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Florida Film Festival Documentaries: 10 Full-Length Docs in American Independent Competition

The Florida Film Festival, held in the Orlando, Florida, area and produced by Enzian Theater from April 9-18, features ten documentaries in its American Independent Competition.

Each film competes for up to three awards: a Grand Jury Award for best film in that category; a Special Jury Award given at the jury’s discretion for exceptional achievement; and an Audience Award determined by audience votes. Ten narrative feature films also compete against each other at the Festival, which includes other non-competing films in several showcases such as a Florida sidebar.

The Florida Film Festival offers additional screening and special event venues than in previous years as it expands to include areas in downtown Orlando. Screenings will be held at Enzian Theater, Regal Winter Park Village 20, Plaza Cinema Café, and Lake Eola Park. Special event venues include Orange County Regional History Center, which will host a V.I.P. Reception on Thursday, April 15 where guests can see the museum’s movie-related artifacts at the exhibition, “Out of This World: Extraordinary Costumes From Film and Television.”

Competing Documentaries About Art and Entertainment

Best Worst Movie

Former actors and current fans of the universally reviled Troll 2 talk about the cult classic. The filmmaker, who was a child star in the film, takes a lighthearted look at this unexpected hit.

  • Director: Michael Paul Stephenson
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Southeast Premiere

Cleanflix

This doc takes a peek at Ray Lines, a Utah man who runs a good business editing sex, nudity, violence, and other naughty parts out of R-rated movies for his Morman clients. Filmmakers and courts battle over the First Amendment and this controversial clean movement to make every film a family film.

  • Directors: Andrew James and Joshua Ligairi
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • East Coast Premiere

Con Artist

An examination of Mark Kostobi, a self-made celebrity of the art world who pays painters to create works which he signs and sells. The film questions the suppliers and consumers of art to determine what makes something valuable.

  • Director: Michael Sladek
  • Run Time: 84 minutes
  • Southeast Premiere

Dumbstruck

The filmmaker introduces a diverse group of ventriloquists, including a look at their childhoods, families, performances, and motivations. The doc begins and ends at Vent Haven, the annual convention for ventriloquists.

  • Director: Mark Goffman
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Florida Premiere
  • Additional Information: The film stars 2007 America’s Got Talent winner Terry Fator, a beauty pageant queen ventriloquist, a 13-year-old newcomer, veteran vent Dan Horn, and a 6’5” woman who works at nursing homes.

Racing Dreams

Adolescents compete in the World Kart Association National Pavement Series. The film focuses on three young racers before, during, and after competition. Racing Dreams received Tribeca Film Festival’s Best Documentary award.

  • Director: Marshall Curry
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Regional Premiere
  • Additional Information: The Academy Award-nominated Curry also directed Street Fight.

Competing Documentaries About Society and Politics

How to Hold a Flag

Four soldiers who served together in Iraq now try to transition back into civilian life through their work, families, and involvement in the community.

  • Directors: Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Southeast Premiere
  • Additional Information: This is the most recent film from the directors of Gunner Palace.

Lost Sparrow

The filmmaker relates his personal tragedy of having two adopted Crow Indian brothers who perished as children on the railroad tracks. He asks his family tough questions in revisiting the 1978 event to find out why the boys had run away from home.

  • Director: Chris Billing
  • Run Time: 78 minutes
  • East Coast Premiere

The Lottery

Children in Harlem and the Bronx compete in a lottery to determine whether they attend some of the worst schools in the nation or some of the best. Five individual families are the focus of this film, which also lets the politicians and administrators have their say about the system.

  • Director: Madeleine Sackler
  • Run Time: 81 minutes
  • East Coast Premiere

No. 4 Street of Our Lady

This film reveals the little-known story of Francisca Halamajowa, a Polish-Catholic woman living in Sokal, who hid 16 Jewish people in her home during World War II.

  • Directors: Barbara Bird, Judy Maltz, Richie Sherman
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Florida Premiere
  • Additional Information: This doc is presented in English, Hebrew, Polish, Ukranian, and Yiddish with English subtitles.

The Tiger Next Door

Is big cat owner Dennis Hill being unfairly persecuted for his backyard animal breeding business? This doc examines the pros and cons of having Bengal tigers living in captivity, using Hill’s colorful case as an example.

  • Director: Camilla Calamandrei
  • Run Time: 87 minutes
  • Florida Premiere

To watch trailers for these documentaries and obtain a film schedule and list of programs for the Florida Film Festival, visit the official website.

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