Sunshine in a Cannes

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Here's one to dwell on if your 2002 travel plans involve the words "Boise" or "Motel 6." Three students from Full Sail Real World Education -- Kareem Edouard, Russell Lafreniere and Ryan Gates -- will spend May 11 through 28 at the Cannes Film Festival as part of a work-study program sponsored by Kodak.

It's not entirely a pleasure cruise. The guys have to work six hours per day in the festival's American Pavilion business and hospitality center. They are responsible for their own air travel, and each student must pay a $1,850 program fee and a nonrefundable $45 application fee.

What do they get in return? Two meals a day. Apartment lodgings. Entry into workshops and seminars with industry professionals. Screenings of their own student films in the American Pavilion. Badges that get them into other people's screenings and parties. And, perhaps most important, what apprentice player Edouard has already learned to call "face time" with industry bigwigs.

"I could be sitting next to Martin Scorsese, Tom Cruise ... you name it," says Edouard, a Miami-born 20-year-old of Haitian descent who transferred to Full Sail after 19 months at the University of Florida. "`But` I'm not going over there to get a job," he cautions. "I'm just there to fill up a Rolodex."

Edouard was the first of the three Full Sail students accepted by Kodak, plucked from a national pool of 4,000 applicants that was whittled down to 40 winners. He had to submit five essays and a copy of his film, "Uninspired," a 15-minute short about a scriptwriter who has to decide between remaining independent and going Hollywood. Edouard, who admires Godard and Truffaut, says he's more likely to follow the former path in his own career, producing indie fare through his company, World's Greatest Haitian Films. But, in one respect, he has already learned to operate like a mogul: He found a private donor to fund his Cannes trip.

Will the ends justify the cost? The Kodak program's literature warns that attendance at seminars and screenings is subject to ticket availability and room capacity. But Haxan Films' Mike Monello, who attended Cannes in 1999, says the pavilion is such a hub of activity that Edouard et al are almost certain to benefit. One over-sized Rolodex, coming up.

Fringe benefits

As soon as word circulated that a fire had destroyed the Orlando International Fringe Festival's storehouse of supplies `The Green Room, April 4`, concerned parties began to volunteer their fund-raising support. A benefit concert is set for April 20 at the Back Booth, and the new Creative Stages school in Winter Park will host an April 28 auction of art and related goods, augmented by musical and theatrical performances by Fringers.

"I feel like Jimmy Stewart at the end of "It's A Wonderful Life,"" says Chris Gibson, the festival's executive producer. (It's better than feeling like Warren Beatty at the end of "Bonnie and Clyde.")

The Fringe venues will be a bit easier to find in 2002, with a full five located in the Church Street Exchange. The temporary theaters will be spaced far enough apart to minimize sound problems, Gibson says, and there's no danger of audible interference from the now-shuttered Terror on Church Street attraction, as was experienced when a few Fringe shows were held in the Exchange last year. Let's hear it for failed businesses!

Fringe 2002 will inhabit the first-floor Exchange space that playwright Jeanie Linders last year retained for her phenomenally successful, non-Fringe "Menopause: The Musical." That show, Orlando's only national breakout of 2001, is now playing off-Broadway. A review in the April 6 issue of the New York Times even compared Linders' revue to "The Vagina Monologues" -- anatomically, it should be noted, not artistically.

White out

The hoped-for visit of West Virginian cult celebrity Jesco White April 4 to the Back Booth collapsed one day before the "dancing outlaw" was to appear. According to the club's co-owner, Ryan Marshall, word of the paying gig re-ignited old resentments among White's relatives, who somehow feel entitled to a share of anything he earns. Reportedly, they even threatened to "tear his house apart" while he was out of town.

White wants to reschedule at the BB as soon as his family believes the show is a dead issue. Better yet, why not invite the entire clan down for Thanksgiving dinner? They sound like a delight.

Hurry sundown

The Winter Park City Commission and Enzian Theater have teamed up to host a monthly series of free movie screenings at sunset in Central Park. The alfresco cinema begins with an April 18 showing of "Some Like It Hot," the classic comedy directed by the late Billy Wilder. Enzian will supply gratis popcorn, and Park Avenue businesses will remain open later than usual to capitalize on the hoped-for influx of customers -- a smart move for a neighborhood that has an unfortunate, post-nightfall habit of locking itself up as tight as Joan Collins' face.

Other classic films will be screened on the third Thursday of each month -- and, yes, that schedule puts the Central Park "Popcorn Flicks" series in competition with downtown Orlando's struggling "Third Thursdays." With Orlando and Winter Park vying for the honor of housing the Enzian's much-discussed second screen, it looks as if the latter burg has just scored a victory of some measure.

Jello shots

The audience of power-to-the-people advocates that turned up for Jello Biafra's April 7 spoken-word gig at the University of Central Florida was made to wait like benumbed livestock for a show that started a full hour late. Co-promoter Jim Faherty poked his head out from behind the closed doors of the school's Student Resource Center but offered no explanation for the delay as stage hands carted in equipment well after the announced 7 p.m. start time. Biafra finally took the stage to decry the evils of corporate monopolies, leaving Faherty -- whose own memorable stab at playing Monopoly led him to federal court -- to man Biafra's merchandise table. The score: irony 1, priorities 0.

Sorry I asked

The April 7 screening at Enzian of the film "New York in the Fifties" was followed by a Q&A with musician David Amram and author Dan Wakefield. In attendance was Orange County Arts and Cultural Affairs Administrator Terry Olson, who posed an innocuous question about community-building within the creative fields. Amram's reply gently downplayed governmental funding of the arts, which just happens to be Olson's bailiwick. Yow!

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