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FLIFF Kicks Off With Premieres

Honorees And Guests And Over-The-Top Parties, Oh, My!


A Rough Draft

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A Rough Draft

Michelle F. Solomon, FFCC

The 33rd Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLiFF), begins Friday, Nov. 2 and runs through Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018 with more than 150 films from 30 countries and over 66 feature and documentary film premieres including: two world, 15 U.S., 19 Southeast, seven East Coast and 15 Florida premieres. The “vacation from ordinary film” brings together the South Florida community and visitors to experience top new films, special guests and over-the-top parties that imbues the tropical lifestyle of the area.

“This year, our selection of films offer many more standout comedies than in previous years and the documentaries are fascinating, entertaining as well as some that reflect the concerns of our times. Along with the films, we have incredibly talented celebrity and filmmaker guests attending screenings and some of the most over-the-top, flat-out fun parties ever,” said Gregory von Hausch, president and CEO of Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival.

Abdel & The Countess

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Abdel & The Countess

This year’s honorees include: Oscar nominated filmmaker Gary Ross ("Big," "Seabiscuit") will be presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at a tribute screening of his 1998 award-winning film, Pleasantville. Ross is also known for "The Hunger Games" (2012) and most recently "Ocean’s 8" (2018). "Transparent‘s" Melora Hardin, will be presented with a Career Achievement Award at the World Premiere of Paul Osborne’s "Cruel Hearts." Screen and Recording legend, Connie Francis will attend FLiFF’s poolside retro screening of "Where the Boys Are," and present former singing star Frank Loconto, of  The Laine Brothers, with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Also receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award, Inventor-Philantropist-Filmmaker, Maurice Kanbar, namesake of the Maurice Kanbar Insitute of Film & Television at NYU. FLiFF kicks-off with the Opening Night Film and Garden Party hosted by Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino at the Hard Rock Event Center. Selected as the opener is the East Coast Premiere of "The Return of the Hero," a hilarious comedy starring Oscar Winner, Jean Dujardin ("The Artist") as  Captain Neuville. Set in 1809 during the Napoleonic era, Neuville is called to the front, leaving his future bride heartbroken. Her sister decides to write letters on his behalf to cheer her up. But it all goes south when Neuville reappears.

For the Centerpiece Film and Party, Danish filmmaker Mads Brügger arrives from Copenhagen in time for the red carpet at the Southeast Premiere of his dark “odd couple” comedy, "The Saint Bernard Syndicate," which charts two hapless Danes as they scheme to sell Saint Bernards to China's middle class as status symbols. Attendees will also meet a couple Saint Bernards from the Florida St. Bernard Rescue. FLiFF’s Closing Night Film is the Florida Premiere of "Sharkwater Extinction." The thrilling and inspiring action-packed journey exposes the massive illegal shark fin industry and the political corruption behind it; a conspiracy that is leading to the extinction of sharks. Director Rob Stewart, tragically lost his life while filming "Sharkwater Extinction" last year in the Florida Keys. Rob dedicated his life to saving our oceans. Special Guests are Rob’s parents and producers of the film, Brian and Sandy Stewart who will present the Rob Stewart Environmental Award to one of this year’s festival selections to Poisoning Paradise.

Aldabra

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Aldabra

In addition to "Sharkwater Extinction," there are three additional environmental films. The East Coast Premiere of "Aldabra: Once Upon an Island," narrated by Pierce Brosnan, is a wonderfully entertaining 3D journey featuring heroes Elvi the Giant Tortoise, Buster the Robber Crab and other marine characters. The Florida Premiere of "Poisoning Paradise," produced by Pierce Brosnan with wife and directors Keely Shaye Brosnan and Teresa Tico, reveals the devastating impact of pesticide poisoning on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai and exposes the collusion between federal and state legislators and the world’s largest biotech companies.

The Southeast Premiere of "Secrets of a Frozen Ocean" follows 75 year old, Yngve Kristoffersen, a Norwegian scientist who sets out on a dangerous 18 month expedition in the Arctic to prove a theory of an asteroid that hit the Arctic Ocean millions of years ago and affects earth to this day.

FLiFF will host four benefit premieres.

The Southeast Premiere of "Intelligent Lives," a catalyst to transform the label of intellectual disability from a life sentence of isolation into a life of possibility for the most systematically segregated people in America. The award-winning filmmaker Dan Habib, will be in attendance. 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit United Community Options of South Florida, formerly United Cerebral Palsy of South Florida.

Unicorn

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Unicorn

The Florida Premiere of "The Land of High Mountains" (Haiti), Will Agee’s inspiring true story of the only pediatric hospital in Haiti providing life-saving, healthcare to the most vulnerable families for over 30 years and the incredible people, both Haitian and foreign, who are working together to heal the children and to realize the dreams of a nation. 100 percent of the ticket revenue will benefit The Saint Damien Hospital Foundation. Filmmakers

Special Guests are Will Agee, Olaf Hamelink, and Jennifer Rayno the Director, St. Damien Pediatric Hospital Fund will be in attendance.

The Florida Premiere of "The Most Dangerous Year" (USA) Vlada Knowlton’s story of a group of Washington State families with transgender kids who joined the fight, in 2016, against a wave of discriminatory antitransgender legislation that swept the nation and their home state. The film is co-sponsored by OutShine Film Festival, a 501(c)3 organization who will receive 50 percent of the ticket sales.

The East Coast Premiere of "Turning Point" will benefit The Broward Walk To End Alzheimer's. Director James Keach, the brother of actor Stacy Keach, will attend. James also directed the Oscar nominated film "Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me."

Below are select film premiere highlights of this year’s festival.

World Premieres include: "Cruel Hearts" starring "Transparent‘s" Melora Hardin and Ocean Eleven’s Eddie Jemison in writer/director Paul Osborne’s thriller. Extraordinary: The Seeding, Jon Sample and Jack Roth’s riveting documentary of an alien hybrid program that may actually exist.

Sarah Q

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Sarah Q

U.S. Premieres include: "The Bromley Boys" (UK) Steve Kelly’s funny yet touching coming-of-age football memoir. "Diane is the Right Shape" (France) stars Clotilde Hesme in Fabien Gorgeart’s dramedy about a surrogate mother for a gay couple. "Eternal Winter" (Hungary), Attila Szász true story of an unlikely romance in a Soviet labor camp. "Just Believe" (Italy), Alessandro Aronadio’s, comedy of a business owner who must establish his own religion to create a tax free operation. "Les Ex" (France), Maurice Barthélémy’s comedy about five couples who take stock of their past relationships. "Marisa in The Woods" (Spain), Antonio Morales’ dramedy stars Patricia Jordá as a woman who feels that she’s taken a supporting role in her own life. "Quanto Basta" (Italy), Francesco Falaschi’s warm comedy about a chef whose life is changed after assigned to teach cooking to students with Asperger’s syndrome.

East Coast Premieres include: "The Unicorn," Robert Schwartzman’s ("Dreamland") “cleverly crafted” three-some comedy. Hurley (USA), Derek Dodge’s documentary about racing legend Hurley Haywood speaks for the first comedy about an unlikely trio on a crazy law breaking journey that culminates in Miami. "Rescue Under Fire (Spain), Adolfo Martínez Pérez’ action adventure based on the true story of Spanish troops attempting to rescue a U.S. helicopter crew in Afghanistan. "Spitak" (Armenia/Russia), Alexander Kott’s action-drama of a man searching for his family in the very epicenter of the earthquake. Volcano (Ukraine), Director Roman Bondarchuk's surreal black comedy about a translator stranded in a strange, little Ukraine Steppes town. Southeast Premieres include: "Abdel and the Countess" (France) Isabel Doval’s comedy about a widowed Countess who befriends a young man from the hood to help save her legacy. "Born Just Now," Robert Adanto’s an intimate look at Belgrade-based artist Marta Jovanovi. "Driver" (Israel) Yehonatan Indursky’s comic-drama about a sham artist and his daughter in an ultra-Orthodox community. Jumpman (Russian Federation), Ivan I. Tverdovsky’s thriller about a young man with a rare condition - he feels no pain." "Letter from Masanjia" (Canada– China) Leon Lee’s intense documentary of a political prisoner’s SOS letter that led to labor reform in China.

"Monger" (Argentina), "Jeff Zorrilla’s" incredible journey into the world of sex tourism in Buenos Aires. N"ormandie Nue" (France), Phillipe Le Guay’s ("Women On The 6th Floor") comedy of a photo opportunity for a town of 300. The catch is… they all have to be naked." Once Upon a Time in November" (Poland), Andrzej Jakimowski’s drama of a mother and son’s struggle to find a safe place in a homeless shelter. "A Polar Year" (Denmark) Samuel Collardey’s unique comedy, where actors play themselves in a recreated story. Reinventing Rosalee, Dr. Lillian Glass’ inspiring documentary featuring her mom Rosalee a 101-year-old Holocaust survivor who lives life to the fullest. Sarah Q, John A. Gallagher’s dramedy of a small-town girl who moves to New York to become an actress. Smuggling Hendrix (Cypress) Marios Piperides award-winning comedic love story of a man on a mission to retrieve his dog from across the Turkish border. Song of Back and Neck, 'The Office' actor Paul Lieberstein’s comedic take on his history with back pain and curbed anger. The Unafraid, Anayansi Prado’s and Heather Courtney’s inspiring portrayal of the brave young people fighting back in difficult times.

Return of the Hero

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Return of the Hero

Florida Premieres include:

"American First: The Legacy of a Raid" (USA) Almudena Toral’s & Andrea Patiño Contreras’s documentary of the largest immigration worksite raid in U.S. History. "The Art and Times of Frosty Myers" (USA), Chris Stearns’ portrait of the sculptor best known for his 1969 "Moon Museum" and 1973 "The Wall" in SoHo.

"The Beginner" (Germany), Alexandra Sell’s charmingly comic tale of a woman who attempts her dream of being a figure skater at age 58. Kent Jones’ award-winning "Diane, "starring Mary Kay Place in her most powerful performance of her career. "Hatchback," Eric Sheffield’s quirky comedy of a journalist, that helps a mysterious girl find her long-lost dad. "Cracking Aces" (USA) H. James Gilmore documentary of the pioneering women of professional poker. "Fiddlin’ " (USA), Julie Simone takes us to the World's Oldest Fiddler’s Convention. "Hope’s Mission" (Florida), Richard Jacksons’ documentary of a mother who risks everything to save her three children. "Living on a Dollar a Day" (USA), Thomas Nazario’s moving story of people around the world who survive on a dollar or less each day.

"Seeing Is Believing: Women Direct" (USA) Cady McClain’s documentary includes interviews and clips from women directors. "Snowbirds" (Canada) from Joannie Lafrenière offers a glimpse into the French Canadian tourists who descend upon Hollywood, Florida each winter.

For the complete schedule and advance tickets, visit www.FLiFF.com or download the complete program guide here.

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