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GCT Extra

Shifting the Film Tides
Independent Filmmaking Festival hits Fort Myers Beach

Benjamin King, Linda Lavin and Bryan Greenberg star in A Short History of Decay.

Benjamin King, Linda Lavin and Bryan Greenberg star in A Short History of Decay.

The 8th Annual Fort Myers Beach Film Festival, a celebration of independent filmmaking and the visual arts, will entertain April 23 – 27.

Festivities begin with a “Fun in Flip Flops” sunset cruise from Fish Tale Marina the night before the festival, as a way to welcome the visiting filmmakers who have submitted more than 100 independent films.

The traditional family favorite film on the beach will run at sunset on Friday, April 25 directly behind The Outrigger Beach Resort, 6200 Estero Blvd. on Fort Myers Beach. This year’s film will be the Disney Channel original production of Teen Beach Movie.  Earlier on Friday, the festival will present an informative and educational workshop and luncheon entitled, Self Propelled: An inside look at low budget filmmaking.  The workshop begins at 11:30 am and will take place inside the Beach Theater.

On Saturday at noon, another luncheon invites film industry professionals for a panel discussion, also held at the theater.  Tickets to the workshop and panel discussion are sold separately at $30 for the Friday workshop and $40 for the discussion among the invited filmmaking guests on Saturday.

And the festival concludes with an award ceremony on Sunday, April 27 at 5 pm at the Beach Theater.

Some of the 8th Annual Fort Myers Beach Film Festival flicks that will screen April 23 – 27 will include:

Copenhagen, Directed by Mark Raso: William finds himself at a crossroads in Copenhagen, the city of his father’s birth.  When 14-year-old Effy, working in William’s hotel as part of the internship program, befriends the 30-year-old William, they set off on an adventure to uncover his family’s sordid past. As the attraction builds and William truly connects with someone for the first time in his life, he must deal with the startling news that the love of his life and the only person who understands him is, unfortunately for everyone, half his age.

Guest House, Directed by Aaron Wolf:
Lance Wesley lost his job and fiancée on the same day. Depressed and downtrodden, he moves back into his parents’ Guesthouse where he spent his youth. As he fights constantly with his frustrated and less-than-patient father, relics from his past pay him a visit. Will his past propel him forward?

A Short History of Decay, Directed by Michael Maren: A dark comedy about Nathan Fisher, a 30-something Brooklyn hipster whose writing career is stalled and is dumped by his live-in girlfriend.  Nathan gets a call from his brother that his father has been hospitalized and races to snowbird central to find that his aging parents are actually in much better control of their lives than he is.  While in Florida, Nathan meets a girl — the polar opposite of his ex-girlfriend, but perhaps what he needs to recover.

Last I Heard, Directed by David Rodriguez: After spending 20 years in federal prison for myriad crimes, the ailing Mafia Capo Joseph ‘Mr. Joe’ Scoleri was released.  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.

Pink Gold Rush, Produced by Barbara Linstrom:  They discovered it by accident in the dark of night, and by the time the full moon shone, the Pink Gold Rush was on.  Florida shrimpers first netted the nocturnal pink shrimp in 1949, bringing a frenzy of fishermen to Fort Myers Beach, ready to pan sweet, delicious “pink gold.”  Hundreds of boats once offloaded at the local shrimp docks.  Today, fewer than 40 come to port as development, economics and the environment take their toll on a once vibrant industry and way of life. Through seven decades, shrimpers have struggled against adversity.  How much longer can they survive?

Independent film screenings will entertain every day of the festival.  Individual movie tickets at $6 or VIP packages for $100 that include the pre-festival sunset cruise party, access to the workshop on Friday and all of the film screenings may be purchased online.  Tickets for the pre-festival filmmaker welcome cruise, the workshops and luncheon are sold separately.

- The 8th Annual Fort Myers Beach Film Festival will take place April 23 – 27.  For more information or to purchase festival passes, contact event staff at (239) 314-9234 or visit www.fmbfilmfest.com!

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BBQ, Bands & Brew

On April 6, BBQ, Bands and Brew will entertain on the Lee County Alliance for the Arts grounds.

On April 6, BBQ, Bands and Brew will entertain on the Lee County Alliance for the Arts grounds.

The Lee Building Industry Association (BIA) is hosting the fifth annual BBQ, Bands and Brew to benefit its nonprofit charitable arm Builders Care on Sunday, April 6 from 11 am – 6 pm at the Lee County Alliance for the Arts.

The fundraiser is open to the public and will feature local music, several local barbecue restaurants, a BBQ competition to name the Best BBQ in town and kids activities.

Local bands include Alter Ego, Rocker, Grayson Rogers Band and Deb & the Dynamics.  Barbecue themed foods between $2 and $5 will be provided by Blue Crawfish Catering, Bubba’s Roadhouse & Saloon, Famous Dave’s, Jonesez BBQ, Big Boi’s BBQ, Bonez Brothers BBQ, Woody’s Surfside Island Rum & Grille and desserts by Ben & Jerry’s.  Kid’s Barnyard will feature a petting zoo, bounce house, arts and crafts and more.

Also part of the event is the second annual Poker Run that begins at Fort Myers Harley-Davidson and includes 3 stops throughout Lee County before ending at BBQ, Bands & Brew at the Alliance for the Arts.  Registration is $25 and includes admission to the event.  Best hand wins $500.

Admission to BBQ, Bands and Brew is $10 per person. Children ages 12 and under are free, and free parking is available.

Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance at Lee County Alliance for the Arts, located at 10091 McGregor Blvd in Fort Myers; Stevens Construction at 6208 Whiskey Creek Drive, Fort Myers; the Lee BIA office at 10501 Six Mile Pkwy, Suite 104 in Fort Myers, or reserve your tickets by calling (239) 938-0056 or e-mailing bbq@bia.net.  Additional information is available at www.bbqbandsandbrew.com.

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Balloons Over Paradise

The 3rd Annual Balloons Over Paradise will fill the Southwest Florida sky on April 26 - 27.

The 3rd Annual Balloons Over Paradise will fill the Southwest Florida sky on April 26 – 27.

Seminole Casino Immokalee will bring its third annual Balloons Over Paradise Festival to the Seminole Tribe Youth Ranch, April 26 – 27, starting at 6 am daily.

The two-day event will feature 60 hot air balloons and performances by Sister Hazel, Rachel/Hughes Band and JJ McCoy.

Food, arts & crafts, tethered balloon rides, a classic car show, dog agility performances, a polo exhibition and an equestrian drill team performance will also entertain the crowd.  Admission is free to the all-ages festival.

Festival-goers will be able to walk among the balloons as they inflate for a mass ascension into the sky.  Specialty balloons include Flying Pig, Sugar Bear, Elvis, Purple People Eater and much more.

Headlining this year’s festival on Saturday, April 26, is Gainesville rock band Sister Hazel, known for such hits as All For You, Change Your Mind, Happy and Life Got In The Way.  The band’s style has blended elements of folk rock, pop, classic rock ‘n’ roll and southern rock to create highly melodic tunes and prominent harmonies since its inception in 1993.

Also performing that day are South Florida’s Rachel/Hughes Band and JJ McCoy.

History will be made at this year’s festival.  For the first time ever, Polo will be brought to Southwest Florida, with more than 30 top Polo ponies.  Six international players will be featured in an exhibition match and will be available to meet and sign autographs for festival-goers after the game.

- For more information about the 3nd Annual Balloons Over Paradise Festival, visit www.seminoleimmokaleecasino.com