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Ft. Lauderdale Film Festival announces line-up

Michelle Monaghan
Michelle Monaghan

Over 100 films from more than 30 countries – highlighted by Almodovar’s Broken Embraces, a Mario Tosi retrospective and appearances by Matthew Broderick and Michelle Monaghan – round out the 24th annual Ft. Lauderdale Film Festival. 

Here’s the full release hot off the press. Tickets go on sale Oct. 1. 

(Fort Lauderdale, FL), September 28, 2009 – The Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLIFF) announced its highly anticipated film line-up for the 24th edition, October 23 – November 11, 2009.  President of FLIFF, Gregory von Hausch, announced that over 100 films representing over 30 countries will be presented during the 2009 event.

“All of the arts institutions across the state were hurt tremendously by government cuts in funding.  Couple that with corporate donations at their lowest in my 21 years with FLIFF, I imagined this year would be a disaster.  Somehow through a lot of creativity and a tremendous in-kind support, FLIFF Take 24 looks like it may be one of our best editions ever,” said Von Hausch.  “We cut the number of days to 20…and reduced the number of films by 10% and added so much more with parties, stars and special events.  Every day will be a unique experience.”

The 2009 Festival will present features, documentaries, and shorts from the U.S, Canada, Spain, U.K, Italy, Germany, France and Israel among other countries.  In addition, Florida films will be showcased and finalists from the High School and College student competition will have their day on the silver screen.  The majority of films will be represented by filmmakers and actors with post screening audience chats.

Over 50 of the films are premieres, including World, U.S., Southeast. East Coast and Florida.  Some of the World Premieres include Audience With The Queens, a behind the scenes peak at the lives of Key West Drag Queens; Best Ribs In Town, a recipe that blends horror and black comedy; Hungry Years, a satirical comedy/drama exploring modern motivations for “doing good”; Lessons From South Africa, a powerful film about  journalism students who went to South Africa to document the AIDS epidemic only to return with an entirely different story; and When Evening Comes, a charming film about life’s second chances and unexpected turns starring two seasoned pros – Anne Meara and Phil Bosco. 

U.S. Premieres include Tantric Tourists (UK), an award-winning comedy about 10 people whose misadventure on a trip to India begins by enlisting New York guru, Laurie Handlers; Beyond The Pole (UK & Greenland), comedy mocumentary about a film crew that follows the first carbon neutral, organic, vegetarian expedition ever to attempt the North Pole;  Mount St. Elias (Austria), an awe-inspiring documentary set against the backdrop of Alaska’s dangerous beauty; The Oblivion Tree (Haiti-West Africa), about the reconstruction of the lost pages of Haiti’s history through interviews with African descendents of slave traders and victims of the Triangular Trade; and A Chemical Reaction (US), a powerful story that examines how Hudson, Quebec became the first town in North America to ban of toxic lawn and garden chemical pesticides and inspired hundreds of others to follow suit.

Southeast Premieres include FLIFF’s Opening Night film TiMER (US), a delightful futuristic, romantic comedy where heartbreak is a thing of the past; The Eagle Hunters Son (Mongolia-Sweden-Germany), a thrilling and emotional story shot in the sumptuous landscapes of Mongolia;  A Bridge Life (US), follows South Floridian Dan Scheffer, who rescued Hurricane Katrina evacuees and escorted them to a new life in Florida;  Article 32 (US-Iraq) is the haunting documentary that uncovers the truth about the death of an Iraqi man who was killed by seven Marines and one Navy Corpsman; Cody (US), the daughter of Indianapolis 500 winner, Al Unser Jr.,  redefines the word disabled as the film takes us into her life, with paralysis, from daily hygiene to sensual attraction;  Failing Better Now (US), a quirky indie romantic comedy about coming of age—at thirty;  Paddle To Seattle (US), takes us on an adventure into our continent’s only rainforest and the awe-inspiring landscape that is the Pacific Northwest; Pandora’s Box (Turkey), from Turkey, is an intelligent and perceptive film, examining feelings, motivations, pride and ultimately, triumphant love between family members.

A few of the Florida Premiere highlights are Here & There  starring David Thornton and Cyndi Lauper and was recently announced as Serbia’s foreign film entry to the 2009 Academy Awards®; Entre Nos, from Colombia, takes us on a remarkable journey where we bear witness to a family’s commitment to survival and their unrelenting hope for the American dream, Mediterranean Food is a comedy of love, sex, family and food from Spain; Don McKay stars Hayden Thomas Church and Elisabeth Shue in a comic thriller with a collision of  twists, turns, fantasy, reality, past history and future tragedy; The Market: A Tale of Trade, from Turkey, is a humorous an engaging drama about the ethical complexities of making a living; Gigante a romantic comedy from Uruguay; Dear Lemon Lima is a sweet story of a young girl that reclaims the spirit of the World Eskimo Indian Olympics; The Italians, from the director of the popular Italian comedy “Manual of Love,” comes a vignette style comical story of Italians traveling abroad.

Each year, FLIFF pays tribute to film talent for their accomplishments in the film industry. This year’s FLIFF honorees are actor Kevin McCarthy (Invasion of the Body Snatchers) and cinematographer Mario Tosi (Carrie, MacArthur, The Betsy).  Both will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award; Matthew Broderick (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) will receive a Career Achievement Award and Michelle Monaghan (Gone Baby Gone, Eagle Eye, Heart Break Kid) will receive the Star on The Horizon Award.

The fest kicks-off with a star studded Opening Weekend.  Festival special guests attending their films on October 23 through October 25 will be making an appearance at the Opening Night film and Starry Starry Night Gala on October 23. From there the momentum continues as a host of celebrities and filmmakers arrive in Fort Lauderdale daily to attend screenings of their films and nightly parties.

Opening Night, October 23, begins with the Southeast Premiere of TiMER, starring Emma Caulfield (Buffy The Vampire Slayer), JoBeth Williams and John Patrick Amedori (Gossip Girl). In TiMER, heartbreak is a thing of the past thanks to a revolutionary bio-technological wrist implant that counts down to the moment when two soul mates meet. Writer/Director Jac Schaeffer and actress Michelle Borth will be in attendance.  Prior to TiMER, Kevin McCarthy will attend the short film I DO.

October 24th, Michelle Monaghan (Made of Honor, Heartbreak Kid) attends her new film, Trucker. Monaghan stars as a woman who leads a carefree life of long-haul trucking, one night stands and all-night drinking until the evening her estranged 11-year-old son shows up on her doorstep. A bit of trivia – Michelle got her truckers license and did all of her own driving in the film. 

October 24 & 25, Actor Michael Jai White and director Scott Sanders will attend their screenings of Black Dynamite, the clever, laugh-out-loud film that satirizes the blaxploitation films of the ‘70s. Michael Jai White stars as the Black Dynamite, a gun-toting, nunchuck-wielding, ladies man willing to fight all the way from the blood-soaked city streets to the hallowed halls of the Honky House. 

October 29, stars of The Sopranos, Frank Vincent and Katherine Narcducci, actor Mike Starr (Goodfellas), and director Brian Caunter will attend the screening of their new organized crime drama Chicago Overcoat.

November 1, Matthew Broderick attends his new drama Wonderful World about a career proofreader w

ith a compulsive marijuana habit, who is a less-than-extraordinary weekend dad as well as the most negative man alive. 

Other Special events, features and special guests include:

October 24 the Mods & Rockers event features both modern and vintage motorcycles outside and a showing of The Who’s Quadrophenia.

On October 30 FLIFF will present 3 new horror films, The Seventh Moon, a chiller based on the Chinese myth, the dead are freed to walk among the living during the seventh full moon; Audie and the Wolf, a comedy/horror feature in the spirit of Shaun of the Dead and American Werewolf in London; and Best Ribs In Town, a blend of horror and dark comedy about what seemed like the perfect dinner.

October 31, a special screening of Almodovar’s Broken Embraces a four-way tale of dangerous love, shot in the style of a hard-boiled 1950s American film noir starring Penelope Cruz, Lluis Homar, Blanca Portillo, José Luis Gómez.  Tomar will be attending the screening of Broken Embraces.

October 31 late night will feature Repo! The Genetic Opera and Rocky Horror Pictureshow, both with a live shadowcast.

Beginning October 31, FLIFF offers a host of family friendly films.  Azur & Asmar, an animated fairy tale feature from France plus short film Jillian Dillion, a puppetry theatre style film about a Hippoplatypus who transforms her ‘flaws’ into the powers that resolve conflict and drama in her town.  Director, Yvette Edery will be present with some of the puppets from her short film.  Princess Lillifee is an animated fantasy film, in English language from Germany. Kids are encouraged to dress like their favorite Prince or Princess.

November 3, is sure-fire laugh fest with Commercials, Comedy, & Cannes. Director Jim Jenkins is one of the industry’s premier comedy directors and best visual storytellers whose off-beat and hysterical slant has won him accolades around the globe. The presentation features sample of some of his best commercials that he has directed for American Express, Sprint, MasterCard, Turner Classic Movies and more.  Following the reel, Jim will share with the audience his behind the scenes stories.

November 8 features three great films starting at 11:00 AM with The Eagle Hunter’s Son, a family film from Mongolia, about a young boy who goes off to find his father’s eagle which sends him on an adventurous journey through torrential rivers and snowy mountains that inevitably lead him to Ulan Bator – the city of his dream. Turtle: The Incredible Journey, is the story a little loggerhead turtle, as she follows in the path of her ancestors on one of the most extraordinary journeys in the natural world. And two screenings of larger-than-life comedy from Israel, A Matter of Size which follows Herzl and his three overweight friends decide to give up their extreme diets and try their luck in the girth-friendly arena of sumo wrestling. Led by Japan native Kitano, Herzl and crew discover that there are places in the world where mammoth waistlines are appreciated.  To conclude the weekend, the evening closes with an awards night and the offiical Wrap Party.

November 9:  FLIFF presents “Green Eco Films”, Altered Oceans-Acrid Seas, profiles recent scientific investigations into the largest, looming environmental threat we face… carbon dioxide emissions and A Chemical Reaction is about a discovery by a Canadian dermatologist who connected the exposure to chemical pesticides and herbicides to health risks and how it has led to the nearly nationwide ban of toxic lawn and garden chemical pesticides. 

November 10 will feature Adela (Philippines), about the quiet moments in life that can fill us with either joy or sorrow and In My Sleep, an edge-of your-seat thriller about a man with a rare sleep disorder that causes him to do things in his sleep which he cannot remember when he wakes.

November 11: This final day of FLIFF begins with a family friendly film from Spain, Mission to Mocland and continues with the award-winning films of the festival in the categories of Best Documentary, President’s Award, Best American Indie or Peoples Choice Award, Best Foreign Film and Best Film of the festival.

Throughout the fest, FLIFF will host receptions and parties almost nightly.  It’s a great way to meet filmmakers, some of the stars and other cinephiles.  Parties include Black Dynamite at Bova Prime on Las Olas;  Chicago Overcoat pre party with Carrabbas at Cinema Paradiso and post screening party at The W;  An Englishman In New York party will be held at the Pillars on New River Sound, Mediterranean Food Party before the film with Carrabbas at the Cinema Paradiso and post screening party at Coyote Ugly;  the Queen To Play party will be at Smith and Jones;  Yolo, The Maxwell Room,  Mangos and Himmarshee Arts and Entertainment District will also be hosting parties.

In addition, The Whole Foods Festival Café will be open daily at the Cinema Paradiso Courtyard.  Become a Producer of member or above .. get your Festival Fast Pass or become a sponsor to participate.  It’s great place to catch your favorite stars and filmmakers.

Screenings this year will be held at Cinema Paradiso, 503 SE 6 Street, downtown Fort Lauderdale, with the exception of opening night at Miniaci Center for the Perforning Arts.

Tickets will be available to purchase as of October 1, Visit or call 954-525-3456.

The Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization supporting independent film and cultural arts throughout Florida from Key West to St. Augustine.  For more information, please call (954) 525-3456 or visit the festival web site at