The Enzian Theater held a sneak preview of the films that will be featured in this year's Florida Film Festival. When I arrived, there was quite a crowd gathered at the Eden Bar outside. As I was milling about, I bumped into Jordana Meade, the Enzian publicist, and I was pleased and delighted when she directed me to a table inside to pick up a press pass for the festival. Back outside, Lynn Warnicke was shouting at me from behind the table where they were issuing wristbands. I thought I was above needing a wristband after getting my shiny new press pass, but she insisted I needed one and closed the deal when she told me I could get a free beer. Band me up! The free beer was being offered by Peroni and I quickly picked one up from the lovely woman behind the bar. It was rather sharp-tasting and thin for my tastes, but hey, that didn't stop me from drinking it.
In the theater, there was an area roped off for press, and it took me a while before I finally realized that meant I could sit front and center. Feeling self-conscious, I ducked under the rope. I immediately found an empty table and started sketching. Mark Baratelli and his crew from TheDailyCity.com came over to my table and joined me. They all had samples of the food being offered. I had skipped the food not wanting to wait in line. Jordana sat down with us saying, "I want to join the cool kids." She explained that the theme of the festival has to do with savoring the flavors of the south. Deena Beena had a bright pink pickle and Jordana explained that it was a pickle soaked in Kool-aid, called a Koolickle, and it was a southern delicacy. In a gift bags given to all the press, there was also Barkolate, which is chocolate covered bacon provided by Chateau Confections of Winter Park. This year the festival has a deal with Nestle and they have an endless supply of Cranberry Raisinets!
Back on stage, Governing Board Member, Henry Maldonado,gave a brief introduction to a film which highlights what the Festival has to offer this year. The Florida Film Festival allows you to rub shoulders and even share a drink with the filmmakers themselves. I know that this year I will be offering plenty of sketches from the front lines of this amazing festival which runs from April 9th to April 18th. Mark your calenders and get ready for an exhilarating experience. Welcome home to ten days of film, food and friends.