Opening Night of the 2014 Florida Film Festival

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As Usual, the Theatre was Packed on Opening Night

As Usual, the Theatre was Packed on Opening Night

There’s always an excited buzz just before the opening film of the Florida Film Festival.

This year was no exception as patrons began to queue in line more than hour prior to the opening of The Trip to Italy. Tonight LanceAround was joined by Mrs. LanceAround, Grammy LanceAround and NumberTwoSon as we lined up for the opening night movie. We took a moment to interview some of the film aficionados who were waiting to get into the theatre.

A woman in a striped dress was thumbing through a catalog as she awaited the opening of the theatre doors. LanceAround approaches her for an interview:

LanceAround: We have with us now the person who is the absolute first person in line to attend the opening movie of this year’s festival. And you are…

Patron 1: My name is Michelle.

LA: Michelle, what brings you to the FFF this year?

P1: Last year I came for the first time and really enjoyed it. And I have returned!

LA: What is it about this particular movie that led you to get here so early that you wound up being first in line?

P1: Well, last year I wasn’t first, or close to being first, and I like to sit in the back of the theatre. So I like to have that option open.

LA: Readers, you heard that! If you want to get the exact seat you want then you definitely want to get here early…or…even better…buy a platinum pass which lets you get into the films first. Thanks very much, Michelle.

P1: Thank you.

US Congressman Mica and Mayor Jacobs

US Congressman Mica and Mayor Jacobs

LA: Moving down the queue, here we are with the second, third and fourth people in line, and you are…

Patrons2: Amy…Pam…and Lori.

LA: Tell us what brings you to the FFF this year.

P2: Umm…A movie!

LA: You absolutely wanted to see this specific movie? And what is it about this specific movie?

P2: It was recommended to me as being a comedy, a very good comedy, so I had to go see it.

LA: So who was the person who recommended it to you?

P2: A member of the Enzian.

LA: A member of the Enzian recommended it, so are you associated with the Enzian in any way?

P2: I’ve been a member of it…in the past…I’m not this year.

LA: As you’ve all heard, Pam is the deadbeat who has not renewed her membership into the Enzian [At this point, the two friends accompanying Pam begin to laugh and Pam joins in] and right now she’s looking rather sheepish about it. So, Pam, what would you say to other people …

P2: You have to persuade me, through this FFF, to renew my membership.

LA: Let me ask you this, if you don’t enjoy the film tonight, who is it that’s in trouble?

P2: …uh…The friend who recommended it.

LA: OK, she refuses to disclose who her Enzian friend is. We just have to hope she enjoys the film. Further down the line, we see a man in a blue shirt animatedly gesturing and speaking with a small group of patrons.

Patrons3: Are we on television?

LA: No, it’s a blog. We’re here with a group of people here for the opening night film. A gentleman here in a bright blue shirt animatedly talking to the other three…Sir, the FFF, how many times have you been here?

P3: Ummm…[At this point, the man stamps his foot, much like a horse’s hoof, as he counts in his head] Five.

LA: And what my readers might have missed is that he stamped his, uh, hoof, like a horse counting out how many…

Mrs. LanceAround: He must be Sagittarius…or in a past life, he might have been a horse?

P3: I just had to remember!

LA: What is it that brings you back to the FFF?

P3: My wife brings me back to the FFF.

LA: OK, [referring to the woman standing beside him] Is this your wife?

P3: That’s her!

LA: I just thought I’d doublecheck to make sure it’s not a matter of the wife saying, “You go to FFF, I’m going back home!”

P3Wife: Oh, no, no, no.

LA: So you’re the big film festival person?

P3Wife: Well I was a drama major in college.

LA: You were? So was I! What college was that?

P3Wife: Regis College, which is now Regis University in Denver.

LA: And what is it about the FFF that you enjoy so much that you drag your horse back here every five years?

P3Wife: OK…Let’s see…I just like to see…I will see anything that’s good…except horror films…I don’t like those.

LA: So you’re not going to the Midnight Shorts.

P3Wife: Probably not.

LA: Because Matthew Curtis [Programming Director for the FFF] said that it’s going to have people running for the hills this year.

P3Wife: Yea, we won’t be going to that.

P3Husband: We did get used to film festivals. We came to Florida. We imported ourselves from Palm Springs in California where the International Film Festival has been going for about 10 years. We got in the habit…

P3Wife: We’d go to that…

P3Husband: So when we saw the FFF  we said, “Great!” And we get to see new films or obscure films that you don’t get to see very often. We love the animated shorts. So we really enjoy it. It’s just something you can’t see somewhere else.

LA: And how shall I identify you in my blog?

P3Wife: Aryna and Neil, I guess.

LA: Aryna and her horse…Aryna and Nnn..ee..ii…lll [LanceAround makes a loud whining sound, like a horse braying.]

P3: [Laughing] Oh my God, I didn’t think about it like that!

P3Wife: Also, I’ve been a volunteer here for a few years. I haven’t done it lately, I’ve been very busy.

P3Husband: Is he always this Bbbb…aaaa..ddd? [He also makes a loud whining noise, like a horse braying.]

Mrs. LanceAround: He’s a bit of a drama queen.

LA: [To the braying horse] You say that like you don’t read my blog every week!

P3Wife: What is your blog?

P3Husband: LanceAroundOrlando! We read it every week, but we both have Alzheimer’s.

LA: The beautiful thing about that is every day you can go back and re-read my entire blog and enjoy it as if it were the first time! And it’s all fresh! [They all laugh.]

[LanceAround moves towards the end of the queue]

LA: Here we are towards the back of the line for the opening night film at the FFF interviewing patrons for the LanceAroundOrlando blog…

Patrons4: This is our spokesmodel, Ken Carpenter.

LA: This is who?

P4: Our spokesmodel, Ken Carpenter.

LA: Ken, what happened here tonight that you wound up being so late that you end up all the way towards the back of the line.

P4: We actually thought we were getting here early enough. We planned it to be here at six thirty and that’s the wrong plan.

LA: What would have been the right plan?

P4Wife: Not to eat so much! [All four of them start laughing]

LA: Are you speaking to Ken personally or are you speaking for all four of you at once.

P4: No, it was the eating and the drinking over across the street at Mitchell’s Fish Market.

LA: As the result of that, you’re going to wind up with the second worst seats in the entire theatre? Because, of course, the worst seats are going to be for the press who get to go into the theatre last.

P4: You know, when we go to the hockey game they have this thing, “improve your seats,” where they surprise people and they come over and talk to them and say, “We’re going to move you down to the lower bowl.” Is that what you guys are going to do?

LA: Yes, we are. We’re going to surprise you right now. Here’s how it works. When you walk in you go to the seats that you wanted to sit in and whoever is sitting there you tell them that Henry Maldonado, president of the FFF, told them that they have to move and those are going to be your seats.

P4: Tell them LanceAround said that?

LA: No, no, no, no, no…LanceAround didn’t say that, Henry Maldonado said that. And I will be getting all of it on film! What do you want to tell our readers about the FFF, Mr. Spokesperson?

P4: I think they should try to get to as many films as they possibly can. I’ve been doing it for years. These are first timers at the film festival [He gestures to two of the patrons standing with him] Second timers [gestures to another person.]

Mrs. LanceAround: Oh, that’s great!

P4: So your readers should get to as many of the 170 films as they can.

LA: 173!

P4: Oh, they added some. That’s right. They added Susan Sarandon and her film and Paul Sorvino and his film.

P4Wife: He’s a professor at Valencia!

LA: There’s only one person who’s seen all 173 films. Which you know because I’m sure you’ve read my blog post from Monday about it. It talked about Matthew Curtis, programming director at the FFF.

P4: He sees them all?

LA: Yes he does! So you want to get to every film?

P4: I can’t. I can’t go to every one. But I’m going to go to as many of them as I possibly can.

LA:  And you want to get there as early as possible.

P4: Now I know I need to get there earlier. I am going solo to most of the rest of them. So I’ll have more maneuverability that I don’t have tonight.

LA: [Loudly whispering conspiratorially] Note from editor, he says he’s going solo. [Speaking to Patron] Can you explain that please?

P4Friend: [Gesturing to the woman beside them] That’s the wife.

LA: That’s the wife?

P4Friend: Yes, that’s the wife right there, I’m just the girlfriend.

LA: [Gesturing to the two woman] You’re the wife and you’re the girlfriend. [Gesturing to the other man who is with them.] And that makes you the…

P4Wife: The Butler!

P4Friend: OK, we’re not going to print that!

LA: We most certainly are! And how shall we identify you in the blog?

P4Wife: The Husband, the wife, the girlfriend, the boyfriend…

P4Husband: The Butler!

LA: The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover…

P4Husband: I saw that film, that was a good film!

P4Girlfriend: Ken Carpenter, professor of journalism at Valencia Community College.

LA: Ken Carpenter, professor of journalism, and his entourage and harem. Thank you very much!

P4Husban: Alright, you got it!

FFF President Henry Maldonado and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs Introduce the Film

FFF President Henry Maldonado and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs Introduce the Film

At this point, the line begins to move as patrons fill up the theatre. As usual, once the theatre is full–and we don’t see an empty seat in the house–Henry Maldonado addresses the crowd. He introduces some of the dignitaries that are in attendance this year, including Congressman John Mica and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs. He also wishes Matthew Curtis, programming director at the FFF, a happy birthday and everyone sings to him. Then the lights dim and the opening films begin…

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