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Fort Lauderdale a Celebration of Sunshine And Celluloid

After several weeks of miserably rainy and too-cold-for-October weather in New York City, a jaunt to the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival in sunny South Florida is exactly what the doctor ordered. The Festival, which is celebrating its 24th year, is one of the most respected regional events on the festival circuit, with an ambitious slate of film premieres, celebrity tributes and chic after-parties. Festivities begin this Friday and run through November 8.

Affectionately known as FLIFF, this year's event will reel out over 200 films from around the globe. Filmmakers and celebrities will attend many of the screenings and events over the 23 day fest, one of the longest on the festival calendar (but who's complaining). The feast of parties and gatherings at area "hot spots", on board yachts, and on the beach gives audiences and guests a chance to hob knob with film talent and other movie buffs.

The heart of the Festival are its competition sections, which feature films from Europe, Asia and North America. Juried awards will be determined for Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Acress, Best Ensemble Cast, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Score and Best Foreign Language Film.

FLIFF is also known in the film community for being a terrific launching pad for international cinema, due to its enthusiastic audiences who are savvy world cinema buffs. The World Films section will feature an opportunity to see some of the most ambitious new films from abroad, all from the comfort and luscious tropical climate of South Florida.

American Indies make up a large portion of the films on tap, and the Fort Lauderdale audiences are prime test markets for films from emerging filmmakers from across the United States. Many American Indie films have premiered here in the past that went on to devoted followings around the rest of the country.

FLIFF also offers audiences a rare chance to see the best in documentary and short film, two genres that are often relegated to the small screen. With CINEMA PARADISO, a year-round arthouse cinema run by the Fort Lauderdale Film Society, as the main screening venue, these films get a chance for rare big screen time at the Festival.

Not neglecting the Florida-based industry, the Festival also presents Sunshine Celluloid, a special program that highlights homegrown films from filmmakers throughout the state of Florida. Highlighting everything from hard-hitting dramas to cutting-edge comedies, from children's films to films attuned to the city's large gay and lesbian community, FLIFF truly offers a smorgasboard of cinematic pleasures that caters to every cinematic taste. And did I mention the fabulous weather?

For more information on this year's Festival, come back to this blog site or visit the Festival's own website:

Sandy Mandelberger, Festival Dailies Editor
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