If you're looking for fresh perspectives and new voices from Florida's own film incubator, then you want to head out to the Palm Beach Gardens Independent Film Festival, which starts Friday.
The inaugural launch of this off-indie film series is the brainchild of a group of local filmmakers headed by Richard Cecere, president of Port St. Lucie-based YTT Productions. It showcases their creations as well as those of other Florida filmmakers, solely featuring films that were shot and produced in the state.
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While many low-budget, independent films are often slasher pics, the six films that will play at the festival offer a smorgasbord of genres. They are also of reasonable duration, the longest one being 95 minutes, so there are no three-hour epics to shun.
531, a local film in heavy rotation in the festival circuit, is a drama about the intertwined lives of passengers in a taxi. Again and Again is a dark comedy about two couples who steal a human heart and ransom it off to the highest bidder. Beware, the obligatory gory horror film, follows the story of an abused child who seeks vengeance for the abuse he's suffered by killing off random teenagers. Sounds plausible. Christian Soldiers gets points for originality (and brevity, at a mere 45 minutes) for its story of religious persecution set among the modern-day Mafia. Dirty Cop No Donut tells the tale of a demented officer of the law going over the edge in a Blair Witch Project ersatz-documentary style. Finally, Scary Tales is a horror/comedy anthology of four shorts.
The Palm Beach Gardens Independent Film Festival
PGA Cinema 6, 4075 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens
Friday through Sunday. Tickets cost $4.50 for a matinee and $5.50 for an evening show, with day passes available. Call 561-776-4000.
Organizers feel the three-day festival offers a good, healthy mix of local works and hope to attract viewers of all ages.
While this is the first time PGA Cinema 6 plays host to such an event, the concept is not foreign to its owners, who have hosted similar shows in New York City. They have designated one auditorium for the festival, where the films will be projected onto the big screen in digital video format through a special DVD projector and sound system.