Delray Film Festival boasts bigger budget, fewer films (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
The festival runs today through Sunday and will feature 280 films, down from last year's more than 400, so that the best pictures are screened more than once for audiences.
Though the number of films has been reduced, festival founder Michael Posner said he received 800 film entries this year, double last year.
The film festival's budget has increased to $225,000, but Posner still expects to put $100,000 of his own money into the event. This year, the city of Delray Beach gave the festival $3,000, the Palm Beach County Film and Television Commission gave $4,500 and the county's Tourist Development Council gave $7,000, a major improvement over last year, when Posner said he received no financial assistance from the area.
"Last year, they didn't think I was going to pull it off, but we were successful, city businesses made money and people had a good time," Posner said.
More than 100 filmmakers are expected to visit the city, promoting their movies, meeting with entertainment industry executives and taking in the South Florida weather.
"We have some really amazing foreign films this year," Posner said. "And I'm trying once again to promote Delray Beach -- the city, the beaches and the weather."
This year's featured films include:
Bon Cop, Bad Cop: the highest-grossing film in Canada, this action/comedy looks at what happens when a crime is committed on the border of Quebec and Ontario and two mismatched cops are forced to work together.
Pope Dreams: An award-winner at the 2006 Atlanta Film Festival, it's the touching story of a teenager struggling for identity while fulfilling the last wishes of his dying mother, a devout Catholic who wants to meet the pope.
Ladrones y Mentirosos (Thieves and Liars): Directed by Ricardo M–ndez Matta, this Spanish-language drama tells the story of three Puerto Rican families struggling to stay together in a society overcome by corruption and drugs. Ladrones is part of a day of South American films in Spanish and Portuguese to be presented on Sunday.
Last year, 15,000 people attended the film festival, based on audience ballots. While the event didn't turn a profit, it achieved recognition and showed 423 films.
Three were sold to film distributors, Posner said.
"I went into the Delray Beach Film Festival as just another struggling filmmaker desperate to get my movie seen and came out of it with an international distribution deal," said Jim Hemphill, the director and writer of Bad Reputation, a horror film purchased by Maverick Entertainment Group in Deerfield Beach.
Posner calls the festival a "filmmaker's festival" loaded with parties, happy hours and even surfing lessons to encourage mingling.
This year, a filmmaker will shoot a short film during the festival to be screened on the last day, a challenge Posner created for the event.
"This will be the ultimate guerilla-filmmaking challenge," said Los Angeles filmmaker Mason Canter, who with his brother, Markus, and others will be making the movie The Ticket. The film is about a crazy homeless man who says he's won the lottery.
Hollywood, Fla., filmmaker Louis Pappas wrote the screenplay and is returning to the festival to screen The Halls of Jacob, a short film about an orphan thrown into the dangerous foster care system who longs to learn what happened to his real parents.
"The film festival is just an absolute blast, a pleasure to attend," Pappas said. "For a small filmmaker, it's almost impossible to make it out of the country or across the country [to show your film]. Having a hometown festival is a huge boost."
Ivette M. Yee can be reached at email@example.com or 561-243-6538.
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