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Focus, please: Here's a film festival primer
It has been here for 17 years, offering indie films, documentaries, award-winning shorts: pretty much everything you would want to see but never will catch at your neighborhood multiplex or Blockbuster Video. But a lot of Central Floridians still haven't checked out the region's premier movie-going event, the Florida Film Festival.
Here's a primer so you can correct that character flaw:
*Most of the movies are shown at the Enzian Cinema Cafe, 1300 Orlando Ave. (U.S. Highway 17-92) in Maitland. There's lots of parking on site, but get to your showing early. The place is crowded during the festival.
*Yes, they serve food, and beer and wine. Tip: Keep your order simple and appetizer-oriented. Otherwise, you'll be starving by the time it shows up. A better tip? Eat before you go (waiters interrupting your movie is a common complaint) and just get popcorn. Want only drinks? Buy them at the lobby bar before the show.
*Sure, you might run into film snobs and wannabes (a fear I hear from the Enzian-phobic all the time). Orlando is filled with film schools, would-be filmmakers and actual film professionals. A lot show up for these movies. They don't bite. Keep your shades on, be cool and soak up the vibe.
*Not sure what to see? Reviews of nearly 40 of the films are at our festival Web site, OrlandoSentinel.com/floridafilmfestival. Still not sure? A common rule for all film festivals: Documentaries are a safer bet.
*The movies will be shown not just at the Enzian but at the Regal Winter Park 20 in Winter Park Village (also on U.S. Highway 17-92, a mile and a half south of the Enzian). Tickets to movies are available at the Enzian or Regal box office 45 minutes prior to a specific show.
If you really want to see a particular film, you have to buy your advance tickets at a third location, the Best Western Mount Vernon Inn, Festival Headquarters, on the same stretch of U.S. Highway 17-92, a half-mile south of Winter Park Village. Buy your tickets online at Floridadafilmfestival .com, or at the Film Festival Ticket office. The phone number is 407-644-6579, with box office hours from 11a.m. to 7 p.m.
*The Food & Wine Weekend has been sold out for more than a month. Tickets to the closing night "revel" at Winter Park Racquet Club (with actress Jennifer Tilly in attendance) are still available and are $75.
For other tickets, the Film Buff pack of 20 tickets is $190, the Cinematic Sampler (four tickets) is $40. Single tickets are $10. And the Platinum Pass is $800 and wins you concierge service (all-access), priority seating, party invitations and a swag bag of festival tchotchkes.