Sunday, April 14, 2013
At the Regal Winter Park Cinemas, on April 12th at 2:30PM, the Florida Film Festival hosted some of the most talented new independent filmmakers every year and always sets aside one day just to pick their brains. This lively and dynamic exchange of ideas and know-how inevitably defines a high point in the festival—peppered with tales of triumph, challenge, and creative methods. The panel was moderated by Florida Film Festival selections committee member, and Rollins College Professor, Denise Cummings, Department of Critical Media and Cultural Studies.
Marc Menchaca was an actor who decided to become an independent film producer and director. His film, "This is Where We Live", is about an intelligent young man who suffers from Cerebral Palsy who has a caretaker. The scene screened showed the two in a restaurant getting ready to place an order. The caretaker tries to get an order from the young man but because communication was impossible, they can't reach a consensus. Someone waiting behind them says, "For crying out loud" and the caretaker gets abusive saying he should air his complaint to the young man with cerebral palsy. The scene packed a punch even though no punches were thrown.
Todd Looby's, film called, "Be Good", was about a young filmmaker who has a new child and he is realizing his creative freedom has vanished. Stephen Silha had a documentary called "Big Joy", about James Broughton, a poet and filmmaker in San Francisco whose mantra was "follow your Wierd". He celebrated pleasure and sexuality with humor and joy. Justin Lang was a young first time director who created a horror film called "The Dark". He recounted his youth in which he covered himself completely under the sheets in order to sleep, because his brother told him that aliens would eat him at night. Renae Su created a short animated film called, "Daisy", that is sort of a story reel with narration about a beautiful girl who always makes men fall in love with her. Her life becomes difficult when a man feels the need to possess her and he locks her in her room to keep other men from seeing her. Renae said she got the idea for the film from a male classmate who always made women uncomfortable, because he didn't know how to approach them.
When the audience was asked for questions, a woman asked Renae "How do you feel being the only woman on the panel?" Renae said that she hadn't thought about it. Then the woman asked if any of the male panelists wanted to address the issue. Justin pointed out that he had studied with and learned from many great women filmmakers. The conversation went on for some time and then Marc said, " I am part Mexican, so this panel is more diverse than you think." That got a good laugh. Afterwards in the Daily City Lounge area, several film makers complained about how much time was wasted answering questions of gender rather than discussing the creative and financial challenges of making a film.