With screenings set to commence in little under two weeks time, the Skyway Film Festival this morning unveiled programming for its inaugural run, slating over 50 films, including narratives, documentaries, features and shorts for the festival’s three-day run, as well as multiple workshops led by industry professionals in the Skyway Labs series. Among the festival’s guests, director Dan Myrick will be in attendance with a special retrospective screening of his horror film-turned-phenomenon, The Blair Witch Project, followed by a Q&A session.
Joining the previously announced Walt Before Mickey and No Stranger Than Love, Opening and Closing Night selections respectively, the Skyway Film Festival Main Slate brings a range of films encompassing drama, comedy and even a little horror thrown into the mix, each enjoying their Florida premiere (and a World Premiere in the case of Walt Before Mickey). A Sort of Homecoming and Across the Sea offer dramatic and comedic takes on returning home, while Land of Leopold and Worthy bring the sort of in-depth and offbeat character study one has come to expect from independent festivals. As the lone horror film on the Main Slate, Robert Hamilton’s The Suffering is already standing out.
For documentary fans, Skyway has four in the can. 3 ½ Minutes, 10 Bullets explores the aftermath of a chance encounter escalating into a deadly shooting, while Queen Mimi brings the audience into the complicated world of one of LA’s most famous and loved members of the homeless population. Imba Means Sing follows three Ugandan youths as they leave the slums to cross the globe with the Grammy-nominated African Children’s Choir, and The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution examines the birth, rise and fading presence of the controversial group.
In the Florida Focus section, Karl Wilson’s action/comedy Catching Junior Tate, pitting criminals and bounty hunters and corrupt cops against each other in the search for the eponymous thief, will see its world premiere, as will Luc Campeau’s real life-inspired Turtle Tale. Director Nick Morgulis and local screenwriter Tony Stopperan’s Paradise, FL, which enjoyed an enthusiastic premiere at this year’s Sarasota Film Festival, joins the slate for its Bradenton premiere.
With mounds of short films slated for screening, submissions have been divided into three sections – the Short Film Competition, the Florida Short Films and the Student Shorts – giving ample time for all. Among the selections, you’ll find everything from science fiction to tragedy to character study to military intrigue. With every one at least a Bradenton premiere, and many world premieres throughout, adventurous cinephiles will gravitate to the shorts.
In addition to the Q&A with Myrick, four more Skyway Labs are scheduled. The Film Fatales – four female directors: Li Lu, Aly Miglori, Iva Gocheva and Castille Landon – will lead a discussion about women in film with Variety film critic John Anderson as moderator. Anderson will also preside over the Conversation with Andre Holland, bringing the rising star from Selma, 42 and The Knick to the stage to talk about the business and the craft. For those interested in financing or distribution and branding, both have their own dedicated workshops with industry professionals.
Complete with competitions and contests offering awards and even distribution deals, Skyway Film Festival is looking to make a name for itself in this debut season and is off to a good start.
“As a film programmer, independent film producer and lover of independent film, there is no word that can describe the level of excitement I have,” said Joe Restaino, artistic director for Skyway. “We set out to showcase works from new storytellers and we have done that. The strength is in its diverse program that brings films from all walks of life.”
For more information on film selections and scheduling, head to http://www.SkywayFilmFestival.org or check back on the SRQBacklot for continuing coverage.