It feels like one hardly has the time to recover from the Miami International Film Festival (MIFF). The Palm Beach International Film Festival (PBIFF) opens its doors barely one week later, on Wednesday, March 23 through March 31.
While there was a share of commercial films at the MIFF, the PBIFF leans more towards independent movies, documentaries, and shorts. Over that nine day-period, it will present over 100 different screenings; over a dozen of them making either their World or US premiere, anywhere in Palm Beach County, as far south as Boca Raton to as far north as West Palm Beach.
The following are some highlights for the first half of the fest. We’ll wrap it up with the next column:
Wednesday, March 23
The festival will kick off with the feature “Win Win” starring Paul Giamatti, Jeffrey Tambor, and Burt Young. Directed by Tom McCarthy, it tells the tale of an attorney who finds a budding wrestling star whose mother is just out of rehab and ready to get her share of the pie. It will make its local debut at the West Palm Beach Muvico Parisian @ 7:00 pm.
Of course, there will be an opening night ceremony. It will start at the Parisian and move over to the restaurant/nightclub Pura Vida, also in West Palm Beach. There will be a red carpet ceremony at this time.
Thursday, March 24
The highlight of this evening is a special presentation of “The Rescuers.” This documentary uncovers the tale of about a dozen different diplomats who helped Jews escaped Nazi Germany, and then superimposes this against what is currently happening in Darfur, Rwanda. Director Michael King will do a question an answer segment after the movie, along with some survivors of the original Holocaust. The special presentation will be held at the Muvico Parisian @ 7:00 pm with a repeat performance at Boca Raton’s Living Room on Saturday, September 26 @ 6:30 pm
Friday, March 25
There would be no such thing as a true film festival without some sort of student showcase. The stakes at the PBIFF is made a little higher as the festival audience will have the option of voting on these films. Further, no less than Florida Burt Reynolds will be presenting a special scholarship in his name to one of the other students. The presentations start today, with winners being selected and presented on Sunday, March 27. All this will be held at the Movies of Delray multiplex.
Making its world debut at the PBIFF, “The Turkles” is a kid-friendly documentary that gets as local as one can. It tells the tale of a group of ‘tweens who spend their free time patrolling Palm Beach’s beach front, doing all they can to help sea turtles. Then they discover there are people out there who are stealing the turtle’s eggs. So the children resolve to close this crime down. Again, the debut is at the Parisian @ 4:45 pm, with repeats on Sunday, March 27 @ 2:00 pm and Monday, March 28 @ 7:30 pm
On the social front, the Fest will be hosting its annual Silver Screen Splash at the Boca Raton Resort & Club. This year it’s giving its Golden Palm Award, the Fest’s equivalent of a lifetime achievement award, to actor Richard Jenkins. Singer/Songwriter Dennis Lambert will hold down the live music. It will kick off @ 9:00 pm
Saturday, March 26
For those who like to catch the latest short works, the Fest’s annual Short Package will kick off today at the Lake Worth Playhouse. It will be meted out in packages of seven or so films, totally two hours per presentation. The first of these series of shorts will start at 10:00 am with the last of the day screening Sunday, March 27, at 10:00 pm.
Sunday, March 27
Another compelling premiere will take its bow at the Bash at Boca Raton this Sunday, Oxygen. The drama tells the tale of a group of teenagers coping with Cystic Fibrosis while trying to live as normal a life as possible. Proceeds from this event will be donated to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. It will be held at 7:00 pm.
Also, local filmmakers will be given their own platform with the Festival’s “Voices of Local Film” series. The first package of locally produced features and shorts will open at the Muvico Parisian at 7:00 pm, with more screening over the rest of the week.
One final note about the fest: Like many other festivals throughout the U.S. filmgoers will get to vote on their personal favorites of what they have seen. From there, the votes will be tallied and awards handed out at the end of the Fest. The rest of the fest will be in the next column.