Sissy Spacek headlines 25th Florida Film Festival 

Next month’s 10-day fest includes more movies by female filmmakers than ever before

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Oscar winner Sissy Spacek will headline the 25th Florida Film Festival next month, appearing at a special screening of Badlands (1973) on April 15 and participating in a Q&A session. The Terrence Malick film will be one of 54 feature films at the 10-day festival, which runs April 8-17.

In addition to Spacek, the festival welcomes the multi-talented Mark Duplass, who is credited with helping start the mumblecore movement. He will attend a screening of The Puffy Chair (2005), which he wrote, co-directed and starred in, on April 10 and participate in a Q&A.

The festival will again be held at the Enzian Theater in Maitland and Regal Cinemas in Winter Park Village. Enzian Forever, the plan to add two screens to the Enzian, will not affect this year's festival, as groundbreaking is not expected until later summer or early fall, pending approval by the city of Maitland.

The event will screen 180 movies (54 features and 126 shorts). That's more than ever before and up slightly from the 177 films (57 features and 120 shorts) last year. The opening-night movie is The Lobster, a dystopian, absurdist film that became one of the darlings of the festival circuit in 2015 but has not yet received even a limited release, making it highly sought after by fans of art-house cinema.

The feature categories look much the same as in previous years. The festival will offer 12 Spotlight Films, 10 movies in the Narrative Features competition, 10 in the Documentary Features competition, four International Showcase Features, four Midnight Features, three Family Films, two Food Films, three Music Films and two Florida Documentaries.

One of the two Florida doc features (Memories of a Penitent Heart) and the short that precedes it (Pink Boy) address LGBT themes. And the second, Wrestling Alligators, is directed by Andrew Shea, whom Enzian patrons might remember as the director of Portrait of Wally, which played the Central Florida Jewish Film Festival in 2012.

Retro Films include Don Chaffey's One Million Years B.C. (1966), which will be presented free of charge in Winter Park's Central Park, and Mike Nichols' Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, which will close the festival. (Both movies are celebrating their 50th anniversary.) No outdoor films are planned at Enzian, as their Pitcher Shows on the lawn have been discontinued temporarily.

Continuing the tradition of naming the narrative-shorts blocks for songs by musicians who have recently died, the festival will present "Let's Deutsche: New German Shorts" in honor of David Bowie's "Let's Dance." But the tribute doesn't stop there, as four other narrative-shorts blocks are named for Bowie compositions: "Changes," "Ashes to Ashes," "Young Americans" and "Modern Love." Also, the Documentary Shorts block is called "Where Are We Now."

The rest of the shorts blocks are similar to previous years'. There are Animated Shorts, International Shorts, International Animated Shorts and Florida Shorts: Best of Brouhaha. Last but not least, the festival will again offer – to quote former Republican presidential candidate Lindsey Graham – "bat-shit crazy" Midnight Shorts.

Thirty-six countries are represented. In addition, 24 films are making their world premieres, with 114 others getting either their U.S., regional or Florida premieres.

The event is one of fewer than 100 Oscar-accredited festivals in the world, meaning the Grand Jury winners of the live-action shorts, animated-shorts and documentary-shorts categories will be eligible for an Academy Award.

"I just love the diversity and filmmaking talent that will be on display in this year's lineup," says Enzian programming director Matthew Curtis. "With the most films we've ever programmed in one [festival], the most countries ever represented, the most female filmmakers (59), and an exciting mix of new voices and 35 [festival] alumni returning with outstanding new work, this promises to be a truly banner year."

The festival will also offer four forums, including "Perseverance: Sisters Are Doing It for Themselves" on April 13 and "An Introduction to Cinematography" on April 14. And, as always, there will be parties and special events, including the Opening Night celebration on April 8, the Awards Bash on April 16 and a farmers market on April 10.

Tickets to individual films go on sale Friday, March 18, and cost $11 for a movie after 5 p.m. and $9 for a movie at 5 p.m. or earlier. Ticket packages are available now and range from Cinematic Sampler (five films for $50) to Film Buff (10 for $95) to Aficionado (20 for $180), and all the way up to the Producer pass, which costs $1,500 and gives you priority access to everything.

For the full schedule and additional information, visit floridafilmfestival.com. And stay tuned to Orlando Weekly for full event coverage and reviews of the films.

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