Opening Night Overview Florida Film Festival (FFF) 2013

LanceAround Interviews FFF Programming Director Matthew Curtis

LanceAround Interviews FFF Programming Director Matthew Curtis

We’re here at the Enzian Theatre’s opening night party for the Florida Film Festival and I’m interviewing the Program Director, Matthew Curtis.

LA: Matthew, did you read the blog post I wrote about you last year?

MC: Sorry, I don’t remember…

LA: That’s okay, I’ll summarize it for you…Last year I asked you for your top ten films of the festival, and you went on to pretty much list every film that was showing. I realized it was an unfair question to ask you, because you love every movie at the festival…

MC: That’s not true. That is actually not true. I actually LIKE every movie here, I don’t LOVE every movie here. There’s certain films I’m more passionate about than others. That’s why we have committees and that’s how we pick 170 films out of 1500 submissions.

LA: My readers aren’t going to be able to watch 170 films so if I say, “these are the five films that the programming director says ‘don’t miss’, what are they?”

MC: There’s a couple of really extraordinary dramas in the narrative feature competition

LA: And they are…

The Forgotten Kingdom

The Forgotten Kingdom

MC: The Forgotten Kingdom which was shot in Johannesburg and has a touch of magical realism to it. That’s a world premier. There’s a small Texas rural drama, This is Where we Live about the relationship between a troubled family and a handyman and the lead actor is Marc Menchaca whose been on the TV series Homeland. He wrote it and co directed it and stars in it…really powerful.

In the doc competiton category theres a world premier film called Magical Universe about a New York filmmaker who discovers an outsider artist living in Maine who’s got, literally, rooms and rooms of tableaus with Barbie Dolls. It’s just insane. His story is really interesting. There’s a doc by a Miami filmmaker called Far Out Isn’t Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer story one of the greatest children’s artist of all time who was blackballed from the children’s industry because he got into erotica. I actually had this guy’s protest poster–his Village Voice poster–in my room when I was growing up in junior high school. I didn’t know who the artist was. Shepard & Dark–a great documentary about two friend Sam Shepard and Johnny Dark and their five decades of friendship so they make a coffee table book of their letters. It’s incredibly well done.

Shepard & Dark

Shepard & Dark

LA: My first professional acting gig was in a Sam Shepard play, True West.

MC: There you go.

We have a lot of very dark, twisted films this year. Sick comedies like Sightseers about a couple on vacation that are serial killers. And the shorts programs get progressively darker by the number 1-2-3-4. The shorts programs have great people.

LA: How bad are the midnight shorts this year?

MC: A couple of them the people are going to be screaming…maybe running for the exits. It’s a pretty wonderful collection. It’s really funny and it’s really sick. The midnight movies this year are amazing…

LA: Well, he did it again. I asked Matthew for his top five and we got about 20…and he still isn’t finished with his list!

MC: Sorry…I couldn’t do it…

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