I’m obsessed with movies. I rarely, if ever, go more than a week without visiting a movie theater; IMDb is one of my favorite websites and phone apps; I’m constantly researching upcoming movies, especially book adaptations; and I have important premiere dates marked in my planner.
So I’m pretty lucky that just down the street from my house is West Orange Cinema, the best movie theater ever. It’s not a big, fancy theater — there’s only six screens, and they don’t all have stadium seating; but tickets aren’t expensive, there’s a full menu in case you’re hungry, beer and wine are more than reasonably priced, and everyone who works there is super nice.
Each year over Labor Day weekend, my favorite theater is the host venue for the Central Florida Film Festival. MovieMaker magazine named it to the Top 25 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee. Let’s test that, shall we?
It’s $25 for an all-day pass, $10 for a single movie ticket, and $99 for an all-access pass. I can’t vouch for the value of the all-access pass, because they were sold out when I went to buy my ticket. But yeah, I’m guessing that kind of speaks for itself.
I purchased an all-day pass, which granted me admission to all the films that day, and got me a free popcorn and soda. Refills were just $1! I didn’t take advantage of the free soda because, well, there was wine, but also because West Orange Cinema serves Pepsi products. Its one and only flaw.
Thankfully my husband is also a movie buff (he’s completely fluent in movie quotes), so it didn’t take much convincing to get him to come along.
CENFLO 2013 featured more than 70 films in multiple genres, including feature films, shorts, documentaries, animated films and more. Many of the directors were in attendance and held Q&A sessions, and lots of the actors were there, too. One director I bumped into is actually more famous as an actor. Anyone who watches the hit show Supernatural (love it!) would easily recognize Richard Speight Jr., who played the archangel Gabriel.
Since films were being shown in three theaters simultaneously, it goes without saying that I wasn’t able to see every one. But I managed to easily squeeze in a solid 8+ hours of movie watching. Awesome.
Some of our favorites were the feature films Return to the Hiding Place and Left of Center. We stayed after Left of Center for a Q&A with the director, David Norman, and found out the movie took 2.5 years to make, with only nine days of filming. It was a Kickstarter project — an online platform for funding movies, books, music, etc.— and raised $16,000.
Following the screening of Left of Center was a Q&A with the director.
Our final film of the evening was the world premiere of Legend of the Red Reaper. The film’s star, Tara Cardinal, was there, as well as many of the other actors and crew members. She was really sweet!
Every single seat in the theater was taken, and some people stood or sat in the aisle. The definition of a packed house. Honesty is the best policy, so I’ll say that I didn’t love the movie. But part of the problem was that we happened to be sitting in front of two very enthusiastic and excited actors from the film, and they cheered (loudly) for everything and everyone, and discussed every single scene and actor. In detail. This made it very difficult to get lost in the supernatural world of the movie. To give a fair critique I would need to rewatch the film in the quiet comfort of my living room.
Included with my all-day pass were three ballots for the Audience Choice award, which I used to vote for our two favorites that were previously mentioned. Winners were announced during the Sunday evening awards show. I wasn’t able to attend, but I follow CENFLO on Twitter, and thankfully they quickly posted the winning films.
I will absolutely, without a doubt be attending CENFLO next year, and I recommend you do the same. Especially if it continues the tradition of being held at West Orange Cinema, the best theater ever.
Congratulations to the 2013 CENFLO winners!
Documentary — Running for Jim
Feature Film — Return to the Hiding Place (yay!)
Animated — Ember
Foreign — Sex on the Beach (UK)
Florida Project — Blind Pass
Paul Leder Award — Something Beautiful
Comedy Short — America 101
Dramatic Short — If I Were a Bell
Audience Choice — You Will Love Me (Dang! I missed this one because I was in another theater.)