The Florida Film Festival has been over for less than a week. But if you’re a festival junkie and can’t wait for Fringe, fear not, for the 15-Minutes of Fame Film Festival has relocated from Cocoa Beach to Orlando and will be screening roughly 50 short movies this weekend – for free – at the International Palms Resort and Conference Center on I-Drive.
This mini-festival has an odd history. Although this is its seventh year – and 12th festival, thanks to its sporadic scheduling – this is its first time in Orlando, which means expectations should be kept to a minimum regarding the quality and the display of the films. However, three factors make the festival more attractive than it might appear at first glance.
First, it’s in an area sorely lacking in festivals – but not in audience. The hotel, at 6515 International Drive, is in the heart of tourist country, halfway between Sand Lake Road and Wet ‘n Wild.
Second, it’s a nice showcase for local filmmakers, some of whom will be in attendance. In this respect, it has a lot in common with the Enzian’s monthly FilmSlam, though many of the 56 films being show here may share FilmSlam’s low-budget and student-film feel. Still, with dramas, comedies, thrillers, animated films, experimental movies, music videos and documentaries from around the world, there may be some topnotch surprises.
Third, the event is free and promises complimentary parking as well. That convenience, combined with the easy-to-follow schedule of hour-long blocks, makes this one of the most user-friendly mini-festivals ever.
“For the past six years, our screenings have all been in Brevard County in a variety of different venues,” says co-director Migdalia Etheridge, who runs the event with her husband, Ray. “We moved the festival into Orlando this year because it is more centrally located, making it easier for filmmakers to attend. All of the screenings will be in one room, so that the audience will not miss any. [Dolphin Room] capacity is 100, so getting a seat will not be a problem.”
As with smaller festivals, however, don’t expect stadium seating or movie-palace projection.
“We are completely non-sponsored and have been able to offer our shows free by sticking to a no-frills approach to our presentation,” Etheridge says. “The films are projected onto a pulldown seven-foot screen from desktop DLP projectors. We use either Blu-ray or standard DVDs, depending on how the movies were sent to us. There are also awards, without the expensive banquet, and Q&A sessions with the filmmakers. We try to keep everything casual, and the filmmakers seem to appreciate that. There is plenty of time for networking, and it's always fun.”
Belying the festival’s name, films run from 5 to 27 minutes. (We also have no explanation for the unnecessary hyphen in the event title.)
The event will take place from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Saturday, and from noon until 7 p.m. on Sunday. No tickets or reservations are required. For more information, and to see the complete schedule, visit http://15minutefilmfest.com/index.html