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Ten Films/Events We’re Betting Will Not Be a Waste of Your (or our) Time

You don't have time to read all this, we understand. Frankly, we don't have time to write it. We'd rather be watching the movies, too. The Florida Film Festival is here (March 7-16) and there's over 200 freaking hours of film available to see! And if the 10-day cinema orgy is anything representative of the last few years of "independent" cinema, we’re betting— if you were, say, to sit through every scheduled hour— that’ll translate into about 180 hours you’ll wish you had back. We’ve also learned to trust the selections committee as far as we can spot Seymour Cassell.
So, we’re narrowing the schedule down to the ten (give or take) films or events we’re betting will be well worth your time (approx. 20 hours). And honestly, even if they suck, we’re sure these hours will facilitate some sort of contemplative conversation after the credits roll. Plus, we’ve had some kick-ass gut feelings about these festival films over the last decade. Shoot, we’re so confident in our choices, we'd be willing to place bets on their worthiness. If we had the time, that is.

FYI: Visit for all the technical specs— schedules, prices, theaters, directions, etc. or call 407.629.8587 to request that Seymour stays away.
Now go to the festival and watch these films…

Spun 101 minutes
USA/France, 2002, directed by Jonas Akerlund
March 15 at Midnight or March 16 at 9:30pm
Genre: Hip Flick Masquerading as an Independent
Worthiness Factors: Jonas Akerlund’s debut feature, he also directed Madonna’s "Ray of Light" and "Music." Ok, it’s not exactly (like, a totally, fo’ real, cha, $5 million budget!) an independent film— cast includes hot young Hollywood’s like Patrick Fugit, Brittany Murphy, Jason Schwartzman, Mena Suvari, as well as Mickey Rourke. Cameos by Billy Corgan (did the soundtrack too) and Ron Jeremy. What’s it about? See: Trainspotting. See also: Requiem for a Dream.
The Bet: Jonas must really be trippin if he thinks he can top Aronofsky. Still cannot wait to see him try. Bring on the sex, drugs and insanity!

Coastlines 109 min.
USA, 2001-02, directed by Victor Nunez
March 8 at 6:15pm or March 13 at 7pm
Genre: Independent Romantic Drama
Worthiness Factors: Florida filmmaker Victor Nunez, who also brought us Ruby in Paradise and Ulee's Gold, again, brings us a story of love and trust gone awry.
The Bet: It won't be on any top 10 lists next year, but if it's independent cinema your brooding for, no filmmaker defines it better and is more loyal to his roots than Nunez. Plus, you know what the say about the third time.

Stevie 140 min.
USA, 2002, directed by Steve James
March 9 at 4:30pm or March 14 at 7pm
Genre: 100% Pure Documentary-Based Adrenaline
Worthiness Factors: Visionary documentarian/humanitarian who directed one of the greatest docs ever, Hoop Dreams, gets personal this time, tracking the life of a kid he used to play Big Brother to.
The Bet: Count on it affecting you. Oscar meet Stevie. Stevie, Oscar…

4. Midnight Music Video Showcase 70 min.
March 12 at Midnight
Genre: Short Form Music Videos
Worthiness Factors: The FFF has never done something like this (hard to believe?) but it’s definitely a sign of this years’ highly eclectic and original programming. Videos from Flaming Lips, Prodigy, The Hives, Zero 7, Interpol, Badly Drawn Boy, The Avalanches, and more. Oh, and Moby of course.
The Bet: Who cares as long as we can check out the Sigur Ros video, "Short Films," directed by Floria Sigismondi.

5. An Afternoon with James Caan Featuring
Thief 122 min.
USA, 1981, directed by Michael Mann
March 15 at 1pm
Genre: Old School Crime Flick
Worthiness Factors: Please, unless you’re a Mom of a 30-year old, screw the James Caan brush with fame Q&A. The FFF is showing Thief on the big screen for crying out loud! The movie that kicked things off for Michael Mann—before Heat, before "Miami Vice," before Manhunter. An incredibly cool opportunity.
A Quick Review: The influences Thief— about as genuine a portrayal of big-time cops and robbers as there's ever been on screen— has brought to the modern crime drama are legendary. Watching it for the first time, you might even say to yourself (if you were a true movie geek, of course), "This guy’s ripped off every angle in the book." You’d sort of be right, too. Only Mann wrote the book. Thief is a genre-defining, cinematic classic.

6. Opening Night Party with James Foley and
Ed Burns Featuring Confidence 98min.
USA, 2002, directed by James Foley
March 7 at 7pm
Genre: Movie That Comes out Next Month at Mall Near You Followed by a Hollywood Schmooze-Fest
Worthiness Factors: None for the film, really. Foley’s hit or miss. And his hits (Reckless, At Close Range, Glengarry Glenn Ross) are very dated. The party on the other hand, ahh! How can you pass up the chance to get liquored up and mingle with Ed "The Guy Who Dated That Bimbo Heather Graham" Burns?
The Bet: $100 to the first person to ask Burnsy, "How she was in the sack?" (which leads us to…)

7. Midnight Shorts, specifically: Stunt Cocks 8.5 min.
USA, 2002, directed by Tom Hodges
The Man with the Smallest Penis… 8.5 min.
USA, 2002, directed by Patrick O’Brien
March 8 and March 14 at Midnight
Genre: Short/Animated Short
Worthiness Factors: You have to be limp in the head not to understand how culturally important these two films (showing as a part of the always insane, always memorable Midnight Shorts) are going to be once we go to war. C’mon!
The Bet: Hard to say, stupid dick jokes only go so far.

Coney Island Baby 94 min.
USA/Ireland, 2002, directed by Amy Hobby
March 8 at 2:30 pm, March 12 at 9:30 pm, or
March 15 at 7pm
Genre: Independent Romantic Comedy
Worthiness Factors: About seven years ago, while interviewing her for her first producing gig, Nadja, Winter Park’s own Amy Hobby told me the line of all lines: She always wanted to direct. And this is how she was going to do it: "Just plugging away, keeping at it and not giving up and going to work at The Gap."
A Quick Review: First things first, order a Bass Ale (then concentrate on the first ever opening credits-homage to a great bitta’). Next, forget all you know about Coney Island. Ok, now you’re ready to enjoy a hilariously life-affirming story of a small town rebel who returns home to get back his girl. Coney Island Baby proves for its fictional characters as well as its real-life crew, persistence pays off.

9. Jeff Buckley: Everybody Here Wants You 60 min. UK, 2002, directed by Serena Cross
March 10 at 9:30 pm or March 15 at 4:15 pm
Genre: Music Documentary
Worthiness Factors: If you don’t know Jeff Buckley, now’s an excellent time to get acquainted. Interviews with Chrissie Hynde, Jimmy Page, Patti Smith and former girlfriend Cocteau Twins's Elizabeth Fraser. Plays before Richard Thompson: Solitary Life.
The Bet: After it’s over, You’ll wish he could come on stage for a Q&A.

10. 3 Foreign Films:
Lilya 4-Ever 109 min.
Sweden, 2002, Directed by Lukas Moodyson
March 15 at 9:30pm

The Man on the Train (L'Homme du Train) 90 min.
France, 2002, Directed by Patrice Leconte
March 9 at 9:45 pm
Genre: Foreign Films You Won’t Mind Reading Subtitles
Worthiness Factors: Moodyson also directed Together; Javier Bardem stars in a film that beat out Pedro Almodovar’s Talk to Her as Spain’s official entry for Best Foreign Film; Leconte also directed Girl on the Bridge.
The Bet: Cultural enlightenment is never, and we mean never, a waste of time.

Mondays in the Sun (Los Lunes al Sol) 113 min.
Spain, 2002, Directed by Fernando Leon de Aranoa
March 12 at 7:15pm or March 16 at 7pm

Uhh, One More… Kind of
(A World Premiere Event in Enzian’s Backyard)

Smoking Ninjas
USA, 2002, directed by Daniel Dennis and Blackbean
Saturday, March 8 at 9:30 in the courtyard at Enzian Theater
Genre: Radio Dudes Make A Film
Worthiness Factor: A Savannah Naked! Fun, Brews, who knows what else. It’s the monsters!
The Bet: We’re thinking since it got denied a spot in the actual festival, it either really really sucked or it’s too hot, too sick, too controverisal, or just too damn fucked up to show any place else but out back in the woods behind the big house…Uh, we’re thinking the latter too.