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Film Festival is set to deliver big-screen fun
There will be no shortage of local talent featured at the upcoming, 9th Annual Central Florida Film Festival (CENFLO).
It takes place over Labor Day weekend – Aug. 29-31 – at West Orange Cinema, 1575 Maguire Road, Ocoee. And its list of stars include Gotha resident Jeff Chase, who has appeared in movies such as “The Mechanic,” “Looper,” “Mission: Impossible III,” “Star Trek” and “Star Trek Into Darkness,” as well as numerous television shows, such as “Dexter.”
Chase, who was born in New Jersey, will help highlight the festival by participating in an interview and Q & A at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 30.
The 46-year-old actor and stuntman said he began attending CENFLO as a patron in 2008, and that he has known Bob Cook, the festival’s executive director, for about 15 years.
“(Cook) asked me to be a part of it,” Chase said of this year’s fest. “My resume and body of work had gotten more significant.”
He said CENFLO has grown bigger and better every year and is a great service to people in the movie industry.
“It gives a lot of younger filmmakers the opportunity to learn and get their products out there,” Chase said. “I really enjoy being a part of it.”
One of his acting roles he said he is most proud of was his work in 2011’s “The Mechanic.” And fans will see him again soon, in the movie, “Dark Places,” which stars Charlize Theron and will be released in September.
“I play a serial killer,” Chase said.
A jam-packed lineup
A total of 79 films will be shown on three of the six screens at West Orange Cinema, which has hosted the festival since 2009. The lineup includes 31 films from Florida, including the world premier of the feature film, “Untold.”
Shot in Orlando, this movie is based on a true story about child abduction. It will premier at 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 30.
In addition, the short film, “Dateless,” directed by Ocoee resident Soreyrith Um, will be shown during a comedy short film block that begins at 3 p.m. Friday, Aug. 29. “Dateless” is about two women who look for love on Valentine’s Day.
The festival also will include independent films starring actors such as Tom Sizemore, Gary Busey and C. Thomas Howell. VIP’s at the event will include Felissa Rose from “Sleepaway Camp,” Tara Cardinal from “Legend of the Red Reaper” andRichard Speight Jr. from television’s “Supernatural.”
More than 200 films were submitted to the festival’s 22-member selection committee. Cook, who has made more than a dozen films and wrote the guide, “Acting for Idiots,” said the judges rated the submissions in categories such as script, continuity, direction, camera work, sound and editing. The top-scoring films then underwent a final round of judging.
“If you don’t get (accepted), I create a critique and send it to the filmmaker with their rejection letter,” Cook said in an email to The West Orange Times. “Very few if any film festivals do this.”
Concluding the festival will be an awards show and wrap party on Aug. 31 in the lounge at the Sabal Hotel, 10945 W. Colonial Drive, Ocoee. Awards will include the Audience Choice Award and those given for best documentary, best feature and best Florida project.
All winners receive plaques and all finalists receive a certificate and laurels, Cook said.
Patrick Sirois, co-owner of the West Orange Cinema, said the cinema’s partnership with the festival has been going very well.
“It’s been growing every year since we started (hosting the event),” Sirois said of the fest.
He said the cinema a few years ago underwent a major renovation that included lobby and restroom additions and upgrades, as well as construction of its sixth theater.
Cook said Sirois is an independent film exhibitor, a real fan of film and filmmaking, and an excellent supporter of the festival, which was moved from Kissimmee to Ocoee five years ago.
“(Sirois and I) agreed that the Labor Day weekend was the slowest part of the summer and that (the fest) would energize not only business to the theater, but for the city of Ocoee, as well,” Cook said.
Single movie tickets for the film festival are $10. An all-day “Movie Watcher” pass costs $25 and includes admission, a guaranteed seat to all of the festival’s films on that day, and a medium popcorn and soft drink.
Visit centralfloridafilmfestival.com for tickets, the full festival schedule and more information.