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Palm Beach International Film Festival

With a slew of great new films – many of them world premieres – and a new home theatre for the festival, there is much to celebrate about both the history  – 21 years – and the future of the Palm Beach International Film Festival.

With nine days of movies from around the globe, including post-screening discussions with filmmakers and cast, special events, parties, networking opportunities, industry panels, and student filmmaking programs, the lineup includes narrative features, documentaries, and short films.

There is also some home grown talent, with the premiere of The Wedding Invitation, a sweet – and raunchy – romantic comedy.

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The Palm Beaches Theatre in Manalapan is the new home of the Palm Beach International Film Festival. Located in the Plaza Del Mar Shopping Center in Manalapan, just south of Palm Beach on the island, this 250-seat multi-use house was formerly The Plaza Theatre. Under the former operator, from 2012 to 2014, the venue specialized in live entertainment. Prior to that, Florida Stage occupied the space from 1987 to 2010. A brand new film projection system was installed along with upgraded sound and lighting. The public spaces have been completely renovated. Returning visitors will notice the bright new lobby, including dazzling artwork in both the downstairs lobby and the upstairs gallery.

The Palm Beaches Theatre will play host to film screenings, parties, and provide hospitality for attending filmmakers and VIPs during the festival, as well as live performances, including comedy, one-man/woman shows, plays, concerts, lectures, and seminars when the festival wraps up. Television and movie production is scheduled to take place along with classes, private parties, and a summer camp.

Filmmakers selected for competition have the opportunity to receive acknowledgment for their artistic work in juried categories for Best Feature Film, Best Documentary Feature, and Best Short Film, along with Audience Choice Awards for Feature Film, Documentary Feature, Short Film, and Local Film.

In 2015, 121 films were screened, of which nearly half were foreign. 78 features were presented, including 24 World, International, North American, and U.S. Premieres. Over 60 filmmakers, along with cast, crew, and special guests, chose to attend.

The Festival is renowned industry-wide in its commitment to supporting emerging filmmakers of today and tomorrow. Founded in 1996, The Palm Beach International Film Festival (PBIFF) was the brainchild of local business and civic leaders who felt a film festival would offer an exciting cultural venue for the community, be a tremendous fundraiser for film and television education, and provide an excellent opportunity to introduce filmmakers to the area’s resources.

In 2003 PBIFF became a “Competitive” Festival, joining the ranks of film events such as Sundance, Cannes, Toronto, and Venice. The Festival’s big claim to fame was that it hosted the #1 most profitable movie of all time, Joel Zwick’s My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Following its world premiere at the 2002 festival, the film took in worldwide gross revenue of $369 million on a $6 million budget.

Following in that bridal comedy vein, The Wedding Invitation is an official selection of the Festival. It’s is a film for women, by women, and the entire crew and lead cast are all women. 5% of the film’s net profits will go to benefit 10 women’s charities.

To get some more info on the film, I spoke to the Miami native Producer Narmar Hanna of Narmartini Pictures.

What inspired you to work on this movie?
Well, I moved to Los Angeles from Miami over 10 years ago to pursue a career in acting.  In between acting jobs It seemed like, chunks of time would pass with no auditions.  It was during those down times with no auditions, that you kind of just wake up, and think ‘I need to create my own opportunities’. So I did just that.  My first project which I wrote, produced and starred in was a comedy short film called ‘ The Diner’s Club’.  It ended up doing really well on the festival circuit even winning Best Short film at the Vegas CineFest, and also a prestigious award at the Ft. Lauderdale Film Fest. We were in about 20 Film Festivals, and also screened all the way in Transylvania Romania, and Berlin Germany.

I mention this because fellow filmmaker Rainy Kerwin (who wrote, directed, and starred in The Wedding Invitation), saw my short and immediately wanted to hire me to Produce The Wedding Invitation ( I also have a part in it).  If I never would have created that short film, I wouldn’t be here at this festival right now!

How has the reaction been to an all women project?
It’s been really great!  That was definitely Rainy’s vision for the film.  The numbers of women working in Hollywood (behind the scenes) are pretty low, so that’s something she wanted to take an active role in changing.  Our entire crew is female.  From the Grip to the Sound and all the way down to the Cinematographer!  The Script Supervisor, the production assistants, even the Editor!  All female … And of course female producers!

Who will be at the screening in Palm Beach?
We are so excited to be World Premiering at the Palm Beach Festival, not only because it’s my hometown (South Florida), but because it’s Where My Big Fat Greek Wedding premiered.  And we all know, they were an extremely successful romantic comedy!  The writer/director/star Rainy Kerwin will be there along with myself, and the Cinematographer Alicia Robbins.  We are hoping more cast and crew will be able to attend as well!

What do you hope this film will achieve?
I hope a lot of people see the film!  It’s a very sweet and raunchy romantic comedy with heart!  Ideally, we open to some great screenings to full houses when we release in various cities , which is looking like Valentine’s 2017.

Screening dates for The Wedding Invitation are Saturday, April 9th at 5:45 pm, Cinemark Palace in Boca Raton. Tuesday April 12th, 7:45 pm at the the Palm Beaches Theatre in Manalapan

Palm Beach International Film Festival Schedule

Wednesday, April 6
Opening Night Film & Celebration
The Palm Beach International Film Festival kicks off its 21st year with an opening night film complete with a Hollywood-style red carpet screening and party at The Palm Beaches Theatre in Manalapan.

Thursday, April 7 – Thursday, April 14
Movies … Movies … Movies
Directors, producers, and talent attend many of these presentations and field questions from the audience, offering an interactive discussion about their careers and body of work.

Friday, April 8
After Hours Happy Hour
Meet and Greet with filmmakers and press.

Saturday, April 9 – Sunday, April 10
Weekend of Short Films

Saturday, April 9
Seminars
Educational and stimulating panels will give insight into the art and business of filmmaking.

Saturday, April 9
Spotlight Screening & Gala Party
Location TBD

Sunday, April 10
Student Showcase of Films Program
A highlight of the annual festival with winning student films featured on the big screen.

Sunday, April 10
Music Videos Showcase
Introducing festival goers to the independent world of music videos.

Sunday, April 10
Voices of Local Film
The finest new movies from filmmakers around Palm Beach County and the Paradise Coast

Monday, April 11
Gala Centerpiece Screening and Reception

Tuesday, April 12
VIP Reception
Following a day of films, a private party for VIPs, Platinum/Premiere pass holders, and visiting filmmakers at a VIP reception.
http://www.pbifilmfest.org/events.php?id=52

Wednesday, April 13
Special Event TBA

Thursday, April 14
Closing Night Film & Awards Presentation
The 21st Palm Beach International Film Festival comes to an end with closing night film presentation.

Thursday, April 14
It’s A Wrap! Party
The highlight of the evening will be the award presentations of the Jury and Audience Favorite films including cash prizes.Palm Beach International Film Festival 2016 Presents Local and International Talent and a New Home Theatre. Find More About What’s Happening This Year!

Sandra-Schulman Sandra Schulman is an arts writer, music and film producer. Born in Miami, her work has appeared in Billboard, Variety, Rolling Stone, Ocean Drive, Country Music Magazine, The New York Daily News, News From Indian Country, and Entertainment Weekly. She was an entertainment columnist for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel for 8 years. She has authored three books on pop culture. She currently lives in West Palm Beach with her blue eyed whippet. Sandra Schulman’s column appears weekly. Contact her at sandraslink@gmail.com.
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