Tag Archives: Bob Balaban

Florida Film Festival Celebrates Picture-Perfect Pearl Anniversary By Sandra Carr

The Florida Film Festival continues to shine brightly during its 30-year anniversary while premiering the best in current, independent and international cinema at the Enzian Theater in Maitland, Florida.

What an amazing journey! I have been covering the Florida Film Festival for nearly 30 years! I have experienced many marvelous memories that I will cherish forever!

Bringing Hollywood to Maitland has been a part of the Florida Film Festival’s successful formula. Actor appearances have included Drew Barrymore, Dennis Hopper, Steve Buscemi, Christopher Walken, John Waters, Glenn Close, Jon Voight, Paul Sorvino, Cloris Leachman, Susan Sarandon, Emma Stone, John Krasinski, Tippi Hedren, Sissy Spacek, Bob Balaban, Pam Grier, Lea Thompson, Richard Dreyfuss and other famous celebs over the years.

One of my all-time, favorite memories was when I had an opportunity to interview Dennis Hopper for WCPX Channel 6 (it’s now WKMG Channel 6) during the Florida Film Festival’s awards ceremony at Universal Studios (it’s now the Universal Orlando Resort) in June 1994. Hopper received the John M. Tiedtke Enzian Award for Artistic Vision during the event

I’m interviewing actor Dennis Hopper for WCPX Channel 6 during the Florida Film Festival in June 1994. Photo by: Jim Leatherman

I have been a Rick Springfield fan for the past 40 years! Longtime Springfield fan and executive producer Melanie Lentz-Janney fulfilled her dream of filming the “An Affair of the Heart” documentary about the rock star and his fans with gal pal and Emmy Award-winning director-producer Sylvia Caminer. The documentary had its world premiere at the Florida Film Festival in April 2012. I had an opportunity to interview Springfield on the red carpet during his appearance at the Florida Film Festival.

Journalist and blogger Sandra Carr interviewed Rick Springfield during the “An Affair of the Heart” world premiere at the Florida Film Festival in April 2012.

New Zealand stuntwoman-turned-actress Zoë Bell participated in a question-and-answer session after the screening of Quentin Tarantino’s action-thriller “Death Proof” in April 2013.

Tanya Hanson, Zoë Bell and Sandra Carr are striking a pose on the red carpet during the 22nd Annual Florida Film Festival at the Enzian Theater in Maitland, Florida. Photo by: Samantha Laine

I also had an opportunity to interview actress Emma Stone before the opening-night film party at the Enzian Theater for VenusZine in April 2010.

Actress Emma Stone at the Florida Film Festival in April 2010. Image courtesy of the Florida Film Festival.

I also hung out with actor Bob Balaban after the screening of “Gosford Park” in April 2015.

Sandra Carr and actor Bob Balaban at the 24th Annual Florida Film Festival. Photo by: Dan Carr

I also enjoyed watching “The Godfathers of Hardcore,” which is a music documentary on the band Agnostic Front. The group’s lead vocalist Roger Miret participated in a question-and-answer session and meet-and-greet after the screening in April 2018.

The Florida Film Festival also provides moviegoers with an opportunity to learn about a director’s experiences and perspectives. One of those moments occurred when legendary director Barry Levinson participated in a question-and-answer session in April 2012.

I also enjoyed seeing my friends who were involved with “The Blair Witch Project” celebrate the film’s 20-year anniversary at the Florida Film Festival in 2019.

Besides the actor and director appearances, the Florida Film Festival has received other nods, including being listed as one of the 20 coolest film festivals by MovieMaker Magazine and one of the top 50 film festivals in the world by The Internet Movie Database (Imdb.com).

The flick fete is also an Oscar-qualifying festival in animated short film, live action short film and documentary short subject.

This year’s 14-day festival is sponsored by Full Sail University and will feature more than 160 films, 23 world premieres and movies from 31 countries from April 9-22, 2021.

The film festival also is overflowing with girl power! Ninety films are focused on the ladies and 50% were directed by women.

The opening-night film and party will be occurring at the Enzian Theater on Friday, April 9 from 6-11 p.m., and features the world premiere of “Because of Charley,” a film about two estranged families who are attempting to stage a 10-year anniversary surprise party on Friday the 13th in Celebration, Florida. The movie was filmed in Celebration last summer and stars legendary actor John Amos and local actress Peg O’Keef. Admission is $60 for the party, which includes local bites, brews and cocktails, and $25 for the film.

Munch during brunch outdoors before the movie at Eden Bar on Sunday, April 11 and Sunday, April 18 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.! The bottomless brunch cost $18.99 and includes one Bloody Mary or mimosa. A movie ticket is not required. All guests must be masked, unless actively eating or drinking.

Get cozy and spacey while watching John Carpenter’s “Starman” at the Enzian Theater on Sunday, April 11 at 7:30 p.m. The romantic science-fiction odyssey stars Jeff Bridges and Karen Allen. A Zoom question-and-answer session with Allen will follow the screening. Admission is $25.

Sit back and enjoy a cold brewski while listening to local music during Wednesday Beer Tastings at the Eden Bar on Wednesday, April 14 and Wednesday, April 21 from 6-8 p.m.! Ivanhoe Park Brewing Co. will be serving the beer samples.

“Blue Velvet,” one of my favorite David Lynch films, turns 35 this year, and will be screened at the Enzian Theater on Sunday, April 18 at 7:30 p.m.! The neo-noir mystery thriller stars Dennis Hopper, Isabella Rossellini and Kyle MacLachlan. A Zoom question-and-answer session with Rossellini will follow the screening. Admission is $25 and on standby.

Calling all foodies! Watch “The Truffle Hunters” at the Enzian Theater on Sunday, April 11 at 11 a.m.! The film takes moviegoers on an epicurean journey through the deep forests of northern Italy in search of the prized white Alba truffle.

The excursion continues by traveling back in time to the “Summer of ’85.” Experience a motorcycle ride throughout a Normandy seaside town in this coming-of-age French film about two friends with different dreams at the Enzian Theater on Tuesday, April 20 at 3:45 p.m. The film also is available to watch online.

Music makes its mark at the Florida Film Festival! Punk-rock trailblazer and poet Lydia Lunch is featured in the documentary “Lydia Lunch: The War is Never Over” at the Enzian Theater on Saturday, April 17 at 11:30 p.m. The film also is available to watch online.

My favorite ukulele musician Tiny Tim is featured in the documentary “Tiny Tim: King for a Day” at the Enzian Theater on Thursday, April 22 at 3:45 p.m. Weird Al Yankovic is the narrator. The film also is available to watch online.

The documentary “No Ordinary Man” is about a diverse group of contemporary trans artists who bring renowned jazz musician Billy Tipton’s life to the big screen. The film will be screened at the Enzian Theater on Monday, April 19 at 9:30 p.m. The film also is available to watch online.

The “Shots in the Dark with David Godlis” documentary is about the unofficial CBGB photographer who documented the burgeoning New York City punk scene during the 1970s. The film will be screened at the Enzian Theater on Monday, April 12 at 3:30 p.m. The film also is available to watch online.

Prolific rock ‘n roll and Rolling Stone photographer Baron Wolman meets up-and-coming free-form artist Sophie Kipner, and agrees to allow her to interpret his work in “Sophie and the Baron.” The film will be screened at the Enzian Theater on Tuesday, April 20 at 6:30 p.m. The film also is available to watch online.

The life of legendary jazz musician Billy Tipton is told by a diverse group of contemporary trans artists in “No Ordinary Man.” The documentary will be screened at the Enzian Theater on Monday, April 19 at 9:30 p.m. The film also is available to watch online.

Besides “Because of Charley,” other Florida films are being featured at the Florida Film Festival!

The “Florida Woman” short is about ex-pro wrestler and Lakeland, Florida resident Mary Thorn, who is battling with local officials to keep her pet alligator Rambo. The film will be screened at the Enzian Theater on Saturday, April 10 at 10 a.m. The film also is available to watch online.

Horror flick “The Old Ways” was filmed by Florida filmmakers and follows a Mexican-American reporter Cristina on assignment in Veracruz, Mexico. She gets captured by a local “bruja,” a Mexican witch doctor, who believes Cristina is possessed with a demon. Cristina must stop at nothing to escape her personal prison, all the while investigating what evil forces lie underneath the surface of the jungle, and the demons of her past. The film will be screening at the Enzian Theater on Friday, April 16 at 9:15 p.m. The film also is available to watch online.

“My Fiona” tells the poignant story of grief and loss while exploring sexual identity after a woman’s friend commits suicide. The film screens at the Enzian Theater on Sunday, April 18 at 2 p.m. The film also is available to watch online.

“Snowy” is a tale about a terrific turtle that ventures out after being in a terrarium for a decade. The film will be screening at the Enzian Theater on Monday, April 12 at 3:30 p.m. The film also is available to watch online.

A woman returns to her estranged family in New England, and reconnects with a former lover. When the robbery they plan goes awry, she must choose between abandoning her family again or taking responsibility for the chaos she’s created in “The Catch.” The film will be screening at the Enzian Theater on Monday, April 12 at 6:30 p.m. The film also is available to watch online.

“Jacinta” explores a complicated relationship with a mother and daughter in drug-ravaged Maine. The film will be screened at the Enzian Theater on Wednesday, April 21 at 6:30 p.m. The film also is available to watch online.

Jacinta and Rosemary at the Maine Correctional Center in 2016. Photo by: Jessica Earnshaw.

Homeless and single mom Dani and her daughter Wes camp outside of the city. Dani works several jobs and tries to overcome obstacles in order to save money to rent an apartment in “I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking).” The film will be screening at the Enzian Theater on Saturday, April 17 at 6:15 p.m. The film also is available to watch online.

A young cleaning woman at a strip club parties with the dancers and fantasizes about a stripper life in “Gabriela.” The film will be screened at the Enzian Theater on Sunday, April 11 at 1:45 p.m. The film also is available to watch online.

A hairstylist scalps clients’ heads who she wants to look like in “The Stylist.” The film will be screening at the Enzian Theater on Tuesday, April 13 at 9:30 p.m. The film also is available to watch online.

Lily Hevesh creates and designs colorful and mind-blowing domino displays. The documentary “Lily Topples the World” follows her domino lifestyle. The film will be screened at the Enzian Theater on Sunday, April 11 at 4:30 p.m. The film also is available to watch online.

Photo credit: Photo by Steve Price

Ed Popil, a.k.a. Mrs. Kasha Davis of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Season 7, informs viewers in this documentary about how her life has changed because of drag in the “Workhorse Queen.” The film will be screened at the Enzian Theater on Saturday, April 10 at 8:45 p.m. The film also is available to watch online.

Actor Will Ferrell portrays a therapist who becomes angry when his personal life intrudes on a depressed patient’s emergency session in “David.” The film will be screened at the Enzian Theater on Saturday, April 10 at 12:30 p.m. The film also is available to watch online.

Boyfriends Shane and Dusty are two Stevie Nicks-loving bears who discuss their relationship and a magical concert moment involving the original shawl from the “Stand Back” video in this animated short titled “The Shawl.” The film will be screened at the Enzian Theater on Wednesday, April 14 at 6:30 p.m. The film also is available to watch online.

“The Shining” has gone to the dogs! A family’s new rescue pup is terrorized by deceased pets in “Ghost Dogs.” The animated film will be screened at the Enzian Theater on Wednesday, April 14 at 6:30 p.m. The film also is available to watch online.

Photo credit: Photo by Joe Cappa

Owners of an ice cream shop in South Carolina soon learn that getting a Confederate flag removed, even in the wake of the Charleston Massacre, is not an easy task when the Sons of the Confederacy are involved in “Meltdown in Dixie.” The film will be screened at the Enzian Theater on Monday, April 12 at 3:30 p.m. The film also is available to watch online.

Individual film tickets are $12, packages are $55-$200 and passes are $125-$1,500 per person.

Browse the film schedule by downloading the free Florida Film Festival app for iPhones, iPads and iPod touches. For more information, including the Florida Film Festival schedule, visit floridafilmfestival.com.

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Actor Bob Balaban Discusses Acting Career at Florida Film Festival By Sandra Carr

Director Robert Altman’s Academy Award-winning film Gosford Park is a period piece about the rich and their servants during a British weekend retreat and party in 1932. Character actor Bob Balaban produced and portrayed an American vegetarian filmmaker Morris Weissman in the movie. The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won one Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

My husband Dan and I attended an evening with Bob Balaban, featuring Gosford Park during the 24th Annual Florida Film Festival.

My husband Dan and I attended an evening with Bob Balaban, featuring Gosford Park during the 24th Annual Florida Film Festival.

Gosford Park

Gosford Park

The film was screened during the 24th Annual Florida Film Festival before a question-and-answer session with Balaban. Altman and Balaban came up with the idea for the film and brought it to life with an ensemble cast, including Academy Award-winning actress Helen Mirren (head servant Mrs. Wilson) and Maggie Smith who portrayed the wealthy Constance Trentham and is now Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham on Downton Abbey.

An Evening with Bob Balaban Photo by: Sandra Carr

An Evening with Bob Balaban
Photo by: Sandra Carr

Balaban had been reading Agatha Christie murder mysteries and came up with an idea for a movie, which became Gosford Park. He thought Altman would be the perfect director for the movie. Plus, Altman had a vast body of work but had never directed a period film during his career. Balaban said he knew it would be interesting because of Altman’s “lack of interest in formal structure.” Altman agreed to direct the film but he wanted “to do a murder mystery about poor people in England because he really didn’t like rich people.” He felt “everyone should be equal and didn’t like a division between rich and poor and the powerful and non-powerful.”

An Evening with Bob Balaban, Featuring Gosford Park. Photo by: Sandra Carr

An Evening with Bob Balaban, Featuring Gosford Park.
Photo by: Sandra Carr

Balaban and Altman hired Julian Fellowes to write the script. In six weeks time, he returned to Balaban and Altman with the first 70 pages of the screenplay, which won him an Academy Award.

Last minute changes also added to the movie’s story and ending. Altman decided to have Jeremy Northam portray Welsh composer and actor Ivor Novello. Northam learned how to play the piano and sang in the film. Altman also decided to change the ending by revealing that Mrs. Wilson and Mrs. Croft (head servant) were sisters.

Besides acting, directing and producing Gosford Park, Balaban has a movie theater and film-making heritage. His mom Elenore acted under the surname Barry and his dad Elmer Balaban owned movie theaters in Chicago and throughout the Midwest, and developed an early version of pay-TV. His uncle Barney Balaban was also the chairman of Paramount Pictures.

Bob Balaban participates in a Q&A during the Florida Film Festival. Photo by: Sandra Carr

Bob Balaban participates in a Q&A during the Florida Film Festival.
Photo by: Sandra Carr

He was Linus in the off-Broadway production of You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown but his first movie role was portraying a young student in MIdnight Cowboy.

Bob Balaban and Jon Voight in a scene in Midnight Cowboy.

Bob Balaban and Jon Voight in Midnight Cowboy.

At age 69, he has portrayed more than 100 characters, including the interpreter David Laughlin in Steven Spielberg’s science-fiction film Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Bob Balaban and François Truffaut in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Bob Balaban and François Truffaut in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

He has been in Christopher Guest movies, including Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind and For Your Consideration.

Bob Balaban as Jonathan Steinbloom in A Mighty Wind.

Bob Balaban as Jonathan Steinbloom in A Mighty Wind.

The actor is also renowned as the character Russell Dalrymple, the President of NBC who was obsessed with Elaine on Seinfeld.

Bob Balaban portraying Russell Dalrymple, the President of NBC on Seinfeld.

Bob Balaban portraying Russell Dalrymple, the President of NBC on Seinfeld.

He has also had the opportunity to appear in Woody Allen’s Deconstructing Harry and Fading Gigolo.

Woody Allen and Bob Balaban in Deconstructing Harry.

Woody Allen and Bob Balaban in Deconstructing Harry.

Balaban was the narrator in Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom and the Ritz Imperial concierge in The Grand Budapest Hotel. I had an opportunity to ask Balaban about what it was like working with this writer, director and producer and why his quirky, signature style was so unique.

Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom.

Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom.

“I have been lucky during my lengthy film career,” he said. “I have worked with some amazing people and stumbled upon some wonderful directors. I have always loved Wes’ movies. I was thrilled when he asked me to be in Moonrise Kingdom. I loved the script, my part and working with Wes. He’s a brilliant and unique director. There’s a real ballet going on with Wes’ shots and the actions in them. It’s so formal but his films are life filled to me. He has a love of children and respects the dignity of all sorts of people in is movies. He thrives in chaos but his movie making is very organized with a vision that he’s able to get on the screen.”

Learn more about Bob Balaban’s career on imdb.com.

Sandra Carr and Bob Balaban at the 24th Annual Florida Film Festival. Photo by: Dan Carr

Sandra Carr and Bob Balaban at the 24th Annual Florida Film Festival.
Photo by: Dan Carr

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Films and Food Fuel Annual Fest By Sandra Carr

Central Florida’s nonprofit, alternative and independent cinema, the Enzian Theater in Maitland, Fla., displays a picturesque, old-Florida ambiance surrounded by shady, weeping oak trees draped with Spanish moss. Besides its Southern charm, the theater becomes the epicenter of movie mania during its annual Florida Film Festival. This year, the festival is celebrating its 24-year anniversary at the Enzian Theater and Regal Cinemas Winter Park Village Stadium 20 Movie Theater in Winter Park, Fla. from April 10-19, 2015.

The flick fete has been listed as one of the 20 coolest film festivals by MovieMaker Magazine and one of the top 50 film festivals in the world by The Internet Movie Database (Imdb.com). Past celebrity guests have included Oliver Stone, Drew Barrymore, Dennis Hopper, Steve Buscemi, Christopher Walken, John Waters, Glenn Close, Jon Voight, Susan Sarandon and Emma Stone.

I'm interviewing actor Dennis Hopper for WCPX Channel 6 during the Florida Film Festival in June 1994. Photo by: Jim Leatherman

A blast from the past! I’m interviewing actor Dennis Hopper for WCPX Channel 6 during the Florida Film Festival in June 1994.
Photo by: Jim Leatherman

This year’s film festival features more than 170 movies, including animated shorts, documentaries, spotlights, narrative features and shorts and special screenings.

24th Annual Florida Film Festival

24th Annual Florida Film Festival

The opening-night film is Welcome to Me, a movie featuring funny lady Kristen Wiig portraying a woman with a borderline personality disorder that wins $86 million in the lottery and decides to buy her own talk show. The movie premieres at the Regal Cinemas Winter Park Village Stadium 20 Movie Theater on Friday, April 10 at 7 p.m.

Welcome to Me Image courtesy: Florida Film Festival

Welcome to Me
Image courtesy: Florida Film Festival

After the movie, indulge in a foodie feast during the opening-night party at the Enzian Theater. Participating bars and restaurants include BRIO Tuscan Grille, K Restaurant, Swine & Sons, Soco and Rogue Pub.

Opening-night film and party is $110, film only is $25 and party only is $95. The opening-night film is on standby.

The opening-night party features a foodie feast.

The opening-night party features food, glorious food! Image courtesy: Florida Film Festival

Learn about local, farm-fresh eats during the FFF at the Enzian Theater on Saturday, April 11 from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. The homegrown event will feature Lake Meadow Natural Farms, Palmetto Creek Farms, Olde Hearth Bread Co. and the East End Market. Sampling and cooking demonstrations are included in the $12 admission.

Local farms are keeping it fresh.  Image courtesy: Florida Film Festival

Local farms are keeping it fresh.
Image courtesy: Florida Film Festival

Take farm to table further with the free Locally Fresh! Farmers Market on Eden Bar’s lawn on Saturday, April 11 from noon-2:30 p.m. Folks can purchase produce from area farmers and vendors.

Image courtesy: Florida Film Festival

Image courtesy: Florida Film Festival

Celebrity appearances include actor Bob Balaban during a screening of Gosford Park on Sunday, April 12 at 7:30 p.m. The actor is renowned as the character Russell Dalrymple, the President of NBC who was obsessed with Elaine on Seinfeld. Tickets are $25.

"Gosford Park"  Image courtesy: Florida Film Festival

Gosford Park
Image courtesy: Florida Film Festival

Actor Sam Rockwell takes us to the Moon during his question-and-answer session on Friday, April 17 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25. The movie and guest appearance are on standby.

Actor Sam Rockwell portrays Sam Bell in "Moon."  Image courtesy: Florida Film Festival

Actor Sam Rockwell portrays Sam Bell in Moon.
Image courtesy: Florida Film Festival

Other fabulous flicks include Homeless, a movie directed by Florida State University graduate Clay Hassler, about a teenage boy, portrayed by newcomer Michael McDowell, who lives in a shelter and is trying to get his life back on track after his grandmother passes away.

Homeless Image courtesy: Florida Film Festival

Homeless
Image courtesy: Florida Film Festival

Embark on an adventure while looking for the person behind a popular Chinese delicacy in The Search for General Tso.

The Search of General Tso's Chicken Image courtesy: Florida Film Festival

The Search for General Tso
Image courtesy: Florida Film Festival

Pump yourself up with this documentary about bodybuilder, actor and rocker Jon Mikl Thor during his comeback in I Am Thor.

I Am Thor Image courtesy: Florida Film Festival

I Am Thor
Image courtesy: Florida Film Festival

Watch 500 Days of Summer, a romantic comedy starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel about a dysfunctional relationship that’s a sure failure for free on the Enzian Theater’s lawn on Monday, April 13 at 8 p.m.

500 Days of Summer Image courtesy: Florida Film Festival

500 Days of Summer
Image courtesy: Florida Film Festival

3 1/2 Minutes explores the shooting and death of Jordan Davis at a gas station in Jacksonville, Fla. and the State of Florida’s Stand Your Ground self-defense laws.

3 1/2 Minutes Image courtesy: Florida Film Festival

3 1/2 Minutes
Image courtesy: Florida Film Festival

Freebie alert! Watch the dark Donnie Darko on Wednesday, April 15 at 8 p.m. and the sweet Amelie on Thursday, April 16 at 8 p.m. on the Enzian Theater’s lawn.

Donnie Darko Image courtesy: Florida Film Festival

Donnie Darko
Image courtesy: Florida Film Festival

Amelie Image courtesy: Florida Film Festival

Amelie
Image courtesy: Florida Film Festival

Music makes it mark during the FFF this year. Experience the D.C. punk-rock scene and mosh pits in Salad Days: A Decade of Punk in Washington, D.C. (1980-90). Honky-tonk and country musician Billy Mize created the Bakersfield sound and chose family over music during the peak of his career. Learn more about this legendary musician in Billy Mize and the Bakersfield Sound.

Salad Days: A Decade of Punk in Washington, D.C. (1980-90). Image courtesy: Florida Film Festival

Salad Days: A Decade of Punk in Washington, D.C. (1980-90)
Image courtesy: Florida Film Festival

Billy Mize and the Bakersfield Sound Image courtesy: Florida Film Festival

Billy Mize and the Bakersfield Sound
Image courtesy: Florida Film Festival

Get your movie on by watching comedies, dramas, panel discussions, parties and more during this year’s Florida Film Festival. Individual film tickets are $9 for a matinee before 5 p.m. and $11 for a regular ticket after 5 p.m. and passes and packages are $99-$1,500 per person. For more information, including the Florida Film Festival schedule, visit http://www.floridafilmfestival.com.

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