A threatened rent increase and ongoing "we can't find the venue" complaints caused director Bob Cook to move his Central Florida Film Festival (CENFLO) from Kissimmee to the West Orange 5 cinemas in Ocoee and the nearby Best Western and Courtyard Marriott hotels.
"They made me an offer I couldn't refuse," Cook jokes. His slowly growing festival has gone from attracting just 36 entered films to more than 150 this year (bigger area festivals draw more than 1,000 entries), and he's hoping to top last year's 500 attendees when the festival was still at the Osceola Center for the Arts.
The movies? As with any festival, a mixed-bag:
•Prince of Broadway,**** (of five). A Florida Film Festival hit earns a return engagement. An immigrant who hustles knock-off handbags to tourists has to contend with the little boy his ex-girlfriend drops on him. Sat., 1:45 p.m, Sun., 7 p.m.
•The charming Coffee Date (****) pairs up Jonathan Bray and Wilson Cruz as guys who meet online, with one of them surprised the other is a man when they have their "date." This 2006 comedy is about awkwardness, friendship and sexuality and covers much the same ground as the new indie comedy Humpday — only more gracefully. Sat., 8:15 p.m.
•The Death of Alice Blue (***) is an amusingly eccentric dark comedy about a vampirish ad agency. Fri., 6:45 p.m., Sun. 2:4:45 p.m
•Scare Zone (**) is writer-director Jon Binkowsky's modestly witty Orlando-filmed goof of a horror movie about a haunted house attraction whose staff starts dying off when a real killer joins their ranks. Sex and blood and wisecracks. Fri., 9 p.m., Sun. 10:15 p.m.
•Knuckle Draggers (**) is a wan romantic comedy about a guy who takes dating advice from his jerk brother to win back his girl. Cuba Gooding Jr.'s brother Omar is in the cast of this not-that-funny "caveman" comedy. Fri. 5 p.m, Sat. 2:45 p.m.
•Glass City (**) is meek indie dramedy with little to recommend it other than its novel setting: Toledo. Sat. 11:45 a.m.
•Rex (*) is a dull Southern Gothic melodrama about the son of a murdered farmer dabbling in meth to save his Georgia farm from the corrupt sheriff ( Daniel Roebuck) Fri., 7:30 p.m..Sun. 4 p.m.
See for yourself The 4th Central Florida Film Festival When: Sept. 4-6. Where: West Orange 5, 1575 Maguire Road, Ocoee, Best Western Hotel, 10945 W. Colonial Ave. How much: $20 "daily pass," $50 all films pass, $99 all events access pass. For more info: (407) 370-3703 or centralfloridafilm festival.com.