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yesterday, 04/16/2015 at 3:26pm

Film Fest Float9th Annual Fort Myers Beach Film Festival

For one week every year, Estero Boulevard literally becomes lined with stars. Beginning Tuesday, April 21, independent film fans, filmmakers, distributors and stars will come to our emerald shores from all over the world for the 9th Annual Fort Myers Beach Film Festival. This event continues to get bigger and better every year as our humble little island is becoming known as a place where ideas and creativity flow as free as the balmy Gulf breeze, and that's thanks in large part to the dedication and hard work of the volunteers and organizers who make the Film Festival a reality each year. One of those organizers is Executive Director Janeen Paulauskis, who offered our readers a sneak peek into what they have in store for the festival this year.

"Well, for starters, our theme this year is 'Super Heroes', and we are doing two free film screenings on the beach based on that theme,” she said. "Those films are 'BIG HERO 6”, which will be shown poolside at the Pink Shell on Thursday, April 23rd, and 'The Avengers', which will be shown the following night - Friday, April 24th - on the beach behind the Outrigger.”

Janeen told us that the festival's opening film also keeps the 'Super Heroes' theme, in that it honors real life heroes.

"We will be screening 'Heroes Behind the Badge' on Wednesday at 3pm at the Beach Theater, and we've invited members of the Lee County Sheriff's Office, the Fort Myers Beach Fire District, the Coast Guard and park rangers at Lover's Key State Park to join us,” she said. "The film is a documentary about the actual daily life of these officers and what dangers they face. It's very uplifting…we thought it would make a great opener.”

Paulauskis said that all members of every type of law enforcement are invited to attend the screening of Heroes Behind the Badge - at a reduced rate to honor them for their service.

"Another really cool thing we're doing this year is we're teaming up with Beach Elementary again,” she continued. "We've asked all the fourth grade students to create their own video…showing how they have been a super hero in their everyday life. Anything from taking out the trash when mom's had a long day, to helping a friend with their homework to just doing something unexpected and special can make them a super hero. We wanted to teach them that you don't have to have special powers to be someone special.”

The students will be working with Beach Elementary Technology Specialist Jackie DeMilia and Film Festival Artistic Director Elizabeth D'Onofrio to put their short films together, and the results will be screened on Sunday, April 26th at 3pm at Beach Theater.

The Film Festival will again feature workshops on Friday and Saturday.

For a full description of events, including the list of films and ticket information, please visit

See you at the movies!

Keri Hendry Weeg