In addition to the world premiere of Because of Charley, one of the first feature-length projects filmed in the Orlando region after the pandemic began, 13 other films in the festival have ties to the Orlando region.

Celebrating 30 years of film as art, the annual Florida Film Festival is set to begin April 9 with 14 days of in-person and virtual film screenings. With the Enzian Theater again serving as host, the Florida Film Festival remains the only Oscar®-qualifying film festival in the state. The Orlando Film Commission is proud to return as sponsor of the event, and will be featured on a live forum discussing “Filming in the Time of COVID-19“.  

In a very fitting move, the opening night party will feature the world premiere of Because of Charley, which was one of the first feature-length projects filmed in the Orlando region after the pandemic began. The Orlando Film Commission assisted with permitting for the feature and the project became a great example of how to complete productions safely and effectively during a very uncertain time. 

Two celebrity events are also part of the program, including an evening with famed actor and director Karen Allen, featuring Starman, as well as an evening with Isabella Rossellini, featuring Blue VelvetBoth events will have the actresses joining via Zoom for a live Q&A.  

In addition to Because of Charley, 13 other films in the festival have ties to the Orlando region. 

Narrative Features 

My Fiona 

A narrative feature entry, My Fiona follows a young woman’s evolving relationship with a friend’s widow. The lead actor is originally from Florida and went to the University of Central Florida (UCF) for theater. 

The Old Ways 

Another narrative feature entry, The Old Ways tells the story of a Mexican-American journalist who returns to her ancestral hometown, following a story on witchcraft. Writer Marcos Gabriel is from Casselberry and graduated from Lake Howell High School. 

Documentary Shorts 

No Man’s Land 

A documentary short, No Man’s Land reveals the story of a lesbian community founded in rural Alabama in the 1970s. Co-director Gabriella Canal grew up in Longwood. 

Takes Four Years to Grow Coffee 

Another entry into the documentary short competition, Takes Four Years to Grow Coffee details the struggles of Puerto Rican coffee farmers in the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Director Omar Young lives in Orlando and graduated from the University of Central Florida with a BFA in film production. 

Narrative Shorts 

ASMR for White Liberals 

We’ll just give you this short’s description verbatim from the festival website: “Liberal? White? Guilty as hell? I don’t know who needs to hear this… but it’s probably you.” The star of ASMR For White Liberals is from Orlando. 

Plaisir 

Plaisir follows a young woman who travels to a French commune as she looks to find herself again after a breakup. The editor of the film is originally from Maitland. 

Sunshine & Swampland – New Florida Shorts 

Short Shorts 

Directed by Central Floridian Karina Dandashi, this Central Florida-filmed short follows the day-to-day life of an American Muslim teenage girl. Short Shorts also won the 2020 Central Florida Film Slam. 

Sitting Still 

Filmed in Orlando and directed by UCF alumni Frank Volk, Sitting Still presents an experimental short that aims to capture the “anxiety of a digital existence during lockdown” 

Through the Cymbals I Will Watch 

This animated short tells the story what’s behind the journey we take while in a dream state. Through the Cymbals I Will Watch is co-directed by UCF graduate Karlo Corona. 

Midnight Shorts 

Sharkbaby 

Voiced by Dana Snyder from the Cartoon Network’s Aqua Teen Hunger Force, this animated short tells the story of a baby shark (hence the name Sharkbaby). Director Steven Sea graduated from Valencia College and is a former Full Sail University guest lecturer. Rob Reider, also a former Full Sail University professor, provides the audio. 

Sunspots 

Car Ride 

This avant-garde short recounts a dissociative car ride, with all audio dubbed over to avoid the Baker Act. Filmed in Orlando, Car Ride’s Director Dro Watson is from Orlando. 

Ventana 

Ventana is an avant-garde short that explores the relationship between memory and filmmaking. Director Edgar Jorge Baralt graduated from UCF. 

Food Films 

Personal Story of Chef Tawatchai 

Following the story of a local chef, Personal Story of Chef Tawatchais Director Channarong Buapim is based in Orlando. 

The Orlando Film Commission acts as a central information source for on-location productions, providing location assistance, one-stop permitting and a comprehensive production directory. For more information, visit FilmOrlando.org