ORLANDO, FL (FNN News) – Independent film is not as glamorous as Hollywood; its plethora of challenges range from lacking capital to the point of a filmmaker spending his last dime to the dread of a lackluster screening thanks to low audience attendance, resulting from scanty marketing. Indie filmmakers relentlessly labor and use whatever resources they can get in order to realize their vision. There is nothing more gratifying than screening and winning at a film festival, and what better way to do it than winning on Orlando Film Festival’s tenth anniversary? OFFX, as it was called this year, screened over three hundred independent features, shorts, and music videos, and awarded its winners in the Plaza Cinema Café courtyard in Downtown Orlando at 8 p.m. Saturday.
The Juicy Details
Here is the list of OFFX’s award categories, nominees, and winners. Some films were unique and forged their own categories, garnering a win by default. The Ralph Clemente Student Short Award was added this year in honor of prolific executive producer and Valencia Film program director Ralph Clemente, who passed away earlier this year. During OFFX’s kickoff on Wednesday, the festival honored Clemente posthumously with a new star on the Plaza Cinema Cafe’s mezzanine, donated by Glory Sandblasting.
Best Music Video
Chops, Tiger JK, Yoon Mi Rae: Turn It Up—Winner
Take Me With You/Emptiness – Matt Pond Pa
Winged Painter (Rainn – Benefit) Ft. Tori Amos
Best Web Series
America In The Shadows
Focus On Art Award
Winged Painter (Rainn Benefit) Ft. Tori Amos
Sideshow Of The Absurd
Ralph R. Clemente Student Short Award
The Discovery Of Allan Hindley—Winner
Greetings From Florida
My Spicy Grandma
Lies Beneath The Nightshade
Best Foreign Language Short Film
Song Of Seashore
My Father’s Eyes
Best Documentary Short Film
Ron Taylor Dr. Baseball—Winner
Son Of Mapes
Winds Of Change
The White House Overture
Best Animated Short Film
Ideas That Are Grand A Broken One
The Bunny Hole
Best Short Film
Jack Is Pretty—Winner
The Melancholy Doorman
Jerry Cavallaro Independent Spirit Award
Best Documentary Feature
The Record Man—Winner
Sweet Blues: A Film About Mike Bloomfield
Look At Us Now Mother
Welcome To Angkar
Social Awareness Award
The Conspiracy Project
Welcome To Angkar
Portraits Of Professional Caregivers
Best Foreign Language Feature
Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things—Winner
White House Overture
The Back Story-Changing The Lives Of Kids With Scoliosis
A Teen’s Guide To Autism
All In Time
Best Ensemble Cast
Actor For Hire—Winner
Route 30 Three!
Best Supporting Performance
Sean Bridgers – Blue—Winner
Willie Repoley – Quiet River
Steve Wilcox – Night Eyes
Michele Martin – Blue
Chicken – Inside Scarlett
Richard Hench – The Runaway—Winner
Drew Connick – Blue
Dan Zukovich – Scammerhead
Rebecca Morris – Quiet River
Adriana Mather – Honey Glue
James Bird – Honey Glue—Winner
Charles Huddleston – Blue
Jay Silverman – Girl On The Edge
Shane T. Hall – Concealed
Girl On The Edge
Many of the night’s winners were not present to receive their awards, but the ones who were received their plaques in awe, excitement, and humility, dedicating their awards to the other filmmakers in the audience and the film industry itself, and thanking the Orlando Film Festival team.
The Future of Florida’s Indie Film Scene
Visionary filmmakers continually emerge with high quality productions each year, and the Orlando Film Festival recognizes that, having screened movies from as far away as India and Pakistan this year. “We have no cap on how many movies we screen,” Chairman and Executive Director Dan Springen told FNN News. “We select movies based on whether they have high cinematic value, so if we get three hundred-plus submissions with high cinematic value, we’re screening three hundred movies. If only a hundred [have high cinematic value], then we’ll only screen a hundred.”
Springen also explained that this tenth anniversary marks the festival’s largest turnout. The general manager for Plaza Cinema Café 12 called and congratulated him on a record-breaking year for festival attendance. Springen also shared plans to expand the festival to include art and live music performances. “I want [Orlando Film Festival] to be a festival not unlike South By Southwest.” In the very near future—next year, in fact—Springen will make OFF even more exciting for filmmakers by introducing a screenplay contest.
Despite its challenges, independent film is a mainstay, and if this year’s OFF is any indication, film lovers and filmmakers worldwide have a lot to look forward to in the future.
Mellissa Thomas is a Jamaica-born writer. She’s a decorated U.S. Navy veteran with Entertainment Business Masters and Film Bachelors degrees from Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL.
She is also an author success coach, helping advisors, coaches, consultants, entrepreneurs, experts, and speakers double their income and clinch the credibility they deserve by walking them step by step through the process of developing, completing, marketing, and publishing their first book via her Inevitable AUTHORity™ Author Mentoring Program.
She has published seven books, all available on Amazon.com. Her newly released book, From a Babe 2.0, is now available on the Kindle.
Mister Rogers’ Week of Kindness Coming March 2023
WINTER PARK, Fla. (Florida National News) – Mister Rogers’ Week of Kindness, inspired by the children’s TV host and icon, comes to Orlando in March 2023. This week-long series of events was announced today at the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation in Winter Park.
“Fred McFeely Rogers devoted his entire life to reminding us of some of the most important ideas of what it means to be human among humans: love, respect and kindness,” explained Buena Vista Events & Management President & CEO Rich Bradley. “Many of us find that nearly 20 years after Fred’s passing, it is important to focus on his teachings once again, perhaps now more than ever. This is a week to re-engage with his massive body of work with some folks, and to introduce his teachings to others.”
Mister Rogers’ Week of Kindness begins March 20, 2023, the date which would have been Fred’s 95th birthday, and concludes on Saturday, March 26 with the Red Sweater Soiree, a community dinner to recognize ten ordinary members of the community who inspire and exemplify the affinity that Fred Rogers had for showing kindness to our “Neighbors”.
Activities planned for the week will include early childhood education activities and faculty training, as well as events open to the public.
“The events will be offered free or at low cost,” continued Bradley. “This week-long celebration is not a series of fundraisers, but rather about once again remembering and sharing some of the great work that Fred Rogers created, not only in early childhood education, but in reminding us that we are all part of one big ‘neighborhood’. Fred taught us the importance of accepting our Neighbors just the way they are and engaging in kindness with our interactions. I can’t think of another period in my lifetime where we needed to reflect on those messages again more than today.”
“There are three ways to ultimate success,” Fred Rogers was once quoted as saying. “The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind. Imagine what our neighborhoods would be like if each of us offered, as a matter of course, just one kind word to another person.”
Many of the activities of Mister Rogers’ Week of Kindness will be attended by members of the cast and crew of Mister Rogers Neighborhood, which ran from 1968 – 1975, and again from 1979 – 2001. David Newell, known as “Mr. McFeely,” the “Speedy Delivery” man, appeared at today’s media conference via video, and looks forward to visiting Central Florida next March.
Mister Rogers’ Week of Kindness is supported by the McFeely-Rogers Foundation, the Fred Rogers Institute, and Fred Rogers Productions. Details regarding the specific activities and venues will be released over the next few weeks.
For more information on the events, visit https://www.BuenaVistaEvents.com or https://www.MisterRogersWeekofKindness.com.
A Quick Primer on the Team Solving Orange County’s Affordable Housing Crisis
ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) – Orange County faces a growing affordable housing crisis, and Mayor Jerry Demings has taken notice–and action. Shortly after his inauguration, he formed Housing For All, an affordable housing task force to face the challenge head-on.
The Housing For All task force doesn’t meet monthly like the County Commission–in fact, their next meeting won’t be until October 4, 2019–but they do work when they’re not meeting. The task force is made up of three subcommittees, Design and Infrastructure Subcommittee, Accessibility and Opportunity Subcommittee and Innovation and Sustainability Subcommittee. These three subcommittees meet twice a month to come up with ideas and plans to fix the affordable housing problem.
Each subcommittee has a specific focus on ways to help solve the problem of affordable housing. The Design and Infrastructure Subcommittee is focused on the design of new affordable housing projects, the renovation of current affordable housing that might need fixing and land development for affordable housing units. The Accessibility and Opportunity Subcommittee is focused on making sure affordable housing is accessible to the major economic zones of the city, develop partnerships with groups and focus on outreach in the county. The Innovation and Sustainability Subcommittee is focused on finding ways to increase the supply of affordable housing and how to preserve affordable housing.
At their next meeting in October these subcommittees will update the county on what they have accomplished and what they plan to do in the future. For information from previous Housing for All Task Force meetings or the meeting schedule, visit the Orange County Government website.
Leyton Blackwell is a photojournalist and Florida National News contributor. | firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening Biopic ‘Te Ata’ Sets High Bar for 2016 Orlando Film Festival
ORLANDO (FNN NEWS) – Orlando Film Festival kicked off at Cobb Theaters in Downtown Orlando Wednesday night. The red carpet came alive with excited filmmakers and actors ready to showcase their projects to the Orlando community and, in some cases, to the world at large, including Nathan Frankowski, director of this year’s opening feature Te Ata.
About Te Ata
Frankowski’s biopic feature chronicles the true story of Chickasaw actress and storyteller Mary Frances Thompson, whose love of stories and the Chickasaw Nation fueled her to share the Chickasaw culture with new audiences in the early 1900s, a time when the United States was still growing as a nation and clashed with Native American peoples in the process.
Viewers are immediately swept into the saga from the film’s opening scene with a voice-over folk tale told by Mary Thompson’s father, T.B. Thompson (played by Gil Birmingham). Ironically, though his storytelling places the seed of inspiration in her, it slowly becomes a source of friction between them as she ages.
What makes the film engrossing is the sprawling backdrop upon which Thompson’s journey takes place. While young Te Ata (which means “The Morning”) flourishes with each solo performance and eventually sets her sights on Broadway, the Chickasaw Nation is fighting to secure the funding due them from the U.S. government in the face of ethnocentrism and religious bigotry–to the point that the government passed a law forbidding the sale of traditional Native American textiles and creations, which caused further financial struggle for the Chickasaw Nation. Viewers even experience the Thompsons’ fish-out-of-water feeling as the Chickasaw people’s territory, Tishomingo, shrinks significantly to become part of the newborn state of Oklahoma.
The political tensions are counterbalanced with Te Ata’s experience. Te Ata does her first performances among family, but chooses to leave home for the first time in her life to attend the Oklahoma College for Women (known today as University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma), despite her father’s wishes for her to find a job at home. Viewers immediately empathize with Te Ata’s awkward experience upon her arrival at the predominantly Caucasian-attended College, but cheer her on when that one connection is made, because all it ever takes is one.
Te Ata’s jumping off point occurs when she meets drama teacher Frances Dinsmore Davis, who encourages her to join her class and to share the Chickasaw stories for her senior presentation instead of the usual Shakespeare recitation. From there, Te Ata’s career blossoms from one serendipitous connection to another, taking her performances across the country. She eventually makes it to New York City, hustling to find her place on Broadway, and finds love in the process while performing privately for Eleanor Roosevelt, whose husband was then Governor of New York. The heroine’s journey continues with well-placed highs and lows, keeping the viewer visually and emotionally engaged.
Te Ata is touchingly channeled through lead actress Q’orianka Kilcher who, like Te Ata, has stage experience, and brought it to bear in the role. Kilcher’s magnetic singing, with the help of the film’s sweeping score and indigenous songs, imprints the true Te Ata’s passion for her people onto the viewer’s heart.
Frankowski, who worked closely with the Chickasaw Nation in creating the film, honors Te Ata’s memory and legacy in a cohesive, sweeping tale that will edify audiences everywhere.
Florida National News Editor Mellissa Thomas is an author and journalist, as well as a decorated U.S. Navy veteran with degrees in Entertainment Business and Film. She also helps business owners, CEOs, executives, and speakers double their income and clinch the credibility they deserve by walking them step by step through the process of developing, completing, marketing, and publishing their first book.
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