Category Archives: Film Festival

Actor Billy Crudup Feels at Home with Subversive Characters By Sandra Carr


Portraying a wide range of characters appeals to actor Billy Crudup. His films include Without LimitsAlmost Famous, Big Fish, Watchmen and Jackie. He shared amusing and interesting anecdotes during his question-and-answer session after the Jesus’ Son screening during the Florida Film Festival at the Enzian Theater.


Crudup finds pleasure and growth as an actor portraying conflicted, complicated and unlikeable characters and said “his intention is to show one moment where you get a glimpse of their humanity.”

He played a messed up guy named FH, which is short for F**khead in Jesus’ Son, a drug-induced ride that crashes and finds stability during the 1970s.  The film was adapted from a collection of short stories by cult author Denis Johnson and features supporting cast members Jack Black, Denis Leary, Holly Hunter and Dennis Hopper.

Jesus' Son

Black’s scenes are filled with many laugh-out-loud moments, including when he was a hospital orderly helping a patient who had a hunting knife in his eye and accidentally running over a rabbit and trying to save its bunnies. Crudup said he had to close his eyes during the takes he shared with Black because he was so vividly entertained by what Black was doing as an observer that he couldn’t get through the scene. It was difficult for Crudup to look or engage with him because “what he was doing was brilliant, inventive, entertaining and charismatic.”

Jack Black

Crudup has had a wealth of acting opportunities, and I asked him if there was one character that has stayed with him.

His response was “F**khead because of his clumsy hopefulness.” He also said there was something touching in the scene where the heart tattoo comes to life and it’s sort of back lit with golden rays and finding that in any small experiences you have in your relationships despite all of the awfulness in life. To Crudup, that’s something to aspire to along with finding enough peace in your inner life where you can appreciate the constant stream of beauty and surprise around you and your experience with humanity.

Crudup also discussed portraying runner Steve Prefontaine in Without Limits. He was an athlete who was at the forefront of endorsing Nike footwear and competed in the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany.

Tom Cruise was one of the film’s producers. Crudup said he would occasionally get a phone call from Cruise who would cheer him up and say, “Keep at it! It’s going to be great!”

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He also portrayed the golden god Russell Hammond in one my favorite rock ‘n’ roll movies Almost Famous, written and directed by Cameron Crowe. Crudrup was thrilled to be a part of the film, but was afraid of becoming typecast.

“I didn’t want to become trapped by playing heroes or romantic leads,” he said. “Not that I didn’t want to play romantic characters, but Russell is an anomaly. He’s a bona fide rock star who has mystery.”

Almost Famous.jpg

Other roles include portraying the nagging and frustrated son Will Bloom who is trying to determine fact from fiction during his dying father’s life in Big Fish, directed by Tim Burton.

Big Fish.jpg

He also portrayed superhero Dr. Manhattan in the Watchmen.


His upcoming movies include Alien: Covenant and Justice League.

One attendee asked if he has nightmares about Sigourney Weaver and Crudup assured him that the actress was in his dreams.

He couldn’t share too much about Alien: Covenant, but said he plays a member of the crew on a colonizing mission that doesn’t go as planned. The movie hits theaters on May 19.

In Justice League, he plays Barry Allen’s (The Flash) father Henry and couldn’t tell the audience any other details about the upcoming film. The film’s release date is Nov. 17.

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Learn more about Crudup’s career on

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Actress Lea Thompson Shares Movie Memories at Florida Film Festival By Sandra Carr


Actress Lea Thompson opened and shared her time capsule of film-career memories, spanning more than 30 years, during her question-and-answer session after the Back to the Future screening at the Enzian Theater.


Thompson portrayed Marty McFly’s (Michael J. Fox) mom Lorraine Baines in the classic, blockbuster film.

Back to the Future is a blast from the past, but has a meaningful message.

“The movie has a lesson, which is one moment can change your life,” said Thompson. “I think that’s one of the secrets of time travel. It’s not just the cool time machine, but it’s the idea of looking back and seeing the past and future at the same time.”

Lea Thompson

One fan asked Thompson if there was one Back to the Future memento that she regrets not snagging from the set and she said it was the DeLorean [Laughs]. However, she did get to keep the dreamy pink prom dress that she wore during the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance scenes.

Lea Thompson Wearing Prom Dress

I had an opportunity to ask Thompson if there were any funny moments she experienced with the cast while filming Back to the Future. She said the funniest scene is when she portrays vodka-drinking Lorraine and brings out her brother Joey’s jailbird cake. Thompson said Crispin Glover (George McFly) was cracking up the cast with his quirky laugh. She said she was trying not to laugh because the problem with plastic makeup is that it’s glued on and the seams can not be put back into place once they’re broken. Thompson said the scene is hilarious and the actors kept laughing their way through it for an hour-and-a-half.

Jailbird Joey Cake

She discussed how she got the part of Kelly Ann Bukowski in Jaws 3-D  with little acting experience and not knowing how to water ski before filming scenes at SeaWorld Orlando.

Jaws 3-D

Thompson remembered how nervous Tom Cruise was during his All the Right Moves screen test. She also had to go undercover at a high school in order to prepare for her role as Lisa. She recalled getting busted for skipping class because nobody knew she was an actress. Thompson said the movie was filmed before Cruise became a massive star.

All the Right Moves

She fondly recalled moments with Patrick Swayze while filming Red Dawn. Thompson said the cast had mock-up AK-47 rifles in their hotel rooms and would run around with the guns in Las Vegas and Mexico in the middle of the night.

Thompson and Swayze were both ballet dancers. She said they would perform acts from the ballet Giselle whenever they weren’t shooting scenes or guns.

Red Dawn

The actress became teary eyed after a fan told her how SpaceCamp inspired her to become a NASA rocket scientist and that the Mars rover was one of her projects.

Space Camp

A Howard the Duck fan had Thompson sign his movie memorabilia at MegaCon. She was impressed that he had the original soundtrack on vinyl. He said if their paths crossed again and he found another soundtrack, then he would give it to her. As fate would have it, Thompson now owns the Howard the Duck soundtrack thanks to a fan named Tom.

Howard the Duck

Thompson portrayed Amanda Jones, the popular pretty girl who had a rough home life in John Hughes’ last 1980s teen movie Some Kind of Wonderful. She also met the love of her life, husband and director Howard Deutch while filming the movie.

Some Kind of Wonderful

After she had a baby, Thompson had a difficult time getting parts in movies until she landed the role of Caroline Duffy in the TV sitcom Caroline in the City. Her character was a successful cartoonist living in Manhattan whose comic strip “Caroline in the City” became a huge hit.

She said it was a great job, but filming a sitcom is hard. Thompson said there’s so much pressure because of the way the scripts are created. Plus, you’re telling jokes and you have to set up the scenes perfectly in front of a live audience.

The show also made converting old TVs into fish tanks popular during the mid-1990s.

Caroline in the City.jpg

Learn more about Thompson’s career on

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Florida Film Festival Keeps it Real By Sandra Carr

The Florida Film Festival, now in its 26th year, is true to its movies, audience and mantra “Film, Food and Friends.” The flick fete provides its faithful filmgoers with a reel repertoire, including documentaries, features, shorts, special screenings, spotlights and forums at the Enzian Theater in Maitland, Fla. and Regal Cinemas Winter Park Village Stadium 20 Movie Theater in Winter Park, Fla. from April 21-30, 2017.


The juried festival features 182 films representing 40 countries with 139 having premiere status, including 17 world premieres.

The Hero

The opening-night celebration features The Hero, a film starring legendary character actor Sam Elliott portraying a Western actor who is no longer in the limelight, but reprises his famous role in The Hero sequel after receiving unexpected news. Watch the movie on Friday, April 21 at 6 p.m. at the Enzian Theater.

Opening Night Party

Party hearty after the movie by chowing down on delectable dishes paired with cocktails during the opening-night festivities at the Enzian Theater. The film and party ticket is $140 and the party only is $125.

Take the film fete further during the Festival Block Party on Saturday, April 22 from 3-5 p.m. at the Winter Park Village’s fountain across from the Regal Cinema.  The festivities include free drinks and appetizers from select Winter Park Village restaurants and live entertainment. The free event is for Florida Film Festival ticket and pass holders only. Space is limited.

Winter Park Village

Feast on Florida’s homegrown farm-to-table goodness during Locally Fresh! on Sunday, April 23 from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. at the Enzian Theater. The freebie features films, area produce, cooking demonstrations and scrumptious samples.

Locally Fresh

Back to the Future

Travel to the 1950s in a DeLorean time machine during the classic Sci-Fi movie Back to the Future, starring Michael J. Fox, Lea Thompson and Christopher Lloyd on Sunday, April 23 at 7 p.m. The event includes a question-and-answer session with Thompson after the screening. Regular admission is sold out, but $125 meet-and-greet tickets are still available.

Lea Thompson

Actor Billy Crudup portrays a guy named FH, which is short for F**khead, who believes he can save people from fate while trying to understand the destructive passion he shares with his girlfriend Michelle in Jesus’ Son on Friday, April 28 at 7:30 p.m. The film was adapted from a collection of short stories by cult author Denis Johnson and features supporting cast members Jack Black, Denis Leary, Holly Hunter and Dennis Hopper. The event includes a question-and-answer session with Crudup after the screening. General admission is $50 and meet-and-greet tickets are $125.

Jesus' Son

Laugh out loud high in the sky during the comedic spoof Airplane! on Saturday, April 29 at 1:30 p.m. The film takes you on a journey with a PTSD-stricken fighter pilot Ted Striker (Robert Hays), stewardess/ex-girlfriend Elaine (Julie Hagerty) and a doctor (Leslie Nielsen) who have to land a Boeing 707 after the crew experiences food poisoning. The event includes a question-and-answer session with Hays and director David Zucker. The movie and guest appearance are on standby.


Additional fun flicks include director Eleanor Coppola’s Paris Can Wait, starring Alec Baldwin and Diane Lane. The movie takes Anne (Lane) a woman in her 50s on a midlife journey through France.

Paris Can Wait

New Neighbors features an African-American family who move to an all-white neighborhood. The mom decides to get to know her neighbors by distributing flyers about her sons.

New Neighbors

Pop-artist Andy Warhol’s famous “Brillo Box” sculpture cost one family a grand back in the 1960s and had a return on investment of more than $3 million decades later. Learn more by seeing the Brillo Box (3 Cents Off) documentary short during 3 X Real Documentary Shorts 1.

Brillo Box

Native Americans rock in the documentary Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World. The film features legendary guitarist Link Wray and other musicians.

Link Wray

Pushing Dead is a film about an HIV-positive writer who is dropped from his insurance because he makes too much money (starring James Roday and Danny Glover).

Pushing Dead

Animated short Fabricated showcases machines assembling and coming to life as creatures.


Experience a hootenanny during Honky Tonk Heaven: Legend of the Broken Spoke. The documentary is about the boot-scooting Austin joint that has been serving its fill of music for more than 50 years.

Broken Spoke

Learn about Irishman Padraig O’Malley who is a renowned expert on conflict negotiation and has made an impact in Ireland, South Africa, Kosovo and Iraq during The Peacemaker.

The Peacemaker

Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis produced this funny film about a struggling actor working as a bathroom attendant at a popular LA nightclub during Night Shift.

Night Shift

Cassette tapes are making a comeback in the movie Cassette: A Documentary Mixedtape.

Cassette Tape

The Florida Film Festival closes with buxum babes who are fighting machines in the Russ Meyer classic film Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! on Sunday, April 30 at 9:30 p.m.

Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

Individual film tickets are $9 for a matinee before 5 p.m. and $11 for a regular ticket after 5 p.m., packages are $50-$180 and passes are $99-$1,500 per person. For more information, including the Florida Film Festival schedule, visit

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