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Drive-Through Cinema

Broward-based filmmaker John Craven first became interested in the stories of South Florida’s homeless when he would film videos for his skate crew, a group of freestyle rollerbladers. “When I would film our skate videos we’d encounter all these homeless people who would want to hang out,” Craven recalls. “Some were chill and just wanted to watch, and we’d end up talking to these people. They had some real passions that they lost, kids that they talked about, things from their past. You’d hear these stories and you couldn’t help but be enthralled by them.”

Those interactions inspired Craven — a burgeoning director who left his birthplace of Plantation to attend the New York Film Academy — to write his first full-length movie: Fast Food. It’s the tale of Raymond White Sanchez (Josh Lamboy), a prodigious young trumpet player who moves to Miami to pursue his dream of becoming a great musician. But the Magic City turns out to be more than Raymond can handle — gigs are hard to come by, and his menial job at a fast food restaurant isn’t paying the bills. So just like that, Raymond finds himself out on the street, his dreams melting away in the Florida sun.

Craven filmed the dramatic-comedy in downtown Miami, South Beach, and Fort Lauderdale, and drew from a host of South Florida actors and comedians, including Anthony E. Valentin and Ricky Cruz, winner of the Best New Comedian award at the 2008 South Beach Comedy Festival. And though homelessness is a subject usually bereft of comedy, Craven says Cruz and company create plenty of lighthearted moments in the film. “There’s some humor coming by way of the antagonists, but there is also a goofy innocence to Raymond that’s very funny,” he says.

Fast Food will get its first screening Sunday at 3:30 p.m. at Cinema Paradiso, located at 503 SE Sixth St. in Fort Lauderdale. The event is invite only, but Craven will give out up to 30 free tickets to those who sign up in advance at fastfood-movie.com.
Sun., March 8, 3:30 p.m., 2009

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John Linn

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