Annual film festival making debut at Epic venue in Mount Dora

A major international film festival is coming soon to a theater near you.

After many years in Ocoee, the Central Florida Film Festival is hitting the big screen in Mount Dora: the new $10 million Epic Theatres and its Epic XL screens, at 2300 Spring Harbor Blvd.

The 13th annual festival, scheduled for Sept. 7-9, will include film screenings, panel discussions among actors and filmmakers, special presentations, and other activities. Ticket prices are $10 for a single movie, $35 for a movie watcher pass, $100 for a three-day pass, and $200 for a VIP all-access pass. For tickets, go to centralfloridafilmfestival.com or epictheatres.com.

The move to Mount Dora, known as “The Festival City,” seemed like a “perfect marriage,” says film festival Executive Director Brendon Rogers, who’s in his first year at the helm.

“There’s nothing like this festival in North Lake County, or in South Lake County for that matter,” he says.

With a new city, new venue, and new board of directors, Brendon is not sure what to expect for this year’s event but he feels the area will be receptive.

“The arts in this area has a different set of appreciation across all demographics,” he says. “We’re hoping this is something that catches fire.”

This year’s lineup of actors and writers, according to a news release, includes:

  • Mindy Sterling, who played Frau Farbissina in the “Austin Powers” trilogy.
  • Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, who has appeared in “Pearl Harbor,” “Planet of the Apes,” and “License to Kill.”
  • Jacqueline Siegel, subject of the 2012 documentary “The Queen of Versailles,” will screen her sequel, “The Princess of Versailles,” and talk about her family’s foundation to prevent opioid abuse.
  • Greg Pitts, a member of the festival advisory board who has appeared in “Office Space,” “Coyote Ugly,” “Burn Notice,” “Idiocracy,” and “Sons & Daughters.”
  • George Perez, a legendary comic book artist for “Wonder Woman,” “Superman,” “The Avengers,” and others, will discuss the relationship between comic books and film.
  • Lisa London will promote her Official Selection film, “Finding Momma.” She has acted in films including “Dragnet,” “Black Moon Rising,” and “Savage Beach.”
  • Stan Zimmerman, a veteran Hollywood screenwriter known for his work on “Golden Girls,” “Gilmore Girls,” and the “Brady Bunch” films.

Stan also is the headlining judge for the inaugural screenwriting competition that will be incorporated into the annual festival. The competition is one of several new ideas in the works, Brendon says.

Festival organizers also are working with educational sponsors to develop a new Showcase Series of films that will be screened outside of the regular festival throughout the year at Epic or other venues. The films may be selected shorts or possibly studio films, and fit a narrower criteria for selection, for example, films on one subject or films all made by women, he says. The festival also wants to increase community outreach through fundraising events for other local nonprofit organizations.

For more information, visit centralfloridafilmfestival.com.

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