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Film Festival

03/26/2014 at 9:42am

FMB Film FestivalFilm Festival Sneak Peek

April is an extra special month on Fort Myers Beach as one of the island's most exciting events takes place this month: Estero Boulevard will be lined with stars for six days beginning on Tuesday, April 22 as the 8th Annual Fort Myers Beach Film Festival comes to town. The hard-working organizers and volunteers responsible for this wonderful event that gets bigger every year have scheduled all kinds of fun things designed to please everyone from young kids to budding filmmakers looking to get into the business - from the 'Fun in Flip Flops Cruise' the night before the Festival opens to the closing awards ceremony Sunday night at Beach Theater (see page 26 for a listing of all events). While a complete schedule of the films that will be shown was not available at press time, Artistic Director Elizabeth D'Onofrio Halladay gave us a sneak peek at some of the amazing talent that is coming our way, and also told us a little bit about some of the films and the workshops scheduled Friday and Saturday mornings at Beach Theater.

"One of the films I'm really excited to show is the south Florida premiere of a feature called 'Last I Heard', Elizabeth told us. "This is about an ailing Mafia Capo, who is released after serving a 20-year sentence. As he tries to reconnect with his daughter and establish a relationship with his neighbor, he realizes that the life he knew no longer exists and nothing is the same as it was before he went away.”

'Last I Heard' is written and directed by Dave Rodriguez and stars Paul Sorvino, Michael Rapaport, Renee Props and Chazz Palminteri.

"Another really good one is the short film, 'Hollywood and Beyond' about the life of Johnny Martino,” D'Onofrio told us. "Johnny's race to movie stardom proved to be even more spectacular than his instant fame as a singer. Today, Johnny is racing toward a new goal. He has been to Hollywood. Now he is ready to go beyond.” This film is directed by Gary Lester, written by Richard Lester and stars John Martino.

One of the most interesting documentaries to air at this year's festival is 'The Joe Show', which will allow folks a glimpse into the life of controversial Arizona Sheriff, Joe Arpaio.

"Racism, sex crimes, illegal immigration, first amendment rights, deaths at the hands of his employees - even Obama's birth certificate - are all issues Joe faces and spins,” Elizabeth said. "A movie that will engage and enlighten both Joe's detractors and supporters, The Joe Show takes a look at how democracy can survive when persuading voters becomes more important than protecting them.” 'The Joe Show' is directed by Randy Murray and has a star-studded cast of Larry King, Steven Seagal, Hugh Downs, Ted Nugent, Dan Ariely and Noam Chomsky

The first workshop - Self Propelled Filmmaking - is scheduled for Friday, April 25, at 11:00 am at the Beach Theater.

"This workshop will be an informative yet lighthearted experience that will inspire your inner most creative side and show you the affordable tools and resources used by festival award winning filmmakers, Kyle B. Thompson, Chad Gurgiel and National Geographic photographer, Joshua Howard,” Elizabeth told us.

The second workshop, called the Fort Myers Beach Talk Fest, is scheduled the following day at 11:00 am and allows participants to have conversations with film professionals. This informative workshop is open to new filmmakers and/or anyone interested in the process of filmmaking and offers a rare opportunity to learn the business from those who know it best.

The panel of experts will include Producer and writer, Stanley Isaacs, whose current project, 'Tough Ain't Enough: Conversations with Albert S. Ruddy' will kick off this year's film festival; legendary actor and singer Johnny Martino who has been on Dick Clark's American Bandstand, and starred as Paulie Gatto in "The Godfather”; director and writer Michael Marin is a screenwriter as well as a former Peace Corps volunteer, aid worker, and war correspondent; Actress, writer, & producer Tara Cardinal who frequently appears in horror and fantasy films and likes to perform her own stunts. Ruth T. Paul joins the panel as a SAG/AFTRA representative, serving as a liaison between producers and performers for the greater Southeastern United States; Actress and singer Jo Marie Payton formerly starred in the hit television series, 'Family Matters'. Her credits include Desperate Housewives, Reba, Will & Grace, 7th Heaven, Moesha, and The Jamie Foxx Show. Producer Kevin Sharpley is the president and CEO of Kijik Multimedia Inc., a full service production company. He is also a filmmaker, actor and Chairman of the Miami-Dade County Film and Entertainment Advisory Board. WGCU Public Media's Barbara Lindstrom is a producer of local, award-winning television productions that range from a Curious Kids show to documentaries on Southwest Florida's rich and fascinating history and environmental issues.

Tickets for Friday’s luncheon workshop are $30 per person; Saturday’s luncheon panel discussion tickets are $40. For more information about the Eighth Annual Fort Myers Beach Film Festival or to purchase festival passes, contact the event staff at 239-314-9234, via email at info@fmbfilmfest.comor visit the website at


Keri Hendry Weeg