers, directors, writers, BIFF Posteractors and audiences to meet, share ideas and opportunities.”

BIFF is sponsored by The News-Press Media Group.

Tickets can be purchased for individual films and film/party packages are available:

  • General Admission (Single Film) – $15
  • Opening Night Film & Party – $75
  • Saturday Night Film & Party – $50
  • Tuesday Night Film & Party – $50
  • 10 Pack Film Pass – $100
  • Festival Badge – $200 (Friday, Saturday & Tuesday Parties + 10 additional films)

Tickets for the Bonita Springs International Film Festival are available by calling 239-495-8989 and more information is available at www.artcenterbonita.org or by telephoning Marketing Director Patrice Shields at 239-495-8989.

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Centers for the Arts of Bonita begins Moe Auditorium renovations in preparation for inaugural 2016 film festival (04-22-15)

moes 01The Centers for the Arts of Bonita Springs unveiled plans today for renovation of the Moe Auditorium & Film Center in anticipation of its inaugural Bonita Springs International Film Festival. The project will encompass 5,300 square feet of moes 02interior space and consist of expansion of the lobby area, addition of a dedicated dance studio, and a new sound and light control booth. On the outside, a covered pre-function space will be added. This space will provide outdoor seating, serve as an inviting space for gatherings, and allow for revolving art exhibitions to be enjoyed by artists, students and community visitors.  A new monumental entrance feature will be visible from Bonita Beach Road. The interior is Logoscheduled for completion mid-June. The exterior is slated for completion in mid-July, 2015.

“This is a tremendously exciting opportunity for both residents and visitors in Bonita Springs and across Southwest Florida,” says Susan Bridges, who serves as president of the Centers for the Arts of Bonita Springs. “Renovating the Karin & Robert Moe Auditorium & Film Center means state of the art media, films and live performances all in a Moe Auditorium 01setting rich with beautiful new décor, furnishings and ambience. And our live entertainment in the Moe? Well, close your eyes and think improv, jazz, Shakespeare, Chamber Music and everything in between.”

The Center for Performing Arts Bonita Springs’ Moe Auditorium and Film Center has been serving Moe Auditorium 02the community as a performance venue for small productions, dance recitals, film presentations, youth theater, community theater and improv shows since it was acquired by the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs from the Living Waters Community Church in January 2014.  The Moe Auditorium & Film Center is part of the 30,000 Center of the Arts of Bonita Springs 02square foot campus which includes the 400 seat Hinman Auditorium, the  Lightner Master Artists’ Studio and classrooms for adult and youth education opportunities in art, music, dance and theater. Moe Auditorium is home to the CFABS Community Players and the center’s “Films for Film Lovers” series. The larger Hinman Auditorium accommodates a dazzling variety of performances.

Center of the Arts of Bonita Springs 14For over 50 years, the Center for the Arts Bonita Springs has provided first-rate visual, performing and media arts to Bonita Springs and surrounding communities.  Now, equipped with two campuses, one on Old 41 Road and the second on Bonita Beach Road, the Center more than doubles what it can offer residents and visitors of all ages.

Become a member of the Art Center’s Film Society and receive advance notice of film events and screenings. For more information, please telephone239-495-8989 or visit www.artcenterbonita.org.

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