Opening Night Surprise – Day1 FFF 2012


Both Theatres Were PACKED For The Opening Night Film

I couldn’t make this stuff up. Really I couldn’t. And I don’t know how it always seems to happen to me…

Today is the opening film of the 2012 FFF.  It is so popular they are showing the movie on two screens at the Regal Theatre in Winter Park. Both theatres are packed. As members of the press, I’m worried there won’t be enough room for SunnyStefani, NumberOneEmber and myself in the theatre. It’s already 20 minutes past the film’s scheduled start time.

We finally get into the theatre and manage to nab the last three seats all the way down in the front row. We’re just in time as the President of the FFF, Henry Maldonado, is beginning his introductions.

I glance over at NumberOneEmber. She’s playing a video game on her phone! I glare at her.

“You’re here to work for the LanceAroundOrlando Blog,” I remind her. (Using a voice an editor can only use if he is also the blogger’s father!) “Put away your phone and find someone to interview.  Get a good angle on the story. Make it personal. Make it real,” I continue, “The theatre is filled with people who have worked on this movie. Why don’t you try talking to the people sitting behind you. They might have been involved in making this film.”

NumberOneEmber rolls her eyes (as only a blogger can do if she is also the daughter of the editor!) and puts away her phone. She does not speak to the person behind her. I shrug my shoulders and turn back to Henry’s introductions.

Henry's Introductions

By this time Henry Maldonado is, as he likes to say, “going on and on” with his introductions at the front of the theatre. He is introducing the opening night film. It’s entitled, Renee and is the true story of Renee Yohe who has struggled with addiction and self mutilation.

The film is a powerful story, masterfully directed and acted. It was filmed entirely in Central Florida where all of the action actually took place. The cast and crew include many locals, often associated with nearby Full Sail University, The Dave School, the University of Central Florida and/or Valencia College. Although there are times when it drags, it is an impressive work, if also very depressing.

But for the moment, Henry continues his introductions. He is now pointing out people from the production who are in the audience. He acknowledges the director, producers, writer and several others. Finally he concludes by saying, “Oh, and Renee herself is here in the audience as well. Where are you Renee?”

Renee Was Sitting Right Behind Them

Suddenly, a meek little voice comes from the seat directly behind NumberOneEmber and SunnyStefani, “I’m right here,” says Renee.

SunnyStefani and NumberOneEmber shoot me a “how did you know that” glance. I just shrug my shoulders.

Honestly, I couldn’t make this stuff up.

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