CALL TO ACTION: Care about Film in Florida?

Then you should have already signed this petition:

The petition, started by Film Florida, a not-for-profit entertainment production association and a leader in Florida’s film, TV and digital media industry, urges state legislators to consider discussing Florida’s media tax credit program during the special session that begins June 1. Addressed to Governor Rick Scott, Senate President Andy Gardiner and Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives Steve Crisafulli, the petition reminds them of the “more than 16,000 film and digital media production related companies, more than 100,000 Floridians working in the industry and thousands of new graduates trying to secure their first job here in this great state.” Since May 7, the petition has reached 3,230 signatures (as of Monday). “As a fledgling video start up corporation, I urge you to do what ever it takes to allow us to grow and add to our vibrant creative industry,” commented Dona Lee Gould, from Bradenton. “My daughters dream is to be an actress,” commented Darlene Wilson in Sarasota. “She has been acting for about three or four years now and she loves it. We need more movies to be made here in order to keep jobs here in Florida instead of having to travel for jobs elsewhere.”

Skyway Film Festival Gears Up With Opening And Closing Night Films

The Skyway Film Festival is kicking off its programming with some Florida flair by bringing the world premiere of Walt Before Mickey to the screen for an opening night celebration sponsored by Feld Entertainment. Shot in Florida, the film investigates the life of Walt Disney before he became a household name and animation powerhouse, Walt Before Mickey takes a closer look at his childhood growing up in Missouri and the path he took to discovering what would become his most recognizable creation. Based upon the book of the same name by Timothy S. Susanin, the film marks the feature-length debut for director Khoa Lee and stars Thomas Ian Nicholas as Disney, and Jon Heder. “There isn’t a better film to kick off our inaugural film festival,” said Joe Restaino, artistic director for Skyway, describing Disney as “one of the most impactful entertainment pioneers in the history of film.” Continue reading Skyway Film Festival Gears Up With Opening And Closing Night Films

David Bromstad: From Animation Dreams to Design Stardom

Juggling the roles of fashion designer, decorator and television personality, HGTV star David Bromstad leads a colorful life. Before delivering the commencement address to this year’s Ringling College of Art and Design graduates, the alum talked with SRQ Backlot about his own experiences with Disney, television and movies. Now a world-famous interior designer, Bromstad’s career began with a very different dream. “I actually wanted to be a Disney animator,” he said, “ever since I was five years old.” The Little Mermaid was the first film to spur him to be an artist, hooking him with the music and a new style of animation. “I think I watched it five times in the theater,” he said, confessing he wanted to be a mermaid too. But two months into classes at Ringling College, Bromstad took his first animation course and quickly realized it was not for him. After dreaming about this for 15 years, he had no idea what was next. “So I just rolled through it and said I’m going to be the best drawer and the best painter I can possibly be,” he said. “We’re going to let God figure the rest out and just go with my instinct.” He later followed those instincts, working for Disney in a different way. Crafting everything from window displays to sculptures for the Orlando theme parks, he learned the art of perfection from the happiest place on earth. “Do you ever go into Disney and see a flaw in anything?” he asked. The skills he acquired there led to the chance of a lifetime: to be a contestant on HGTV’s first season of Design Star. “I’d never planned on being on TV – It was not in the cards,” he said. “I knew I wanted to be famous for my craft; I didn’t think I was going to actually be famous.” While the first few days of Design Star were terrifying, Bromstad loved every second of the challenging show. Without their phones, TV, music or magazines, “it was like boot camp for designers on steroids,” he said. Coming from a highly competitive family, he excelled at the competition, knowing he had to reach the final four and once he achieved that goal, win the competition. “I went in a very insecure person and I came out knowing exactly what I was,” he said. “TV doesn’t usually do that to you, it usually tears you down.” After winning, Bromstad launched his own HGTV show, Color Splash, which ran from 2007-2013 as one of channel’s most successful shows. In the 11 seasons based in San Francisco and then Miami, he became known as ‘The Color Guy’ for his bold transformations and original artwork. But when Bromstad has time off, his guilty pleasure is being lazy. With a crazy schedule of television, travel, events and design, he can’t wait to stretch out on the couch and catch up on some TV. “When I come home I just don’t want to move, I don’t want to talk, I don’t want to do anything,” he said. “I just want to watch my shows, my DVR, movies.” Bromstad is obsessed with movies. A self-professed fantasy and science-fiction dork, he loves both the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit series. Some of his recent favorites include Pitch Perfect and the “deliciously tantalizing” Fifty Shades of Grey, but he also loves animated movies, particularly Disney’s Big Hero Six, which he falls asleep to regularly. Now Bromstad hosts a new HGTV show, My Lottery Dream Home, where he’s responsible for finding the perfect property for recent lottery winners. “We get to find them their dream house of craziness,” Bromstad said. The show feels like the eccentric and wealthy relative of sister show House Hunters. Each episode follows a buyer like the California couple of the pilot, who won $180 million and when they found their dream home, bought the entire mountain it was located on. The first two episodes premiered in March to solid ratings, and it is now being picked up for a full season later this year.

Attendance Rockets For Sarasota Film Festival in 2015

Ticket sales at the Sarasota Film Festival this year were up by approximately 16 percent over last year, organizers said, as the event spread into venues with higher seating capacity and attracted more out-of-town guests to the region. The festival this year ran from April 9-19 with appearances by stars including Rachel Weicz, Jane Seymour, Ben Vereen, Blythe Danner and Syesha Mercado. “It has garnered a lot of national and international recognition that has only built up over the years, this year being no exception,” said SFF President Mark Famiglio, pictured above with Mercado. Continue reading Attendance Rockets For Sarasota Film Festival in 2015

Skyway Organizers Announce Talent As Deadline For Submission Nears

Organizers for the Skyway Film Festival have confirmed figures in the film world including director Dan Myrick (pictured) and actor Andre Holland will attend the inaugural event in June. Meanwhile, programmers are working to finalize the line-up of movies to be screened.

Today marks the last day filmmakers can submit entries for the festival. Organizers hope to showcase Florida films and a variety of quality narrative, documentary and short films. “Things are going great,” said executive director Erik Lunseth. “We couldn’t be happier with the support of the community.” Continue reading Skyway Organizers Announce Talent As Deadline For Submission Nears