By Diliana Alexander, Indie Film Club
When I first moved to Miami, in between the two years of studying, I found myself teaching film in The Keys. The impression was so vivid – the characters, the glorious nature – the roving mating blue crabs, the alien man o’ wars, flamboyant sting rays, the outrageous stories that I found hard to believe but loved – “Did you hear the guitar teacher Jimmy received a tip from one of the parents in the form of a gold Spanish coin from a Pirate treasure?” Yeah, right. That night my roommate Jimmy confirmed it was true.
A year later, when I was writing my next film, The Keys (not surprisingly) emerged as the setting. You can’t help but be influenced by the place. As Herzog once said, the edge of the world draws a certain set of adventurers, filmmakers and writers being only some of them. Enter the Key West Film Festival, with its mission to “showcase films that capture Key West’s essence: Creativity, Diversity, Sustainability, and Beauty” and its diverse line-up.
In its second year, it includes the documentary I Am Divine, directed by Jeffrey Schwarz, John Waters is one of the subjects and is said to be in attendance, “Running from Crazy” directed by Academy award winner Barbara Kopple and starring Mariel Hemingway, also in attendance, “August Osage County,” starring Academy Award winners Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts and “Interior. Leather Bar”, where co-directors James Franco and Travis Mathews present a re-imagining of the last 40 minutes of the ambiguous ending of the cult classic film “Cruising” as an examination of creative and sexual freedom. Going through the line-up, I commend the programmers, who it seems have intentionally set to capture the essence of The Keys.
There is a strong representation of Florida filmmaking, always good. On Thursday, November 14th, catch the light-hearted farce “Tony Tango”, directed by Manolo Celi. Also, “Sunlight Jr.”, directed by Laurie Collyer, starring Matt Dillon and Naomi Watts. Then, on Friday at 6PM, don’t miss ‘Made in Florida’ Short Film Collection, and of course, the “Cocaine Cowboys Remix” on Sunday, at 2:30 p.m. I am curious on how director Billy Corben will handle another re-telling of the film. Rakontur’s pop docs are always entertaining and I admit, my Florida sports and criminal history is flavored by them.
For you short film addicts (and I am one of them), make sure to attend the screening 2013 Sundance Shorts, even more enticing by the promised introduction by Shane Carruth. Shane is an exquisite filmmaker, who crafts deeply moving films on very low budgets, if you have not seen them, log into Netflix and put Primer and Upstream Color in your cue immediately.
I can go into the parties, but it’s THE KEYS, you know they will be wild. So instead, I am off to pack my bags and your call to actions is to meet me at the edge of the world.