10 films to see, parties to do
There weren’t many people on the bandwagon for “The Artist” in 2011, when Gregory von Hausch decided to open his Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival with the foreign release. Part screwball comedy, part sentimental melodrama and shot in black and white, it also was a silent movie with subtitles. In French.
Soon, it would make its way to theaters across the country and go on to win the Best Picture Academy Award.
FLIFF and Von Hausch will offer a reminder of his magical moment of prescience when the 2018 edition of the festival opens Friday, Nov. 2, with a red-carpet gathering at the Hard Rock Event Center in Hollywood for a 7:30 p.m. screening of “The Return of the Hero,” starring Jean Dujardin, who won a Best Actor Oscar for “The Artist.”
The 33rd annual festival, running through Nov. 18, will offer more than 200 indie and foreignlanguage films, shorts and documentaries, all balanced with its trademark irreverence, found in screenings of locally filmed favorites “Where the Boys Are” at the beach and “Caddyshack” on a golf course.
Most screenings will take place in familiar FLIFF screening spaces at Savor Cinema in downtown Fort Lauderdale, Cinema Paradiso and the Hard Rock Event Center in Hollywood, Bailey Hall at Broward College in Davie and the Sunrise Civic Center Theater. Ticket prices for individual screenings and parties vary. For more information, go to FLIFF.com.
Below are 10 highlights to look forward to after FLIFF opening night:
Nov. 7, 7 p.m.: The suggested attire is swimsuits and flip-flops for the Dive-In Movie and Pool Deck Party at the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort, featuring tropical drinks, mermaids and a floating screen in the pool showing “Where the Boys Are,” near the beach where it was shot. A star of the film, singer-actress Tobey Maguire introduces Joan Allen to color in "Pleasantville." Connie Francis, will appear at the screening, along with South Florida comedy icon Woody Woodbury and veteran entertainer and TV host Frank Loconto.
Nov. 7, 8 p.m.: Fort Lauderdale native Eric Sheffield, nephew of late South Florida entertainment notable Skip Sheffield, makes his directorial debut with the infectiously engaging low-budget comedy “Hatchback,” about a mysterious girl who lives in her car in Los Angeles and the cynical narcoleptic who falls for her. A 7 p.m. party in the Savor Cinema courtyard, with Sheffield in attendance, precedes the 8 p.m. screening. “Hatchback” also will be shown 7 p.m. Nov. 10 at Cinema Paradiso in Hollywood.
Nov. 8, 7:30 p.m.: Danish filmmaker Mads Brügger will attend a red-carpet screening at the Sunrise Civic Center Theater of his clever dark comedy “The Saint Bernard Syndicate,” which somehow extracts laughs from a story with a protagonist diagnosed with ALS. Perhaps it’s all the large dogs. Rasmus Bruun won the award for best actor in a foreign film at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. The film also will be shown 1 p.m. Nov. 13 at the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale.
Nov. 12, 6 p.m.: A little something different for FLIFF fans as “The Musette” yacht leaves a dock on the New River a short walk from Savor Cinema for an evening cruise for the Shorts at Sea Boat Party, with an open bar, buffet and four short films with no dialogue: “The Vest,” “Silence Before the Rain,” “Animal Cinema” and “From Life.”
Nov. 14, 4:30 p.m.: A frank interview with Oscar-winning actor Chris Cooper (“Adapt- ation”) and wife Marianne Leone (“The Sopranos”) about attempts to free their highly intelligent son Jesse from a body gripped by cerebral palsy and an education system unprepared to help is the jumping-off point for “Intelligent Lives.” The documentary follows three young people who will challenge your preconceived notions about what someone with cerebral palsy can accomplish, including one who is an assistant professor at Syracuse University. Filmmaker Dan Habib will attend the screening, and FLIFF will donate all ticket proceeds to United Community Options of Broward’s work to cure cerebral palsy.
Nov. 15, 4 p.m.: FLIFF always has a local focus, and the Community Shorts feature packages five films ranging in length from 11 to 29 minutes, each with a subject meant to resonate with the Florida viewer. This is especially true with Miami filmmaker Daniel Gallegos’ “Parkland: Marching Forward” a powerful reminder of the youthful passion and anger that inspired March for Our Lives.
Nov. 15, 7:30 p.m.: Screening at NSU Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale is the Florida premiere of “The Art and Times of Frosty Myers,” a joyous portrait of rebellion in Forrest “Frosty” Myers, one of the pioneering 1960s New York artists who took over Lower Manhattan factory spaces — before they were called “lofts” — and bars such as Max’s Kansas City. Myers will attend the screening and a 6 p.m. reception at the museum beforehand. The film also will be shown 4 p.m. Nov. 18 at Savor Cinema in Fort Lauderdale.
Nov. 17, 3:45 p.m.: At Bailey Hall in Davie, FLIFF will honor prolific director Gary Ross, who recently released “Oceans 8,” with a Lifetime Achievement Award at a tribute screening of his provocative 1998 comic fantasy “Pleasantville,” about two time-traveling teenagers (Reese Witherspoon and Tobey Maguire) who shake the sensibilities of a 1950s blackand-white utopia by introducing the townspeople to color. Ross’ eclectic career as a director, writer and producer also includes the Academy Award-nominated “Seabiscuit,” “The Tale of Despereaux,” “The Hunger Games” and “The Free State of Jones.”
Nov. 17, 6:15 p.m.: Later at Bailey Hall, FLIFF will present the Florida premiere of “Sharkwater Extinction,” the late Rob Stewart’s sequel to his documentary “Sharkwater,” about the world’s massive illegal shark-fin industry and its potentially disastrous impact on the world’s oceans and the humans who depend on them. Stewart died in 2017 while shooting scenes for “Sharkwater Extinction” off Islamorada, and the film drew a standing ovation when it premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September. Stewart’s parents will attend the screening to present FLIFF’s first Rob Stewart Environmental Film Award.
Nov18, 6 p.m.: The annual FLIFF Wrap Party will take place at Fort Lauderdale Country Club, where a “drive-in” screening of the filmed-in-South-Florida, Bill Murray-Rodney Dangerfield romp “Caddyshack” will be viewed on the fairway while guests are seated in more than 100 golf carts. One of the film’s more memorable performers, Cindy “Lacey Underall” Morgan, will attend the screening.
Larkin Bell and Ericson Just star in Eric Sheffield's comedy "Hatchback."