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Fort Myers Beach Film Fest starts April 25

April 18, 2018
Jessica Salmond - News Editor ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Time to get your tickets and show up for the good seats: Fort Myers Beach once again plays host to independent filmmakers.

The 12th Fort Myers Beach Film Festival runs Wednesday, April 25 through Sunday, April 29, bringing a host of fresh films to the shore.

All of the films will be featured at the Fort Myers Beach Theater, 6425 Estero Blvd.

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One special showing will be held at the Mound House for "Movie on the Mound" Saturday, April 28. The film, "Coco" is a Disney Pixar movie, family friendly and free to attend.

Tickets to the film fest showings are $7 each and can be ordered online at

"New this year is a partnership with the Bonita Springs Film Festival," said Janeen Paulauskis, film fest executive director. "We decided to partner and cross-promote. It's all part of Lee County, we're all in this together."

Fact Box

Movie on the Mound

Returning again this year is a special event free to the public. The Mound House will host Coco,

a Disney Pixar film rated PG. The film will be shown outside at the historic site and is free for the public to attend with their families. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.and the film will begin at sunset. Bring chairs and blankets.

"I'm so excited," said Janeen Paulauskis, film fest executive director. "After being part of the town when we purchased the Mound House, to be able to bring it back full circle and have Movie on the Mound is great."

She is also a member of the Bonita Springs Film Festival board; the city's event is only one day and structured differently. A theme surrounding Bonita Springs is chosen by the board each year, and the filmmakers, whatever level they are, have to incorporate that theme. Last year, it was "historic Bonita Springs." Some students made a movie on their iPhone. One local professor made a short movie about the Imperial River.

For one segment of the Fort Myers Beach fest, the winning films from Bonita Springs will be aired. Paulauskis hopes a similar challenge can be incorporated into the beach's festival in the future to add a fun new event.

"It highlights Bonita Springs and makes everyone aware of what Bonita Springs has to offer," she said. "Maybe we can do something similar in the future to keep the festival fresh."

There are approximately 15 films in this year's festival, along with a few special showings of student entries, local filmmaker entries, and short entries. There are also two filmmakers workshops, which Paulauskis said sold out last year.

Red Flight Pictures returns to the beach to produce the first workshop on Friday, April 27. This session is geared mainly toward film students and includes an acting workshop. The second, on Saturday, is for students but also film lovers and focuses on the process of developing a film "From Idea to Execution."

Independent filmmaker Alyn Darnay and documentarian Stanley Isaacs will lead this session.

"If you're a student, it's very informative. If you're a film lover, it's great to get the back story," Paulauskis said.

Entry to either may be purchased online; Friday is $30, Saturday is $40.

Paulauskis highlighted a few films of this year's festival - and one has a very local connection.

Darnay directed "Killer Island," and shot the film on Captiva thanks to an incentive program with Lee County. The movie, showing Saturday, April 28 at 6 p.m., features a woman who becomes a target after suspecting an islander is responsible for multiple murders.

Another film, "Still Waiting in the Wings," is a sequel to a film also shown at the beach festival several years ago and follows the trials and triumphs of a team of actors who wait tables in Times Square while dreaming big. It's also scheduled for April 28 at 6:45 p.m.

The festival launches Wednesday, April 25 with an opening ceremony at the Beach Theater at 2 p.m.

Throughout the rest of the week, films will be screened at the Beach Theater.

On Thursday, April 26, the filmmakers will take a dolphin cruise on Estero Bay at noon. For $20, someone interested in spending time with the filmmakers can also attend.

Sunday afternoon, April 29, will close out the festival with an awards ceremony at 2 Fish-Tale Marina. After, the People's Choice Winner and the judges selection for Best Film will be screened at the Beach Theater at 4 p.m. Both the opening and closing ceremonies are open to the public.

To purchase tickets or find out more information about the films, visit


Feature Films:

Doors open 30 minutes before the screening. All screenings are held at the Beach Theater except for the Saturday night special event, Movie on the Mound, at the Mound House. For more information and for other festival events visit

Sometimes Lucky is More Important than Smart: Conversations with Mace Neufeld

Wednesday, April 25 and Saturday, April 28 at 3 p.m.

Award winning producer Mace Neufeld, one of the giants in the entertainment industry, candidly discusses his life and career from the early days of live television to today's motion picture blockbusters. Mr. Neufeld's memorable films include The Equalizer, The Omen, No Way Out, The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger and Invictus, among others. Featuring special guest Harrision Ford.

JFK The Last Speech

Wednesday, April 25 and Saturday, April 28 at 3 p.m.

Much is known about President John F. Kennedy, but fewer people know of his friendship with Robert Frost. JFK The Last Speech explores the dramatic relationship between these two seminal Americans, reaching its tragic climax in a surprising encounter with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev at the height of the Cold War.

A Wish for Giants

Wednesday, April 25 at 4:20 p.m.

Sophie, a tenacious volunteer, meets her kindred spirit in Roxie, a young girl with an inoperable brain tumor and a very unique wish--to find Bigfoot.

Local Films Package

Wednesday, April 25 at 6 p.m.and Saturday, April 28 at 4:30 p.m.

Selected films produced by returning filmmakers from Lee, Collier and Hendry Counties.

Bonita Springs Film Festival selections

Wednesday, April 25 at 7 p.m.

Selections from the Bonita Springs Film Festival.

The Long Shadow

Wednesday, April 25 at 8 p.m.

Investigative journalist Frances Causey sets out to explore continuing racial divisions in the U.S. The Long Shadow traces slavery's history from America's founding up through its insidious ties to racism today.

Finding Hygge

Thursday, April 26 at 3 p.m.

Standing accused, though perhaps not literally the worst year ever, 2016 sparked a search for something happier in the world, and the Danish concept of hygge (hoo-ga) found its way onto bookshelves, Pinterest boards, and the Oxford Dictionaries shortlist for "Word of the Year." Finding Hygge begins with a look at the world's sudden interest in hygge and attempts to define it.

Sushi Tushi or How Asia Butted into American Pro-Football

Thursday, April 26 at 3 p.m.and Friday, April 27 at 6 p.m.

The coach of a pro football team, The Portland Lobsters, that has lost 32 games in a row, as a last resort travels to Japan to buy a school of sumo wrestlers. The team is eventually able to form a front line that finally allows the QB to throw a forward pass and not get sacked.

Student Film Package

Thursday, April 26 at 6 p.m.

A selection of films submitted in the student category.

Still Waiting in the Wings

Thursday, April 26 at 7 p.m.and Saturday, April 28 at 6:45 p.m.

Still Waiting follows the trials and triumphs of a ragtag team of actors waiting tables in New York's Times Square. While dreaming of the glow of the footlights next door, the reality of slinging hash under florescent lights mixes sweet aspirations with bitter drama.

Sam and Elvis

Thursday, April 26 at 8 p.m.

Sam is fifteen, orphaned, hiding a secret and has been living in foster care the past year. Her Aunt Olina is a widowed recluse, sharing her life and closed off home with her taxidermied bulldog, Elvis. When Olina agrees to take Sam in, they learn to trust each other, overcome the obstacles life has dealt them, and become a family.

Red Flight Pictures presents...

Friday, April 27 at 3 p.m.and Saturday, April 28 at 4:45 p.m.

Red Flight Pictures presents two films, Delilahs Muse directed by the award winning Director Chad Gurdgiel. Synopsis: Two long time friends spend an evening with their muse. The second, directed by Samantha Artese, is Against the Grain. Synopsis: Lily finds herself at a crossroads in life while in the pursuit of her dreams.

Shorts Package

Friday, April 27 at 3 p.m.

A selection of short films.

"High" Jacked * Killer Pain

Friday, April 27 at 4:30 p.m.

Opium dates back 6,000 years and the highly addictive plant still destroy's lives globally. this documentary provides the history of the streets to see the reality of the life of an opiate addict.

Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Friday, April 27 at 7 p.m.and Saturday, April 28 at 9 p.m.

Original Motion Picture Soundtrack celebrates the undeniable connection between music and film. Hear from the actors and musicians that created this fantasyland for us and take a behind the scenes look at the scenes and songs that have provided the soundtrack to our movie-going lives.


Friday, April 27 at 8 p.m.

Veteran detective, Rich Cowley, is in the middle of a complex murder investigation when he gets into a severe car accident which results in memory loss. Matt Barker, a rookie detective, is assigned the investigation and quickly learns he does not have much to work with. His only choice is to work with the older detective to try and bring his memory back.

Killer Island

Saturday, April 28 at 6 p.m.

While on a dream vacation with her husband, a woman becomes a target after she starts to suspect one of the island's locals may have committed multiple murders.



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