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25 Years And Counting For FLIFF

 

The Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival (affectionately known as FLIFF) has become one of the significant regional showcases of world cinema and American indie films. This year, FLIFF is celebrating its 25th anniversary, and despite the economic downturn in south Florida, is pulling out all the stops for a no-holds-barred celluloid celebration. The Festival comes to its nearly four-week climax this coming weekend. 

 

 

The festivities began on October 22 with the premiere of NICE GUY JOHNNY, the latest relationship comedy from indie veteran Edward Burns. The film, which marks a comeback for the director of Sundance Film Festival prizewinner THE BROTHERS MCMULLEN, is a comic charmer about contemporary relationships and the need to be true to your self. Burns himself stars as the free-wheeling womanizer uncle of a young man (played by ADVENTURELAND's Matt Bush) who is looking to make his mark. The film is distinguished by the energy of its young cast and a razor-sharp script  that mines all the wit and wisdom of its story.

 

FLIFF has gained a reputation for its strong program of world cinema titles, and this year's round-up features films from Europe, Asia and Latin America. Another strong showcase are its collection of American indie titles, giving emerging filmmakers a much need promotion boost. The program includes such high profile entries as Danny Boyle's survival tale 127 HOURS, the Darren Aronofsky ballet melodrama BLACK SWAN and the Festival closer, the bracing CASINO JACK, a portrait of the Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff with an acerbic performance by Oscar winner Kevin Spacey (the film's director George Hickenlooper died suddenly last week at the age of 47).

 

 

The Festival also has a choice lineup of honorees this year. The star attraction is Jane Russell, the brunette bombshell of the 1940s and 1950s, who will make a rare appearance on Monday evening to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award. The actress will be honored prior to one of her most famous parts, as one of the shapely femme fatales looking for millionaires on a transatlantic ocean cruise in the delirious musical comedy GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES. The film, an adaptation of the famed Broadway musical, is brought to vivid life by veteran director Howard Hawks (in  his only musical film) and features the famous pairing of Russell and Marilyn Monroe as the blond-and-brunette double threat.

Claire Bloom, the genteel British actress who is celebrating 60 years in show business, is another honoree, who will be feted on Saturday evening, along with the showing of the films LIMELIGHT (1952), her big screen debut under the tutelage of the master filmmaker Charles Chaplin, and THE HAUNTING (1962), one of the scariest film adaptation ever committed to film, as directed by the talented Robert Wise. Bloom, who won a BAFTA Award as Best Newcomer in 1952 for LIMELIGHT, has won numerous awards, particularly for her television works in films, mini-series and dramatic programs. David Keith, best remembered as Richard Gere's army buddy in the romantic drama AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN, is also being honored at the Festival following the screening of the Bahamas-shot adventure drama BENEATH THE BLUE

I will be on the scene at FLIFF to report on all the films, the special events, the chic parties and the atmosphere of one of the country's most diverse and interesting film events. For more information, visit: www.fliff.com

Sandy Mandelberger, Festival Circuit Editor 

 

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About Festival Circuit

Mandelberger Sandy
(International Media Resources)

Coverage of the world of film festivals on the international film festival circuit.


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