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ThatGuyRoberto and NumberOneEmber Vs.Monty Python – Day 6 FFF 2012

April 21, 2012

[Editor’s Note: Tonight the Enzian theatre has a free showing of Monty Python and the Holy Grail on an outdoor screen at the grass amphitheatre right beside the Eden Bar. NumberOneEmber invites ThatGuyRoberto and NumberOneSon to watch the movie with her. Here’s her report. –LanceAround]

My first impression of the outdoor theatre set-up was that we wouldn’t be able to find a place to sit. The area in front of giant, fabric screen was overflowing with people on blankets and in chairs. Every adult seemed to have a drink in hand, kids sat at a table together talking excitedly, and several dogs ran around on the grass.

NumberOneSon, ThatGuyRoberto and I squeeze in-between two blankets and lay down, waiting for the sun to set and the movie to start. 30 minutes after the reported start time, an Enzian staff member comes and introduces the movie. After a rough start, the movie finally flips onto the giant screen. I settle into my blanket and watch one of the best comedies I know. I’ve seen the film before so I was murmuring the lines to myself when I knew them. However, it was great to see ThatGuyRoberto’s fresh reactions to the comedy. All in all, it was a rather nice night out.

The day was hot and there were a bunch of drunk people around me, but Monty Python and the Holy Grail was a good movie regardless. It had a lot of old school humour; such as a man fighting with all his limbs cut off and a bunch of rude-French people.

However, even though the movie was good, I didn’t like that I got turned down for trying to buy popcorn and a drink. So, I had to sit through the movie hungry, thirsty, and sitting in the heat. I don’t advise watching this movie in Florida at night, surrounded by a bunch of sweaty people. I’d much rather watch it in the comforts of my own home surrounded by family and loved ones.

Three For The Family – Day 3 FFF 2012

April 16, 2012

Beware the Big Bad Mouse! A Film for Children of All Ages

My lucky number is 3.

And, today, I went to see 3 movies. Coincidence? I think not!

The Gruffalo’s Child, was the most adorable short film I’ve ever seen! It made me smile most of the time, and cry the other few times; just as all good stories should. The voiceover in the movie was effective and beautifully put together. I absolutely loved it! It seems they did the right thing when turning this children’s book into an animated film. It only makes me wonder where these animators were when things went wildly wrong with certain things regarding a certain children’s book I cared about that was turned into a certain movie a few years back which was absolutely horrible.

A Film For Older Children and Up

The film that followed was The Cat in Paris. This animated film was certainly meant to be a movie for young children. Yet, I loved this one too! However, there are some violent scenes with thieves kidnapping a child and threatening her as well as some strong language. Even still, I think that any child over ten would really enjoy the interesting hand-drawn animation and action.

A Film For Teens

The final movie of the day was Magic Valley. This is definitely not a movie for the kiddies. However, it’s perfect for an angsty teen like me. While, I have no idea what the director had against fish, this was incredibly well put together for a first film. (There were a LOT of dead fish in this movie–including fish being chopped up by lawn mowers and fish being blown up by firecrackers!) I loved how the movie left you guessing. This who-dunnit film was something that I enjoyed and I’d recommend it if you’re into murder mysteries.

When the movies were over, LanceAround and I had a great opportunity to speak with an intern who had helped work on Magic Valley. He told us stories about how it was around 16 degrees during the filming of one of the scenes! I feel awful for the child actors who had to go into the freezing river water during the filming!

This intern was lucky to work on such a great film. It was wonderful to get behind the scenes detail on what happened during production. It reminds me why I love to go to the FFF. You get the opportunity to meet the people who create such art.

All in all, this was probably one of the best days I’ve had at the festival so far. I hope to enjoy more days like this. Still, it was my lucky day 3. So, who knows?

Monsieur Lazhar – Day 2 FFF 2012

April 15, 2012

From NumberOneEmber
Everyone seems to love Monsieur Lazhar. Well, I must have missed a major component of it. While the story was touching, there didn’t seem to be any other point, besides having to say “goodbye” even when you never want to go–or let go. It’s possible that this is just what everyone else loved about the film, but I, being a person who’s had to say goodbye far too many times, didn’t react nearly as emotionally as many other audience members. After a second viewing, I’m sure I can more accurately explain my reaction, or non-reaction, to this Oscar-nominated foreign film.

From ThatGuyRoberto
Monsieur Lazhar made me feel like I’ve been stabbed in the heart. The heaviness, overall, made me feel empty. Yet at the same time, it made me realize that every moment of every day with everyone is priceless. I can’t say any specific part made me feel this way, just the movie overall. It was powerful–extremely powerful. I would recommend it to anyone and everyone I know simply for the message of it.

Kumare – Day 2 FFF 2012

April 15, 2012

These People (with NumberOneEmber and ThatGuyRoberto) Willingly Follow a False Prophet. Why Would They Do That?

Upon entering the Film Festival, I notice three oddly dressed people. Two guys and one girl were all dressed as, what I assumed to be, hippies. They all had beards–even the girl! I approached them and just had to ask what they were doing here dressed like this.

“We’re promoting Kumare,” Shriyantha Wimalasekera explains.

I hadn’t heard of this particular movie, but Chelsea -adorning the lovely false beard- explains to me that it’s a movie about a man who wants to “teach people to be their own guru. He’s a false guru and teaches people his own teachings. His own techniques are called Kumare and he’s made his own website of the false teachings called”

“It won the audience award at SXSW in California and this is the east coast premier,” adds Jeffrey Pennett.

Maybe it was my spiritual upbringing, but I have to admit I was rather intrigued. So, I ask Shriyantha what he thinks of the movie.

“Kumare’s way of life is a reflection of yourself. It has strong support and it won’t disappoint; it’s not possible.” He says.

After a quick picture, they inform me that the director and star of the movie is going to hold a Skyped Q and A at the Tuesday showing. “He’s a spectacle,” says Jeffrey, “and you can italicize that.” (So I did.) It’s too bad I have school that day.

With that, I bid them adieu and head to Shorts 1. I ask Stuart, the guy standing next to me, if he had seen the shorts and what he felt about them.

He said, “I like shorts. You see a lot of creative stuff and if it’s terrible, it only lasts a short time.”

I completely agree. Although, many of the shorts in this program weren’t short enough. I’ll admit I did love some shorts such as Queen, The Other Side and Jim & Frank. Otherwise, I’d like to just skip over that experience completely.

When those films were over, I took the “hippie” group’s advice and headed to Kumare instead of the second set of shorts (which I’ve lost all faith in). I’d like to block out the short documentary that premiered before this movie as well. However! Kumare has to be one the BEST films I’ve seen all year and was certainly the best documentary I’ve seen in my life time (as far as I can remember). I’ll save the details of the movie for you all to find out, but let me say: it’s true, this movie does not disappoint.

My First Experience at the Florida Film Festival – Day 2 FFF 2012

April 15, 2012

[NumberOneEmber’s Note: ThatGuyRoberto is a close friend of mine -the same age as myself- who joined LanceAround, SunnyStefani and I on our adventures at the FFF today. We watched Shorts 1 and Karame. Here is ThatGuyRoberto’s reviews of the films he saw]


Shorts 1
I have a horrible memory and honestly can’t remember half of the shorts, but the one short that I do remember was The Other Side. It was moving, but in a different way than would be considered moving. The fact that no matter when the main character kicked the ball over the wall, it always came back even though the two towns were separated. The movie touches all the major problems that people face nowadays: bullying, wars, separation, loss, etc. I noticed they don’t say how he losses his brother; maybe to make the audience think. We hope that he was separated by the wall like in the boy’s dream. Perhaps he really was separated from his family when the wall went up.

As for the other shorts, like Mouthful, they may have had good acting. However, I didn’t like the subject. Otherwise, The Other Side was the only film I remember.

Then NumberOneEmber reminds me, “What about Queen?”

“Oh, Queen.” I reply.

What isn’t there to say about Queen? This was a moving story about the troubles of a -for lack of a better word- Drag Queen who sings at what seems to be a gay bar, a bouncer trying to find his way in the world, and the struggles that face them in the aftermath of Nikki’s (the main Queen) break up with ‘her’ partner. I loved it. I felt sorry for Nikki, but the bouncer really should have been more helpful.

On another note, the next movie I saw began with the short documentary, Maurice. It was beyond awkward because I was in the accompaniment of NumberOneEmber’s father, coworker and her. I’m glad I won’t be seeing anything like that again outside the Florida Film Festival. It’s not that it was bad, just awkward.

Next, Kumare. This was the best movie I’ve ever seen in the history of my life – second only to the Star Wars Saga. Why? Because it pointed out that people are ignorant, blind, and that the good in man is found within man and not in the words of another man. I find it interesting that Kumare managed to trick all those people into believe he was a guru when he blatantly told them that he was a fake and just a simple man. When he did truly reveal himself, I wasn’t angry so much as disappointed with the 4 people turned their backs on him after he had shown them that they can be anything they wanted to be as long as they believed in themselves and became their own guru. It’s disrespectful that they did this, especially when they don’t try to understand his motives; they just walked out. Yet, I loved this movie.

That’s my view of the festival.

Flaws – Day 1 FFF

April 14, 2012

Renee Spends Some Time Chatting With LanceAround and NumberOneEmber

My eyes droop and my fingers get slower with every typed word. It’s 12:15 in the morning and Day 1 of the FFF was exhausting both emotionally and physically. Regardless, on with the show!

The outside of the theatre was crowded with people and inside was no different. Several volunteers were trying to steer people into the two theaters showing Renee. We were lucky to get 3 seats together in the front row. As I sat through the introduction of the film, playing a game on my phone (much to my father’s disapproval), the spoken intro felt as though it ran the same length as the film.

The opening animated film, Fresh Guacamole,was great for a precursor to the depressing and emotionally unnerving topics of the opening night feature film; it was fun-spirited and made everyone laugh which is just the mood to be in to endure such raw emotions that the following movie would bring.

Renee is a fictionalized account based on the life of a real young woman addicted to strong drugs, alcohol and self-harm; in this case, cutting her arms with a razor blade. I got the opportunity to sit down with Renee herself and discuss the movie. She hadn’t actually known about the premier until several days beforehand. However, she had seen the movie before with her family: which she revealed to me as being quite awkward.

 “The film is intense and surreal,” she tells me. “Fantasies are fantasies for a reason. What really happened would have been more graphic.”

Most movies about drug abuse advocate against it, but this film is much more real than that. This film told the story of a girl who was ‘to write love on her arms’. This story, about one person’s experiences, highlights, bolds and italicizes that we have flaws. We’ll fall rock-bottom sometimes. And sometimes hope seems intangible.

Renee tells me, “Maybe your scars aren’t on your arms: maybe they’re internal; we’re human and that’s okay.”

When her story was released to the public, Renee developed into a kind of role model for others who are experiencing similar “chemical unbalancing” – not disorders: a word Renee doesn’t use for people with “everything under the sun” as she describes her own unbalancing.

“Life is a balancing act,” she says. “I’ve come to accept the pressure and responsibility of being a role model, but I still have to be Renee; I never asked to become this.”

Renee herself has been to rehabilitation 3 times –the movie being set during the second. She was sober for 3 years after relapsing that final time and almost lost her life.

“I’ve let down all those people.” She explains. However, Renee still hopes to be able to smash the chemical unbalances.

If this movie and speaking to Renee has taught me anything, it’s that people make mistakes and we have to except that failing is a major part of life. The most important thing is that we are honest with each other and ourselves. The word “secrets” play a major role in the film.

“You have to be transparent and honest,” Renee confides, “especially in relationships with parents, a significant other, and friends.”

And I mean to.

FFF 2012 Teenager Perspective on the Dangers of the Upcoming Florida Film Festival

March 31, 2012

[Editor’s Note:  I could not be prouder of Number One Daughter. She is completing her Junior year at Osceola School for the Arts where she is majoring in Creative Writing. Her goal is to one day be a professional writer, fiction and/or screenplay artist. I’ve seen her work. I know she’ll succeed! Today we’re very proud to introduce her as our newest correspondent. With that, she has decided to modify her nom de plume to become a mix of her artistic pseudonym, Ember, along with how she’s been known to fans of LanceAroundOrlando since our inception–Number One Daughter. From now on she will be known as NumberOneEmber!  She attended the FFF Sneak Preview with SunnyStefani and myself. As someone who has attended the FFF since she was thirteen, today she gives an unexpected teenage view on the “dangers” of attending the FFF. I hope you find this teenage perspective as thoughtful and eye opening as I did–LanceAround]


I’m going to try to maintain an optimistic outlook on this year’s FFF as only an angsty teenager can, espcially since I enjoyed last years FFF so much. This means I’m obviously not going to complain about how sexually explicit some of this year’s entries look or how not even half of them look appropriate for someone my age. I’ll simply keep hoping that intriguing documentaries like First Position and thrillers like Stuck are just as amazing as many of the clean films I saw last year.

I’ve always looked forward to Short Films in the past because I found them easy to follow, quick and to the point. However, I’ve always wondered why the FFF doesn’t ask the filmmakers to put ratings or extreme content warnings before their film plays. Two years ago, I was watching Foreign Shorts with my parents and a friend. We were somewhere around the 3rd or 4th short and, so far, they were all very entertaining. Suddenly, one starts playing that is so sexually explicit that my mother has to remove my friend and I from the theatre to shield our innocent 15 year old eyes and ears. It completely ruined the experience of the FFF shorts to the point where I’m discouraged from returning to them this year.

As much as I appreciate the artwork of young film makers, I would much rather they place a small warning before the videos about its content. That way, I won’t be caught off guard again and can make sure the film I’m watching is appropriate for my age. I’ll attend the FFF this year, but I’ll choose a seat close to the exit.  Also, other parents in the audience can know if their child should be watching the next film. Until that happens, this year I’ll stick to First Position; which is a documentary about ballet dancers and NOT an explicit animation of someone’s wife cheating on her husband while he’s at work (like one of the short films I saw two years ago.)

Let’s keep it positive and clean for the kiddies like me, folks.  🙂