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Actors, artists, directors, filmmakers and events in the news April 15-21, 2021


Grouped under headings that include art openings, film, outdoor art fairs and festivals and theater are advances, announcements and articles about the actors, artists, filmmakers and events making news in Southwest Florida this week:


1      ACTORS


Rachael Lord plays Gia in ‘Nana Does Vegas’

Rachael Lord is playing the role of Gian in Nana Does Vegas, which is on stage now through April 25 in the Off Broadway Palm. Her recent stage credits include Gerda in The Snow Queen (Off Broadway Palm, Prather Entertainment, 2020), Pickles in The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical (Off Broadway Palm, Prather Entertainment, 2020), Nun/Ensemble in The Sound of Music (Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, Prather Entertainment, 2020) and Snow White in Lab Theater’s hybrid film-theater production of Disenchanted: A New Musical Comedy! (2020). Go here for the rest of Rachael’s theatrical and related credits.



Rachael Endrizzi plays Bridget in ‘Nana Does Vegas’

Rachael Endrizzi plays the part of Bridget in Nana Does Vegas, on stage through April 25 in the Off Broadway Palm. Rachael is an actor, director and teaching artist. Her recent stage credits include Anna in ‘Til Theft Do Us Part (Off Broadway Palm, 2021), Linoleum in Great American Trailer Park Musical (Off BroadwayPalm, 2020), A Christmas Carol: A Live Radio Show (Off Broadway Palm, 2019) and The Medora Musical 2019 (Burning Hills Singer). You will find all of Rachael’s theatrical credits here.



Brian Linthicum plays Charles Strickland in David Mamet’s ‘Race’

Lab Theater is bringing David Mamet’s Race to the stage at the end of April. Directed by Sonya McCarter, the production features Michael A. Massari, Lemec Bernard, Cantrella Canady and Brian Linthicum.

Linthicum portrays Charles Strickland, a wealthy white man accused of raping a black woman. Born into wealth, one of Strickland’s many problems is that the word “no” has never found its way into his vocabulary. Although Strickland maintains that he and his accuser were in a consensual relationship, his story begins to unravel as systemic racist anecdotes from his past bubble to the surface.

Go here for more.



Lemec Bernard plays lawyer Henry Brown in David Mamet’s ‘Race’

Lab Theater is bringing David Mamet’s Race to the stage at the end of April. Directed by Sonya McCarter, the production features Brian Linthicum, Michael A. Massari, Cantrella Canady and Lemec Bernard.

Bernard plays Henry Brown. Henry and his white law partner, Jack Lawson, have been approached by a wealthy white man named Charles Strickland, who is seeking representation against charges that he raped a black woman.

You’ll find the rest of this here.



Cantrella Canady plays Susan in David Mamet’s ‘Race’

Lab Theater is bringing David Mamet’s Race to the stage at the end of April. Directed by Sonya McCarter, the production features Brian Linthicum, Michael A. Massari, Lemec Bernard and Cantrella Canady.

Canady plays Susan, who is the only person in the play whose last name is never revealed. While the title of the play may be Race, Susan’s true intentions make it clear that sexual politics is also at play in the drama that unfolds when a wealthy white man accused of raping a black woman engages two lawyers to represent him – one who is white and the other who’s black.

For more, go here.



Michael Massari plays Jack Lawson in David Mamet’s ‘Race’

Michael Massari makes his Lab Theater debut in the role of Jack Lawson in David Mamet’s Race. Michael is an adjunct professor in the Theatre Department at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City. He holds an MFA in Acting from the Professional Actor’s Training Program at the University of Washington. Michael has performed in regional theatres across the country, including: Colorado Shakespeare, Dallas Theatre Center, Florida Studio, Ft. Worth Shakespeare, Idaho Repertory, Intiman, PCPA and Seattle Children’s Theatre. He also appeared as the Mystery Man in the 2011 drama Dreams Awake starring Erin Gray. The rest of this profile is here.



Gerrie Benzing plays Ruth in TNP’s ‘Calendar Girls’

Gerrie Benzing plays Ruth in The Naples Players’ production of Calendar Girls, which opens with a red carpet gala on Tuesday, April 27. She has appeared in more than 14 productions at Cultural Park Theater, three shows at Lab Theater and made her debut at Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts in 2019 as Lucy and Tommy of No Consequence in Adam Szymkowics’s Marian, or the True Story of Robin Hood at New Phoenix Theater in 2020 in The Full Monty and later that same year at The Studio Players as Theresa in Circle Mirror Transformation. Now TNP audiences have an opportunity to appreciate her stage work as well. Go here for her full profile – and go here to see why Art Southwest Florida celebrated her contributions to theater during Women’s History Month.



Darlyne Franklin plays Celia in The Naples Players’ production of ‘Calendar Girls’

Darlyne Franklin is an actor, playwright and producer. Among her acting credits is the role of Chris in Neil Simon’s Rumors (for New Phoenix Theatre). And when Calendar Girls opens on April 28 at The Naples Players, Darlyne will be on stage in the role of Celia. Darlyne was born and raised in East Boston, but she’s been a resident of Naples for more than 15 years, after coming to the area as a snowbird and deciding to stay. Franklin is mentioned in Webster’s online Dictionary under “dinner theater” and was featured in a question on the TV game show Jeopardy. Go here to see her full profile.



Sharon Isern plays bride-to-be Courtney in ‘One Slight Hitch’

One Slight Hitch comes to the Joan Jenks stage beginning May 28. In this Lewis Black farce, Doc and Delia Coleman’s daughter is getting married and Sharon Isern plays the blushing bride, Courtney.

A freelance writer, Courtney has just published her first novel, which was almost successful. Like every bride-to-be, Courtney expects just before the ceremony “something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.” But never in her wildest imagination did she dream that her something old would come in the form of her ex-boyfriend, Ryan, who shows up at her parents’ home on the big day needing a shower and completely oblivious to the fact that Courtney has moved on with a capital “M.” Or has she?

Go here for more.



Danielle Channell plays Melanie in ‘One Slight Hitch’

One Slight Hitch comes to the Joan Jenks stage beginning May 28. In this Lewis Black farce, Doc and Delia Coleman have three winsome daughters. Their eldest, Courtney, is getting married. Their youngest, P.B., is a free spirit trapped in a tightly-wound, button-down family. Their middle girl, Melanie, is an attractive 20-something nurse. She’s not just psychotic. Melanie is distracted. When she finds her older sister’s ex half naked downstairs on the day of the wedding, well, let’s just say that her mind’s no longer on the nuptials taking place outside.

Who do you think of when it comes to casting psychotic – especially if you’re staging a farce? While there may be quite a number actors in Southwest Florida who’d be delighted to fill the bill, one choice seems abundantly obvious. That would be Danielle Channell, the Queen of Farce. Go here for more.



Rosie DeLeon plays P.B. in ‘One Slight Hitch’

One Slight Hitch comes to the Joan Jenks stage beginning May 28. In this Lewis Black farce, Doc and Delia Coleman’s daughter, Courtney, is getting married and Rosie DeLeon plays the bride’s youngest sister, P.B., a free spirit in a tight-laced, button-down family.

Rosie last appeared on the Joan Jenks stage in the role of Lauren in Circle Mirror Transformation.

Go here for the rest of her growing resume.





Sonya McCarter directs David Mamet’s ‘Race’ for Lab Theater

Lab Theater is bringing David Mamet’s Race to the stage at the end of April. Sonya McCarter directs.

Sonya is a gifted director whose credits include Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, August Wilson’s King Hedley IISeven Guitars and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Lydia Diamond’s The Bluest Eye and George C. Wolff’s The Colored Museum.

So who better to understand how mixed audiences and casts react to themes involving institutional racism and race relations?

Go here for more.





Broadway Palm announces adult auditions

Broadway Palm is holding open auditions for adults (18+) for their upcoming productions on Sunday, May 2, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. Roles are available for both musical theater actors and comedic actors.

The following are the productions that are available:

  • Beehive, plays May 27 – June 26, 2021 (Rehearsals May 13 – May 26)
  • Grease, plays July 1 – August 14, 2021 (Rehearsals June 17 – June 30)
  • A Night On Broadway, plays September 9 – October 7, 2021 (Rehearsals August 28 – September 8)
  • The Sound of Music, plays October 7 – November 20, 2021 (Rehearsals September 23 – October 6)

Also casting for The Off Broadway Palm Theatre productions of:

  • Farce of Nature, plays June 3 – July 25, 2021 (Rehearsals May 20 – June 2)
  • Social Security, plays September 23 – November 6, 2021 (Rehearsals September 7 – September 22)
  • No Claus for Alarm, plays November 11 – December 25, 2021 (Rehearsals October 28 – November 10)

Anyone interested in auditioning should bring a current headshot and resume. Those auditioning for a musical need to be prepared to sing 32 bars of two contrasting songs that best shows off your vocal range. Please bring sheet music in the proper key; an accompanist will be provided (no recorded music is accepted.) Songs should be in the musical theatre genre. After the vocal audition, actors/actresses may be asked to attend a dance and/or reading audition.

Those auditioning for an Off Broadway Palm comedy need to have a prepared comic monologue for their audition.

Please allow yourself enough time to be seen and possibly be called back to read and/or dance.

Social distancing will apply in the theatre and masks need to be worn while waiting for your appointment and when entering the theatre.

Broadway Palm and The Off Broadway Palm are professional theatres. Productions require a two-week rehearsal process with rehearsals daily. Anyone interested must be available for the two-week rehearsal process and all performances. Performances are Tuesday through Sunday evenings with selected matinees on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Performance schedules are available at

All those auditioning must have local housing in the Southwest Florida area or be able to commute from their home location.

Auditions will be held on Sunday, May 2, 2021 at Broadway Palm, 1380 Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers. All auditions are by appointment only and can be made by emailing Brian Enzman at All appointments must be requested by Friday, April 30, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. For more information, please visit or call (239) 278-4422.



‘Nana Does Vegas’ on stage at Off Broadway Palm through April 25

On stage in the Off Broadway Palm through April 25 is Katherine DiSavino’s Nana Does Vegas. If you liked Nana’s Naughty Knickers, you’ll adore Nana Does Vegas. The writing is sharper, the wit more sophisticated, the plot more suspenseful, and DiSavino does an amazing job of not giving away the plot twists too far in advance. Of course, it’s a farce. So you can count on it having just the right amount of physical comedy, laugh points, hiding and chase scenes. You can also count on finding characters who will resonate with you and the rest of the audience.

“People want to see some version of themselves,” DiSavino explains. “They want to laugh at themselves or their friends. Nudge the person next to them at the table and say ‘That’s you.’ And they want escapism. They want to laugh.”

In this one, Nana has rolled the dice and moved to Las Vegas with her newly widowed sidekick Vera, who’s quite the troublemaker in general and in this show in particular. After Nana gets an offer she can’t refuse, she and Vera begin making costumes for the hottest show in Vegas. What could possibly go wrong? Well, everything!

DiSavino is one of Samuel French’s best-selling playwrights. Based in Los Angeles, she currently writes on the CW’s Nancy Drew and, before that, she wrote for the CW’s The Outpost.

Katherine is featured on Tracking Board’s ‘Young & Hungry’ list of the top 100 New Writers in Hollywood. She has pitched on a number of film, television and digital projects and has worked with screenwriters on feature scripts and TV series in development. Her three published plays have been translated into multiple languages and performed around the world. Theatrical critics have called her work “true-to-life,” “superbly written,” and “entertaining and laugh-out-loud funny.” She is represented by Kendrick Tan at Lit Entertainment Group.



‘Bronx Tale’ plays now through May 22 at Broadway Palm

A Bronx Tale is playing now through May 22 at Broadway Palm. This streetwise musical is based on Academy Award® nominee Chazz Palminteri’s story that The New York Times hails as “a Critics’ Pick; the kind of tale that makes you laugh and cry!”

This hit crowd-pleaser takes you to a working class Italian American neighborhood in the Bronx in the 1960s where a young man is caught between the father he loves and the mob boss he would love to be.

Bursting with high-energy dance numbers and original doo-wop tunes, A Bronx Tale is an unforgettable story of loyalty, love, respect and, most importantly, family.

Performances are Wednesday through Sunday evenings with selected matinees. Tickets are $48 to $73. Children and group prices are available. Tickets are now on sale and can be reserved by calling (239) 278-4422, visiting or in person at 1380 Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers.

Broadway Palm is continuing to follow CDC guidelines while providing a delicious meal and exceptional entertainment in a safe and socially distanced environment. For a list of the extensive health and safety measures they have taken, please visit It is important to note that guests are required to wear masks while not eating or drinking.



Center for Performing Arts Bonita producing ‘The Addams Family’ April 16-18

The Addams Family – A New Musical Comedy comes to the Hinman Auditorium stage this weekend for four performances – at 7:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, April 16 & 17 and at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, April 17 & 18.

This is the hilarious Broadway musical that puts family first – The Addams Family, that is. And at its core is Gomez Addams’ worst nightmare: Wednesday Addams, the ultimate princess of darkness, has grown up and fallen in love with a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family—a man her parents have never met. And if that wasn’t upsetting enough, Wednesday confides in her father and begs him not to tell her mother. Now, Gomez Addams must do something he’s never done before—keep a secret from his beloved wife, Morticia. Everything will change for the whole family on the fateful night they host a dinner for Wednesday’s “normal” boyfriend and his parents.

The Addams Family is a comical feast that embraces the wackiness in every family. The frightfully fun, hilarious musical comedywill raise your spirits, steal your heart and leave you in stitches.

Ciarán Welch, Age 17 (Saint John Neumann High School) plays the family patriarch, Gomez Addams and Gia Provinzino, Age 16, (Lee Virtual School) stars in the role of Morticia.

Olivia LaChance, Age 13, portrays Wednesday Addams.

Evan Abram, Age 12 (Three Oaks Middle School) plays Fester; Sofia Passos, Age 13 (Bonita Springs Charter School) plays Grandma; Lyla Hogue, Age 11 plays Pugsley Addams, Zechariah Whooley, Age 13 (Bonita Springs Middle School) plays Lurch, and Alexandria Dishman, Age 9 (Naples Christian Academy) is Cousin Itt.

Mal Beineke is played by Blake Benge, Age 12, Alice Beineke is portrayed by Sarina Stubblefield, Age 15 and Brycton Archer, Age 15 (Estero High) is Lucas Beineke.

Founded in 1959, the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs (CFABS) is committed to enriching the lives of the community by providing opportunities for artistic expression, education and appreciation. CFABS is comprised to two campuses—each dedicated to the visual or performing arts. The Performing Arts Center, 10150 Bonita Beach Road, is home to the 400-seat Hinman Auditorium and the 200-seat Moe Auditorium & Film Center. At this diverse center, patrons can enjoy an ongoing array of live concerts, dance performances, theater, comedy, film, lectures, youth education classes and more.


David Mamet’s ‘Race’ opens at Lab Theater on April 28

Lab Theater is bringing David Mamet’s Race to the stage at the end of April. Directed by Sonya McCarter, the production features Brian Linthicum, Cantrella Canady, Michael A. Massari and Lemec Bernard.

Go here for the advance for this play.

Go here for play dates, times and ticket information.



‘Calendar Girls’ rare play about female friendship, bonding and empowerment

The Naples Players opens its 68th season with a return to indoor performances on April 28 with Tim Firth’s Calendar Girls. The play is based on the true story of a group of middle to late age British women who decided to pose nude for a calendar in order to raise money for a new sofa for the local hospital’s waiting room after one woman in the group lost her husband to leukemia. But while a lot of the show’s laughs result from the concept, the play itself is not about nudity. It’s about friendship, female bonding, and the corrosive, corruptive force of sudden fame and notoriety.

The script is replete with laughs, although some of the humor in the early-going is likely lost on American audiences because it presupposes a knowledge and understanding of British culture, current events and celebrity personas. It’s like being present when someone tells an inside joke. It sounds funny, you want to laugh, but you really don’t get it because you don’t really know what the joke-teller is trying to lampoon.

That aside, this play is full of lively, poignant and relatable dialogue, situations and, above all, characters.

The rest of the advance is here.

And go here for play dates, times and ticket information.



Spotlight on ‘Calendar Girls’ playwright Tim Firth

Before it was a stage play, Calendar Girls was a successful motion picture. But in 2008, Firth adapted his film for the stage, and that started a love affair during which British audiences made Calendar Girls the all-time number one box office hit in that nation’s history. Since 2011, U.S. audiences have also been getting to see just why the show’s been so popular across the pond.

Born in 1964, Firth started writing at a young age. By 15, he was already penning full-length musicals for local schools, and a year before graduation he was even commissioned to write a television script.

While studying English at Cambridge, he had occasion to attend an Arvon Foundation writing course run by playwrights Willy Russell and Danny Hiller. As part of the workshop, he wrote a play about two 16-year-olds trying to write a song.

Go here for the rest of this spotlight.



‘One Slight Hitch’ mocks our all-too-human attempts to shape our own destiny

One Slight Hitch comes to the Joan Jenks stage beginning May 28. In this Lewis Black farce, Doc and Delia Coleman’s daughter, Courtney, is getting married. Her mom and maid of honor thought they had the Old English Rhyme covered (you know, “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue). But never did Courtney imagine that her something old would come in the form of her ex-lover, Ryan, who shows up clueless on her wedding day grungy and in need of a shower after returning from an extended hiking trip out of state. So much for Delia’s best laid plans for her daughter’s “perfect wedding.”

The rest of this advance is here.





Christo and Jeanne-Claude retrospective closes April 17

CHRISTO & JEANNE-CLAUDE: The Tom Golden Collection is on view in the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery at Florida SouthWestern State College through April 17. This traveling retrospective surveys the extraordinary career of artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude through collages, prints, photographs, drawings and objects. Drawn from the permanent collection of the Sonoma County Museum—the most extensive private collection in the United States—the exhibition spans 37 years of the Christo’s career.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude were famous for large-scale environmental projects that temporarily altered urban and rural landscapes in Europe, the United States, Australia and Japan. Together, they changed the landscape of installation art, covering large areas of space by draping thousands of square yards of various types of fabric over buildings, bridges and both land and sea masses.

While each of the artists’ projects existed only briefly, they were anticipated with suspense for months, even years, while being planned ….

You can find more on the exhibition here.



Jansen’s ‘Two Decades of Relevance’ comes to Naples’ Baker Museum on April 24

The Baker Museum will host a retrospective of work by internationally-acclaimed artist Marcus Jansen April 24 through July 25, 2021. Representing Jansen’s first solo museum exhibition in Southwest Florida, Two Decades of Relevance will showcase 18 powerful paintings, including Foreclosures (2008), Spotlight (2020) and The Colonialist (2021).

Over that span, Jansen has garnered numerous attention and accolades. Part of this recognition inheres in incredible technical competency and revolutionary genre-busting style. But what sets Jansen apart from his contemporaries is his uncompromising critical commentary on global political and socio-economic issues and the world events that have shaped his life.

For Jansen, painting is an act of intense engagement with the world. It is this quality that emerges from his urban landscapes and portraiture and connects viscerally with those who encounter his colorful abstract-and-figurative constructions which, individually and in the aggregate, reflect his sustained preoccupation with the struggles of the displaced and disenfranchised, surveillance and technology, and power structures and their manifestations across different spheres.

Jansen’s response to the foregoing concerns is informed by a series of profound life experiences. He mother is Jamaican; his father German. He spent his formative years in the Bronx and his adolescence in Germany. He was diagnosed and treated for PTSD after fighting in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm in the first Iraq War. And after losing his first wife to cancer, he struggled as a single dad to two boys saddled with a mountain of medical bills while trying to establish himself as an artist with a story to tell. Jansen has emerged from these life events filled with a passion for universal human rights and improved societal conditions. Charged with a sense of empathy and a commitment to justice, his works are, not surprisingly, simultaneously emotional, introspective and intellectual.

Jansen had his first European solo museum exhibitions at La Triennale di Milano Museum, Milan and the Museum Zitadelle Berlin. He has participated in the 12th International Print and Drawing Biennial in Taiwan at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Art. Works by Jansen are in collections of the Moscow Museum of Modern Art (MMOMA), The University of Michigan Museum of Art, The New Britain Museum of American Art, The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, The National Taiwan Museum of Fine Art, The Housatonic Museum of Art and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.

In addition to his studio practice, Jansen is founder of the Marcus Jansen Foundation Fund in Fort Myers, which aims to serve veterans with PTSD and economically-disadvantaged children through enhanced cultural awareness of art and music.

The Baker Museum is one of the foremost fine art museums in Southwest Florida. Emphasizing modern and contemporary art, the museum hosts several traveling exhibitions annually to complement installations of works from its permanent collections. Dedicated to stewardship and scholarship, The Baker Museum provides world-class exhibitions and educational opportunities for Southwest Florida’s diverse community.



DAAS’ April show ‘ICONIC’

On view through May 1, DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery is featuring a collection of pieces submitted by artists from Southwest Florida who responded to an invitation posted on the venue’s website. Entitled ICONIC, this exhibition honors legends in the entertainment and artistic industry throughout the ages. Artists were challenged to turn their love for legends like Marilyn Monroe, Myles Davis, Elvis Presley, Rita Moreno, Maya Angelou, Madonna, Bob Marley and others into equally iconic works of art. Their creations incorporate imagery that clearly represent the icon, whether in portrait or suggestive.

DAAS CO-OP is located at 1815 Fowler Street, in the Butterfly Estates complex in Fort Myers, FL. The gallery’s temporary business hours are Wednesday to Sunday, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. More information about the venue and/or how to become a member can be found at or by calling 239-590-8645.

Images:  Imperfection is beauty and Do not fear mistakes, there are none, digital paintings by Spencer Elles.



DAAS’ May show is Junior Jimenez’s ‘Game of Life: Art During the Pandemic’

In May, DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery will present the art of Puerto Rican artist Junior Jimenez. Entitled Game of Life: Art During the Pandemic, the exhibition proposes iconography and symbolism that conveys the struggle for control during this past year.

Junior Jiménez was born on July 16, 1967 in Paterson, New Jersey to Puerto Rican parents. When he was four years old, his family moved to Camuy, a small town in north Puerto Rico. From early childhood, Junior was intrigued by the power of religious iconography, the symbolism found mostly in the Catholic Church but also visible in the Taíno and African cultures, which are part of Puerto Ricans’ DNA.

The island’s colonial architecture, Jimenez’s childhood passion for archeology, and future visual references from the pop culture of the 60s, ‘70s and ‘80s would come together and emerge as the defining influence on Junior’s body of work.

Jimenez also uses mixed media to express his ideas.

“As a mixed media artist, I always like to incorporate my own photographs into my pieces and develop them into a multilayered artistic statement,” expands. “Originally, I wanted to use portraits and photos of random people in the streets walking amid the invisible enemy. But going out and exposing myself to the virus was not an option. So for the main visuals, I decided to use my personal collection of vintage photo portraits from the 1800’s. The dead would have a chance to come back to life to warn us of the devastation that could follow in the wake of the pandemic.”

Jimenez attended the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón in San Juan, Puerto Rico and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Kean University in New Jersey. His long career in the advertising world both as an art director and a creative became the launch pad for his future career in the visual arts.

The opening reception is scheduled for Friday, May 7, 2021 from 6:00 to 9:30 p.m. in conjunction with Fort Myers Art Walk. The exhibition will be on display through May 29, 2021.

DAAS CO-OP is also starting a series of classes hosted by published author Winslow E. Dixon, starting in May 2021. Topics include book publishing, selfcare and homeopathic home living, among others. For a class schedule and sign-up link, please visit

DAAS CO-OP is located at 1815 Fowler Street, in the Butterfly Estates complex in Fort Myers, FL. The gallery’s temporary business hours are Wednesday to Sunday, from 10am to 3pm. More information about the venue and/or how to become a member can be found at or by calling 239-590-8645.



Davis Art Center accepting submissions for Functional Art Show thru April 23

The Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center will be staging a functional art exhibit in May. Functional art is art created for use. However, while it functional art is intended to serve a utilitarian purpose, it is designed artistically, with an aesthetic or “chi” in mind so that it takes on a life of its own.

The genre is remarkably inclusive. It encompasses everything from furniture and lighting to dishes and even books. While the terms “fine” or “high” art typically apply to works that carry an intellectual and emotional sensibility alongside a dose of old-fashioned beauty, functional art infuses these aesthetic ideals into things that you might never have expected to view as art, like, say, a switchblade.

From an art history perspective, you could say that functional art is the inverse of Marcel Duchamp’s famous readymades, where he transformed utilitarian objects—a urinal, a bottle rack, etc.—into conceptual artworks by fiat. It became art because he said it was. Functional artworks, by contrast, are highly crafted artistic creations that can perform utilitarian jobs, but that collector’s might prefer to keep on the display shelf.

Today many functional art objects are as avidly acquired by collectors as their fine-art brethren, and are appreciated just as much for their beauty as their use. Ancient Chinese vases, for example, while still capable of performing their originally intended function (displaying flowers), are prized for their historic and aesthetic value more than anything else. And this is equally true of clocks, jewelry and valet boxes, lights and chandeliers, intricately-carved limestone fireplaces, and life-size figurines and wildlife sculptures which, positioned at the edge of a pond or pool, function as fountains, helping purify and circulate its water. Of course, one need look no farther than Artis Naples for two prominent examples of functional art – the Paley Gates at the Baker Museum of Art and the door handles to the performing arts hall.

The deadline for submissions is April 23, 2021. The exhibition will show in the grand atrium from May 7 through May 27, 2021.



Davis Art Center accepting submissions for June show ‘Recaptured’ through May 20

In June, the Davis Art Center will host Recaptured, a juried art exhibition that focuses on “recapturing” waste and turning it into a desirable piece of art.

For thousands of years, what was discarded by one creature was a resource of another. Then along came humans. Today, mankind generates at least 3.5 million tons of plastic and other solid waste a day, 10 times the amount a century ago. The U.S. is the king of trash, producing a world-leading 250 million tons a year—roughly 4.4 pounds of trash per person per day. But because we’ve become very good at hiding it, the problem of disposing of this among of trash does not seem particularly impending. But make no mistake. Waste poses a major problem not only for our species, but for the survival of the planet as a whole.

As a result, recycling has become an integral part of protecting the environment. Within this rubric, two approaches have emerged – downcycling and upcycling. In the former, the destructive cycle is slowed down but the resulting objects lose quality as a result of the process. In the latter, they acquire value thanks to creative intervention.

In this regard, artists are converting glass bottles, plastic bags and other waste that would end up filling landfills or floating in the sea into a sustainable art that highlights the degradation of the planet by drawing attention to excessive or conspicuous consumption, the depletion of natural resources and the resulting environmental pollution. Artists engaged in this new genre and movement seek to transform waste such as paper, cardboard, wood, glass, plastics, metals and rubber into works of art.

The concept goes beyond the mere conventional of recycling. In fact, it goes well beyond the principle espoused by French artist Marcel Duchamps, Pablo Picasso and their contemporaries roughly a century ago that an artist transforms a manufactured object into art just by giving it a title and exhibiting it in a museum, gallery or art show. As a movement, the inclusion of waste in artistic compositions has morphed from “ready-mades,” “junk art” and the “accumulations” of Franco-American artist Arman (who aggregated trash in airtight glass cylinders and boxes) to the use of waste as an artistic medium on a par with oil, acrylic and epoxy paints or marble, stone and metal. And from this detritus a generation of eco-artists has emerged who bring new meaning to their two and three dimensional works and installation by engaging with the “reuse, reduce, and recycle” slogan through their craft.

With Recaptured, the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center not only highlights this new artistic movement and genre. It joins eco-friendly initiatives and festivals springing up around the world such as Art of Recycle in Pennsylvania and the Seattle Recycled Arts Festival that have advanced the motto of “Reduce, Reuse, Reclaim, Repurpose, and Recycle,” showing communities how they can express their creativity with extensive range by using recycled materials – and furthers the tradition of such local shows as the Alliance for the Arts’ Rejectamenta show and the Ding Darling Wildlife Society’s 2015 Upcycle! Art Fest.

Will you be – or see – the next Chiharu Shiota (whose Over the Continents installation featured an accumulation of nearly 400 individual shoes that Shiota personally collected, along with a note from each donor describing the people they have lost along with past moments, creating an emotionally charged installation), Von Wong (who created a large scale installation entitled Parting of the Sea that highlights the consumption of single-use plastics that he made from 168,000 plastic straws and recovered plastic packaging collected from the streets of Vietnam with the help of volunteers) or Susan Stockwell (whose work World features a gigantic world map made from recycled computer components, motherboards, electrical wiring, fans and myriad other components).

The deadline for submissions is May 20. The show will be displayed in the grand atrium between June 4 and June 24, and offers a $500 prize for Best in Show, $250 for SBDAC Staff Pick and $250 for People’s Choice.


  • No. 2: Gift by Patricia Esposito
  • No. 3: Ride Eternal by Jay Lana
  • No. 4:  Death Owl by Andrew Corke
  • No. 5:  Aerial by Marcus Jansen
  • No. 6:  Over the Continents by Chiharu Shiota
  • No. 7:  Parting of the Sea by Von Wong
  • No. 8:  World by Susan Stockwell
  • No. 9:  City of Dreams by Izaskun Chinchilla Architects
  • No.10: Red, Yellow & Blue by Orly Genger
  • No.11:  Jurassic Plastic by Hiroshi Fuji
  • No.12:  Venice Architecture Biennale 2016 core exhibit by Alejandro Aravena



SBDAC issues call for Artist Trading Card exhibit

The Davis Art Center has issued a Call to Artists for its August show, Carded: Miniature Masterpieces. The exhibition will feature artist trading cards or ATC, tiny (2.5 x 3.5 inches) original pieces of art created with the intention of swapping or trading with another artist. On the front of an ATC, an artist creates an original work to showcase their art. It can be a one-off, part of a series, or a limited edition. On the back, the artist puts their name, contact details, title of the ATC, number if it’s a limited edition, and sometimes the date it was created. The can be made in any medium and using any technique, whether it’s painting, drawing or collage.

ATCs date back to 1997 when M. Vanci Stirnemann, a Swiss artist, created 1200 cards by hand as part of an exhibit. On the last day, he invited others to create their own cards and trade with him during the closing reception. The movement took off and, today, there are ATC swaps in almost every major city around the world. There are also many online swaps.

The movement builds on different traditions, including miniature art, which has been in existence for centuries beginning with the illustrated manuscripts of scribes in the Far East and Europe prior to the 15th century. ATCs also reflect the influence of pop art, which features motifs taken from everyday life. In this regard, ATCs share an affinity with the Fluxus movement and with Robert Filliou’s notions of a “fête permanente,” a “création permanente” or an “eternal network.”

The origin of the modern trading card is associated with cigarette cards first issued by the US-based Allen and Ginter tobacco company in 1875.

Artist Ndola Pensy introduced the artist trading card idea to Southwest Florida in 2017 with great reception among artists of different mediums in the area. Carded: Miniature Masterpieces will be curated by Cesar Aguilera.

The deadline for submissions is July 24. There is no limit on the number of submissions.

Any medium, motif and theme is acceptable, but no prints or reproductions will be curated into the show (digital art excepted). Submit your good quality images to with your name, medium, and title of each piece.

The show exhibits August 6-26. Cards will not be for sale, but in the tradition of ATC events, there will be an optional trading part at the end of the show.



5      FILM


The 11th Annual Fort Myers Film Festival opens May 12 with red carpet gala

The 11th annual Fort Myers Film Festival to be held in person and online May 12-16, 2021 (with other venues, restaurants and private parties to be announced). It all starts with a red carpet gala at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center on May 12, with doors opening at 5:00 for drinks, mingling and musical entertainment. The opening is always heavily attended by local and international filmmakers and the actors who bring their vision to life. Tickets are $15 for movie only or $100 for movie and VIP meet and greet. Guests will enjoy fully-stocked bar and a chance to meet with the stars of the evening’s film, other filmmakers and event VIPs. The event will provide the delicious foods and beverages. Watch last year’s video here To buy tickets go to If you are looking for photos head to

Go here for the rest of this advance.



This year’s Fort Myers Film Festival features 60 films in 7 categories

The Fort Myers Film Festival opens on Wednesday, May 12 with a red carpet gala and the Caytha Jentis comedy Pooling to Paradise. Over the ensuing four days, it will screen 60 fresh international and independent films, with some throwback Florida films featuring cult classics and local filmmakers. The festival closes with the U.S. premier of the lost 1948 film Nuremberg: Its Lesson for Today, a documentary that chronicles how that film was recovered and restored, and an awards ceremony in the grand atrium of the Sidney and Berne Davis Art Center beginning at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 16.

The rest of this announcement is here.



11th Annual Fort Myers Film Festival to open with indie comedy ‘Pooling to Paradise’

Caytha Jentis’ indie comedy Pooling to Paradise will open the 11th Annual Fort Myers Film Festival on Wednesday, May 12. Directed by Roxy Shih, the 80-minute feature stars Taryn Manning (Orange Is the New Black, Hustle & Flow), Jonathan Lipnicki (The Resident, Jerry Maguire), Dreama Walker (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Gran Torino), Lynn Chen (Saving Face, Go Back To China) and comedian Jordan Carlos (Broad City, Guy Code, Girl Code).

The film follows four millennial strangers who find themselves at a crossroads in their lives. Jenny (Lynn Chen), a mom living in Los Angeles with her husband and three kids, is filled with Mommy Angst. She is off to a blogger conference in Vegas to jumpstart her life-after-kids career. Calling a ride-share to the airport, she accidentally chooses “pool’ and soon finds herself in a car full of strangers that includes Kara (Dreama Walker), a struggling actress feminist; Sean (Jonathan Lipnicki), a tightly wound, heartbroken talent agent; and, Marc (Jordan Carlos), their driver, a hipster anarchist shaman.

Go here for the rest of this advance.



Spotlight on ‘Pooling to Paradise’ screenwriter Caytha Jentis

Caytha Jentis’ indie comedy Pooling to Paradise will open the 11th Annual Fort Myers Film Festival on Wednesday, May 12. Caytha got the idea for the storyline and the characters in a most unusual way. In Los Angeles visiting a girlfriend, the two made plans to meet a mutual guy friend at a casual Italian restaurant. En route, they struck up a conversation with their “young, cute, hipster” Lyft driver and asked him to join them for dinner.

“The dinner conversation flowed,” Caytha recounts. “Over his second slice, our driver with a boyish Cheshire cat smile announced: ‘My friend found love in Paradise!’  He had our attention. We were intrigued – of course. He shared the story of his buddy, who had stupidly cheated on his girlfriend. Unable to forgive, she broke up with him and moved back home to Paradise, Nevada. Full of regrets, his friend quit his job in L.A. and moved to Paradise to win her back. Now, a year later, they were getting married. As a hopeful romantic, I was taken by this bittersweet love story, but as a pragmatic (cheerful) nihilist, our driver was unsure if it was actually a good thing.  [But] hat night and the Paradise story morphed into this road movie.”

The rest of this profile is here.



Spotlight on ‘Pooling to Paradise’ actor Jonathan Lipnicki

Pooling to Paradise follows four millennial strangers who find themselves in a pooled ride share on their way to Paradise, Nevada. Jonathan Lipnicki plays the part of Sean, a tightly wound, heartbroken talent agent. When we first meet Sean, he’s not just distraught. He’s packing a gun.

At the age of five, Lipnicki received global acclaim as he won the hearts of Tom Cruise and Renee Zellweger in the Academy Award-winning film Jerry Maguire. After this breakout role, Jonathan became a widely-recognizable celebrity. His early works included starring roles in the films Stuart Little (Michael J. Fox, Geena Davis, Hugh Laurie, Nathan Lane), Stuart Little 2, the comedy-fantasy Like Mike (Lil’ Bow Wow, Jesse Plemons, Marie Chestnut), and the Little Vampire (Richard E. Grant); as well as series-regular roles on The Jeff Foxworthy Show (as Foxworthy’s youngest child) and Meego. Before the time Jonathan was ten his films had grossed nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars at the box office.

Jonathan’s full profile is here.



Spotlight on ‘Pooling to Paradise’ actor Lynn Chen

Award winning, multi-talented actor Lynn Chen has enjoyed a career spanning more than three decades. She made her debut on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House at the age of five. Since then, she has either starred or appeared in over 60 films, television series, TV movies and video games, and she plays the part of Jenny in Pooling to Paradise – a blogger with Mommy Angst as she contemplates relaunching her career post-kids. In the realm of film, Lynn is something of a fixture at film festivals. In fact, she set an unofficial record at the 28th Annual LAAPFF with 5 concurrent movie roles.

Go here for all of Lynn’s movie, television and video credits.



Spotlight on ‘Pooling to Paradise’ actor Dreama Walker

Caytha Jentis’ indie comedy Pooling to Paradise will open the 11th Annual Fort Myers Film Festival on Wednesday, May 12. Dreama Walker plays the part of Kara, a struggling actress. A Tampa native, Walker graduated from Henry B. Plant High School in 2004. She made her screen debut two years later and broke out in the role of Hazel Williams in 14 episodes of Gossip Girl (CW, 2008-2009) as one of Blair Waldorf’s (Leighton Meester) minions. Dreama has been working steadily in both television and film ever since.

Of note, you can see her as Connie Stevens in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019), as Clint Eastwood’s granddaughter Ashley Kowalski in Gran Torino and starring opposite Anne Dowd as Becky in the indie break-out thriller Compliance (2012) that premiered at Sundance.

The rest of Dreama’s resume is here.



Spotlight on ‘Pooling to Paradise’ actor Jordan Carlos

Caytha Jentis’ indie comedy Pooling to Paradise will open the 11th Annual Fort Myers Film Festival on Wednesday, May 12. Jordan Carlos plays the part of a Lyft driver by the name of Marc, who is a hipster anarchist shaman.

Jordan Carlos is a popular New York alternative comic who has been nominated as Best Male Comic of the Year by Emerging Comedians of New York. He recently appeared on Samantha Bee’s Not The White House Correspondence Dinner (TBS) and as the ‘nerd’ from Guy Code and Girl Code (MTV).

The rest of Jordan’s resume is here.



Spotlight on ‘Pooling to Paradise’ director Roxy Shih

Caytha Jentis’ indie comedy Pooling to Paradise will open the 11th Annual Fort Myers Film Festival on Wednesday, May 12. Daytime-Emmy-nominated Taiwanese-American Roxy Shih directed the film.

Shih is recognized for her versatility and distinctive perspective, which has enabled her to cross genres as well as international borders when it comes to filmmaking. Her work has been shown at a host of prestigious film festivals including The LA Film Festival, Cannes, SXSW, Toronto Independent, Dances with Films, and the LA Asian Pacific Film Festival. Roxy was one of ten chosen for the prestigious Armed With A Camera fellowship in 2011 and received a grant to direct a short film, Play Time, that premiered at the DGA and went on a successful film festival tour internationally.

The rest of Roxy’s profile is here.



FMFF announces ‘Lost Film of Nuremberg’ documentary as closing film

On November 20, 1945, an international military tribunal was convened for the purpose of putting more than 20 high Nazi officials, including 4 members of the Armed Forces High Command, on trial for war crimes and crimes against peace and humanity. Today, it is known as “the Nuremberg trial” and it represented the first time in history that film and photographs were employed as evidence against defendants. At the same time, the lead prosecutor, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson, wanted a film made documenting the trial in order to show the German public that their leaders had been given a fair trial and had, essentially, convicted themselves. He also envisioned that the film would provide an enduring lesson for posterity. But the United States War Department suppressed the film’s U.S. release, presumably because it would undermine public support for rebuilding Germany and combatting Soviet expansionism. That film has now been restored and will be shown for the very first time in the United States on the closing day of this year’s Fort Myers Film Festival.

Please go here for the rest of this advance.



Saga of Schulberg and Zigman’s Nuremberg trial documentary

The 1948 film Nuremberg: Its Lesson for Today will be screened for the very first time in the United States at the Fort Myers Film Festival. Although Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson expected the film to provide an enduring lesson for posterity, the U.S. War Department suppressed the film’s release. Now, 73 years later, cineastes attending the final day of this year’s FMFF will finally get to see the film that documented the prosecution of more than 20 high Nazi officials (including four members of the Nazi High Command) using original footage compiled by Joseph Goebbels’ Reich Ministry of Propaganda and Public Enlightenment documenting the rise of the National Socialist Party as well as the concentration camps created to exterminate Jews, homosexuals and others deemed undesirable by the Reich.

The rest of this preview is here.



The Nuremberg Trial defendants

On Sunday, May 16, the Fort Myers Film Festival will screen Nuremberg: Its Lesson for Today. Made between 1946 and 1948, the documentary chronicles the 11-month-long Nuremberg trial that ended October 1, 1946.

Memories fade with the passage of time, so it is worthwhile recalling who the defendants were and why they were on trial. Hitler, Joseph Goebbels and Heinrich Himmler were not among those under indictment. They had committed suicide in the waning days of World War II. But more than 20 high-level Nazi officials sat in the Nuremberg courtroom. These were the most notorious of the defendants:

  • Hermann Goering
  • Ernst Kaltenbrunner
  • Alfred Rosenberg
  • Joachim Von Ribbentrop
  • Hans Frank
  • Rudolf Hess
  • Albert Speer

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‘Every Second Counts’ features local actors and locations

One of the strictly local short films in this year’s Fort Myers Film Festival is Jeff Frey’s Every Second Counts. A story about people who become intertwined without being conscious of their connection, on a grand scale the film asks whether a second can change someone’s life forever or we’re destined to fall into the same addictions no matter what.

Frey (2nd image) both wrote and directed the film. It’s his fifth project. His others consist of the 2020 short film The Bartender’s Guide (in which he also plays a bartender), the 2020 drama A Summer to Remember (which he produced and plays the part of Don Jamison), the 2019 short A Related Matter (which he directed and played the role of James Founder) and the 2019 short film Retentissant (which he directed and produced).

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Cassidy Reyes plays recovering heroin addict in ‘Every Second Counts’ short film

One of the strictly local short films in this year’s Fort Myers Film Festival is Jeff Frey’s Every Second Counts. It’s a story about people who become intertwined without being conscious of their connection. On a grand scale, the film asks whether a second can change someone’s life forever or we’re destined to fall into the same addictions no matter what.

Cassidy Reyes plays the lead. Her character is a recovering heroin addict who is looking for a job as she tries to restore normalcy to her shattered life.

“Usually, I have some kind of life experiences in common with the characters I play,” says Reyes.

Fortunately, she has no first-hand experience with heroin addiction.

“But I was lucky enough to have an assistant director who’s known some recovering addicts and she reached out to them for guidance.”

Go here for the rest of this article.



Spotlight on ‘Every Second Counts’ actor Jewelissa Gonzalez

Jewelissa Gonzalez is one of the actors in the cast of Jeff Frey’s Every Second Counts. She plays the role of Laura.

Gonzalez is a relative newcomer to the film acting. Although she studied drama in high school at Manhattan’s Graphics Communication Arts, she didn’t land her first role until after she relocated to Southwest Florida. That occurred when local filmmaker Curtis Collins cast her in the part of Rebecca in Hanging Millstone.

Not long after, she got a call from HBO, which was producing an original series called Ballers. While it wasn’t a speaking part, the experience exposed Jewelissa to A-List celebrities and validated her desire to establish a career in film.

Go here for more.



‘The Knife’ is a ‘strictly local’ Fort Myers Film Festival ‘throwback’

The Fort Myers Film Festival has added a new category of films this year. The festival is featuring a number of “Throwbacks,” such as The Knife, a 2011 short film written, directed and produced by Karen Whitaker and J. Bert Davis whose sequel once removed, Ring, was FMFF’s “Audience Favorite Film” in 2016.

In The Knife, Stephanie thinks her husband is cheating on her with her bestie, Karen. That night, Stephanie and Terry attend a party at Karen’s house.

The rest of this post is here.



‘The Knife’ may have inspired Stephanie Davis to go into directing

When Karen Whitaker and Bert Davis decided to make their first film, they made the tactical decision to only invite friends who had no acting experience whatsoever to be part of the cast. “We’re so bad that we’re good” was their governing mantra. But they made on important exception. They brought in the Downtown Diva, to anchor their cast. By 2011, the ineffable Stephanie Davis had already left her imprint on the local theater scene.

The fact that Davis would make any impact in theater here, or anywhere, seems in retrospect to be highly unlikely. After all, she never made it past the eighth grade.

The rest of this story is here.



Terry Tincher’s role in ‘The Knife’ presaged Ghostbird stage appearances

There’s a reunion coming to the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center on Saturday, May 15. At 10:00 p.m., the Fort Myers Film Festival is bringing back The Knife, the seminal short film by which Karen Whitaker and J. Bert Davis cut their filmmaking teeth. And one of the stars of that flick was Terry Tincher, who plays a husband who may be stepping out on his wife, played by Diva Diaries’ Stephanie Davis.

Tincher has been a fixture in Southwest Florida art circles for more than 30 years. Besides representing collectors on both sides of the sales transaction, Terry founded Tincture Art Gallery and Space 39, unquestionably the coolest art bar in downtown Fort Myers.

The rest of this article is here.



Fort Myers Film Festival screening John Biffar’s ‘Captiva Island’ on Throwback Thursday

The Fort Myers Film Festival returns to the River District May 12-16 and this year it will feature a “new” category of indie, the “throwback.” And one that’s certain to excite many locals is John Biffar’s Captiva Island, which he debuted in 1995.

In case the name John Biffar is not familiar, over the course of his career as a filmmaker (he’s been a producer, director, screenwriter and cinematographer) he has directed such notable talent as Don Shula (former coach of the Miami Dolphins), Helio Castroneves (Indy Car Champion and Dancing with the Stars Mirror Ball winner), Ernest Borgine (McHales Navy), Arte Johnson (Laugh In), Norma Miller (The Queen of Swing), Bill Cobbs (Night At The Museum, Northern Exposure) Ali MacGraw (Love Story), news legend Walter Cronkite, Olympic skater Dorothy Hamill and Jacques Cousteau.

Go here to read more.



‘Me Too Nice’ satirizes rules of workplace in post #MeToo world

The Fort Myers Film Festival screens Jamie Anderson’s Me Too Nice at 1:30 on Thursday, May 13. Ask Anderson to describe her filmography, and she’ll unabashedly tell you that she makes “cinematic comedies that range from crass to satirical to romantic, but always with heart.”

Me Too Nice is a case in point.

The film follows Grant (John Asher), an excessively nice Human Resources rep who is struggling to be his true self in the maelstrom of the #MeToo movement. “With all these new rules,” he exclaims, exasperated, “I’m going to need a muzzle and a straightjacket or I’m screwed.”

Go here for the rest of this advance.



Spotlight on ‘Me Too Nice’ filmmaker Jamie Anderson

The Fort Myers Film Festival screens Jamie Anderson’s Me Too Nice at 1:30 on Thursday, May 13. Anderson is a writer, director, filmmaker and actor living in Los Angeles. Having grown up in Mississippi and Florida, her work is inspired by the paradox of the Redneck Riviera juxtaposed against her life in Hollywood. Both afford a wealth of material that guarantees she’ll never run out of something to write about. Anderson is regarded in the industry as one of the most innovative filmmakers in L.A. today. Viva Glam Magazine has identified her as “The New Female Director to Watch Out For in 2020.” The International Screenwriters Association placed her on its “Top 25 Writers to Watch” list in 2018.

The rest of Jamie’s profile is here.



‘Me Too Nice’ filmmaker Jamie Anderson did it her way

The Fort Myers Film Festival screens Jamie Anderson’s comedic satire Me Too Nice at 1:30 on Thursday, May 13. Anderson is a writer, director, filmmaker and actor living in Los Angeles. She is regarded as one of the most innovative filmmakers in L.A. today, and perhaps there is no greater testament to her creative elan and pop culture sensibilities than the work she did this past summer in penning and directing the first commercial ever released by Craig’s Vegan, a dairy-free ice cream available inside and out of Craig’s West Hollywood.

The rest of this story is here.



Spotlight on ‘Me Too Nice’ star John Asher

The Fort Myers Film Festival screens Jamie Anderson’s Me Too Nice at 1:30 on Thursday, May 13. The film follows Grant (John Asher), an excessively nice Human Resources rep who is struggling to be his true self in the maelstrom of the #MeToo movement. “With all these new rules,” he exclaims, exasperated, “I’m going to need a muzzle and a straightjacket or I’m screwed.”

Asher always wanted to be a director, but since children don’t have many directing opportunities, John became an actor early on. He’s been in numerous television series dating back to 1990, when he appeared in an episode of Beverly Hills 90210. He’s best known for Weird Science, where he appeared in 88 episodes between 1994 and 1998. But he has also been seen in Over My Dead Body (1990), Married … with Children (1991), Designing Women (1991), Who’s the Boss? (1991), Step by Step (1992), Great Scott! (1992), The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (1993), Up All Night (1994), Going to California (2001-2002), Las Vegas (2004), NCIS (2007), CSI: Crime Scene Investigations (2007), Ghost Whisperer (2010), In Plain Sight (2011), The Mentalist (2012), Rizzoli & Isles (2016), Blue Bloods (2018), Grace and Frankie (2019) and The Rookie (2019).

Go here for the rest of John’s profile.



Spotlight on ‘Me Too Nice’ receptionist Bree Turner

Bree Turner plays receptionist Jenny in Jamie Anderson’s #MeToo satire Me Too Nice, which screens in the Awesome Short 1 block on Thursday, May 13 at the Fort Myers Film Festival. In addition to Me Too Nice, Turner spent the pandemic appearing as Ashland/Zelda in four episodes of the hit television series Quarantine and in the role of Madeline Cooper in the TV movie Glass Houses. She is most often associated with the Grimm brand, having appeared as Rosalee Calvert in 100 episodes of the television series Grimm (2012-2017) as well as the TV mini-series short Grimm: Love is in the Air (2014) and Grimm: Bad Hair Day (2013).

You will find the rest of Bree’s profile here.



Spotlight on ‘Me Too Nice’ actor Aaron Takahashi

The Fort Myers Film Festival screens Jamie Anderson’s Me Too Nice at 1:30 on Thursday, May 13.

The film follows Grant (John Asher), an excessively nice Human Resources rep who is struggling to be his true self in the maelstrom of the #MeToo movement. Aaron Takahashi plays Grant’s co-worker and best friend, Lars.

Takahashi is best known for his roles as the male nurse Lee in the 2008 film Yes Man (opposite Jim Carrey), as Troy in the 2013 film Welcome to the Jungle (opposite Jean-Claude Van Damme), and one of the fake groomsmen in The Wedding Ringer starring Kevin Hart (2015).

The rest of Aaron’s profile is here.



A FMFF venue, Lab Theater will screen three films on festival’s final day

The 11th Annual Fort Myers Film Festival returns to the downtown Fort Myers River District May 12-16. While most of the films will screen in the grand atrium of the historic Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center, FMFF will show select films at a half dozen other venues including the Laboratory Theater of Florida.

Located at 1634 Woodford Ave, the Laboratory Theater of Florida offers fresh, edgy, award-winning theater, as well as theatrical opportunities and education to playwrights & actors of all ages. It will screen three films on the final day of the film festival, which is Sunday, May 16.

You will find the rest of this announcement here.



‘About Frances’ examines the act of storytelling in face of a slippery truth

Filmmaker and FMFF alum Jordan Axelrod is back. This year the Fort Myers Film Festival screens his latest short, a 20-minute character study titled About Frances that tracks two parallel storylines.

In the first, the ghostwriter of a family matriarch’s memoirs aims to protect the unexpected story she left behind. In the second plotline, a street performer on the other side of the city who is in search of an audience tinkers hopefully with a new song.

Go here for the rest of this advance.



‘The New Abolitionists’ more than a passion project for filmmaker Christina Zorich

Actor/director Christina Zorich’s sex trafficking documentary, The New Abolitionists, screens at the Fort Myers Film Festival at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 16. It’s an important film that tracks the efforts of four ministries and related NGOs (non-governmental organizations) to rescue children and teens who have been entrapped and enslaved in the sex trade in Cambodia and Thailand. With over 11 million sex slaves, Asia is considered the most trafficked region in the world.

The documentary puts boots on the ground in spite of the risk to both the filmmakers and the members of the NGOs they followed. In fact, Zorich’s mother, Olympia Dukakis, warned her at the outset of the project to protect herself.

You will find the rest of this advance here.



Spotlight on ‘The New Abolitionists’ filmmaker Christina Zorich

Actor/director Christina Zorich’s sex trafficking documentary, The New Abolitionists, screens at the Fort Myers Film Festival at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 16. It’s an important film that tracks the efforts of four ministries and related NGOs (non-governmental organizations) to rescue children and teens who have been entrapped and enslaved in the sex trade in Cambodia and Thailand.

The rest of Christina’s spotlight is here.



Numerous SWFL groups battling human trafficking

Actor/director Christina Zorich’s sex trafficking documentary, The New Abolitionists, screens at the Fort Myers Film Festival at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 16. It’s an important film that tracks the efforts of four ministries and related NGOs (non-governmental organizations) to rescue children and teens who have been entrapped and enslaved in the sex trade in Cambodia and Thailand.

But human trafficking is a global phenomenon, and trafficking of all forms, including but not limited to labor and sex, is present in great numbers here in Florida.

In fact, last year Florida ranked third nationally when it comes to human trafficking cases.

Go here for the balance of this expose.



‘The Wild Divide’ underscores need for large-scale habitat connectivity

Each year, the Florida Film Festival features documentaries that explore environmental themes and educate its audiences on a range of ecological issues. The Wild Divide is one such film. It is characterized by breathtaking macro and micro cinematography, exceptional production value and considered and thought-provoking content.

The Lake Wales Ridge is an ancient ribbon of sand dunes that is a hotspot for biodiversity found nowhere else in the world. It is also a place steeped in a long tradition of ranching and agriculture. Both are threatened by the rapid pace of development in Florida’s interior, which is facilitated by U.S. 27, a highway that bisects and is pushing the Florida Wildlife Corridor to the breaking point.

You will find the rest of this preview here.



Spotlight on ‘The Wild Divide’ filmmakers Eric Bendick and Danny Schmidt

The Fort Myers Film Festival will screen The Wild Divide in the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center during Local Block 2 beginning at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 15. Directed by Eric Bendick and Danny Schmidt, The Wild Divide is denoted by exceptional production value (including breathtaking macro and micro cinematography and crystal clear studio-quality sound) and considered, thought-provoking content that makes a strong argument for preserving and protecting the Florida Wildlife Corridor.

Eric Bendick is an Emmy-winning writer, director and series producer. He has led filming expeditions in the Florida Everglades, the Grand Canyon, the Great Bear Rainforest, the Alaska Range, and to the most remote spot in Yellowstone National Park.

The rest of this spotlight is here.


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