Florida Film Festival (FFF) Preview 2016

Matthew Curtis and Mrs. LanceAround

Matthew Curtis and Mrs. LanceAround

Florida Film Festival
8-17 April 2016
Enzian Theatre and Regal Cinemas Winter Park Village 20

We’re here once again with Matthew Curtis, Programming Director for the 2016 Florida Film Festival.

LA: Matthew, something happened this week that I’ve never seen before. I was in a local multiplex theatre and saw a trailer for the upcoming film, The Lobster. This was the opening film of the FFF on Friday night. I don’t recall ever seeing a FFF movie previewing in local theatres at the same time it was showing during the FFF.

MC: We’ve done that before. It’s just a matter of timing. The Lobster is coming out in May in major markets and then it’ll expand in late May/June. I had heard that AMC and Regal were starting to show the trailer. Although I do think the FFF audience will be the largest single audience that the film gets in Central Florida. It will be larger than any regular audience that film gets in its commercial run.

LA: Why is that? What is it about the FFF that seems to attract such a unique audience that you wouldn’t find at the regular cinemas?

MC: I think it’s an audience that is attracted to movies but they’re more attracted to originality. People may have even come to that movie because it’s the new film by Yorgos Lanthimos who was nominated for Dogtooth years ago and is this unbelievable director making his first English language film. Not everybody loved the movie either. But I thought it was a very good opening night film and very provocative. Tongues were wagging! People were talking about it. It’s not for everyone. It’s darkly funny. It’s bleak and grim. It’s ideas on love and companionship are brutal. But I thought it was a worthy opening night film.

LA: As we wrote our review of the movie, we had a hard time finding a way to describe it. In the end, we settled on, “surrealistic.”

MC: Yea, certainly, although the vision of the future that it’s proposing, I suppose some would find that surreal or absurd or just…

Mrs. LA: (Interrupting) Dystopian-Holy Smokes!

MC: That’s right, it’s a dystopian situation.

LA: Until you said that now, it never occurred to me that this was a futuristic world.

MC: Well, it didn’t have spaceships and floating cars. There’s nothing “futuristic” about it except that it’s an alternate reality of, possibly, the future of mankind and how things are going to go.

LA: What is it that the Programming Director does for the FFF?

MC: The Programming Director sits on as many selection committees as possible and oversees all the decision making as far as what gets into the final lineup; what direction the program is going to take and ensures that what we’re offering is as diverse as possible.

LA: So, you oversee the selection process, you oversee the scheduling process, you oversee all the cogs in motion…and then when the festival starts your job is pretty much over?

MC: (Laughing) No…I wish! No, once the festival starts my job is to make sure that every single screening is done with the utmost efficiency and professionalism and every film with a filmmaker is given special love and the utmost care and the filmmaker is happy with the way we present their movie.

LA: During the 10 days of the FFF do you get ANY time off?

MC: No! No!

LA: Not even a two hour break?

MC: No! During the festival I get here about 10 0’clock in the morning and I go home about 2 or 3 in the morning.

LA: All day long you’re doing things and no matter how tired you are or how long your day’s been, there’s always one more blogger wanting to interview you late at night (we’re having this interview after a late night movie).

MC: (Laughing) That’s not true, but I flow with it. I have a Program Coordinator, this year it’s Tim Anderson, and we make sure that one of us is always at Regal and one of us is at Enzian. We’re here to handle any situation.

LA: If you did get a break, if you had a two hour break at some point…

MC: (Interrupting) I’d take a nap!

LA: If you had a two hour break during the 10 days and you said to yourself, “Ok, I have a break now. I can see a film.” Which movie would you see?

MC: Well, I’ve seen all the films. (Starts to laugh as he understands what I’m trying to do…)

LA: Oh, Darn! I worked for 10 minutes to try and trick him into acknowledging what his favorite film is and, once again this year, Matthew Curtis refused to divulge his favorite FFF movie.

Mrs. LA: (To LanceAround) You could just ask him directly!

LA: I’ve tried that for the last three years! He refuses to acknowledge a favorite.

Mrs LA: (To Matthew) You don’t have a favorite that tugs at your heart?

MC: There’s a lot of films that tug at my heart–It would be hard to just pick out one movie. I love our Shorts Programs. I think our Docs are amazing. The Spotlight Docs. The Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You doc is phenomenal. Tickled…Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made…There’s a lot of great non-fiction stuff. And this is probably our strongest ever Narrative Competition. We have more comedy than we’ve had in previous years. We have more countries represented; more diversity, more women directors.

LA: Which films are really funny?

MC: Well..it depends on how you take funny…I think Donald Cried is hilarious. Some of the funniest films in the festival are My Big Night, a Spanish film by Alex De La Iglesia. I think the Taika Waititi film, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, is hilarious. Morris From America, the new Chad Hartigan film with Craig Robinson–these are all not just straight ahead comedies. They’re all coming of age comedic dramas. They all have something else on their mind–an indictment of foster care–different things. But they all have an awful lot of humor. Lolo, the Julie Delpy film, is about a middle age woman trying to find love and her teenage son who lives with her, you know, has a major Oedipal complex, is trying to do everything he can to undermine her romantic entanglements. (Matthew chuckles as he reminisces about this film.) Lola has the best dialogue in the festival. Her conversations with her best friend are brilliant. She’s amazing.

LA: What is it about this year’s festival that you would like our readers to know?

MC: So far it’s shaping up to be pretty awesome. I’m very proud of the programming. As I mentioned before, this is our most diverse festival ever. We certainly have the most amount of films…the most amount of countries we’ve ever had represented. And we have countries that rarely ever get on screen here like Kyrgyzstan and Cyprus and Ethiopia. The family film Lamb is really beautiful. As always, we try to offer something for everybody and I think we definitely live up to that this year.

LA: To finish, give us a quick update on Enzian Forever, the effort to expand the Eznian to three screens.

MC: It’s about three quarters of the way as far as the fundraising goes. There’s a lot of complications with the city of Maitland–things that have to be cleared…decisions made…but we’re looking to break ground sometime in the fall.

LA: That is outstanding! There you have it fans of LanceAroundOrlando. Matthew Curtis, the inside scoop on what’s happening at The Enzian and, most importantly, the 2016 Florida Film Festival. Be sure to come down and see some of the fabulous movies that are appearing for the next eight days at the festival.





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