By Elizabeth Rahe
The 30th anniversary of the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival is cause for celebration – something special. But what? FLiFF President and CEO Gregory von Hausch was asking himself that question as he was planning his 27th fest. Then it came to him. What better way to celebrate the international flavor of the Nov. 6-22 event than with international culture? Thus, FLiFF will host a series of evenings that highlight the music, food, fashion and film of 15 featured countries or regions.
“Bahamas night [Nov. 11] we will have a junkanoo band and dancers who will start at the river and dance and play their way to Cinema Paradiso in Fort Lauderdale,” von Hausch says. “We will have Bahamian beer and conch fritters outside, Bahamian films [Gentle Giant and When Pigs Swim] inside.”
French night, Nov. 7, will be accompanied by wine and cheese and the action/adventure comedy Le Père Noël, about a little boy who encounters a burglar he believes to be Santa Claus. “Your heartstrings are definitely pulled, and it’s very funny,” he says.
Other featured films and parties celebrate Argentina (Betibú), Australia (Down Under), China (Dearest), Cuba (Boccaccerias Habaneras), Cyprus (The Magic Beans), Japan (Tokyo Fiancée), Hungary (Liza, the Fox Fairy), India (A Tree Without Roots), Israel (Hill Start), Italy (Latin Lover), Mexico (Cásese Quien Pueda), Scandinavia (Virgin Mountain and Accused) and South Africa (When Voices Meet).
The festival will screen some 160 features, documentaries and shorts from the world over, as it gives moviegoers the opportunity to meet stars and filmmakers at screenings, parties and receptions.
Von Hausch emphasizes the casual, convivial atmosphere of the fest. “Come, have fun. If you’re single, come alone and don’t worry about it. It’s a great place to meet people. So many of our members dipped their toe into FLiFF and found how welcoming it is. Now there’s a whole family of people who meet and see each other periodically at screenings. The festival is like a big reunion.”
For festival highlights, see cityandshore.com. For a complete list of films, events and ticket prices, visit FLiFF.com or call 954-760-9898. Most movies play on alternating nights at Cinema Paradiso-Fort Lauderdale and Cinema Paradiso-Hollywood, and other venues host special events.