Best of Film Festival to debut

Wyndham Orlando to host fest, job fair

From The Orlando Weekly, May 9, 2017

When is a first-year festival really not a first-year festival? When it’s comprised of the best films from already established events.

Such is the case for the Best of Film Festival (BFF), which will hold its inaugural event Saturday, May 13, at the Wyndham Orlando Resort’s convention center, near the corner of International Drive and Sand Lake Road. The festival will include 54 short films and a free job fair focusing on employment opportunities in the movie industry.

The all-day event will include some of the best movies from the Love Your Shorts Film Festival, STARTFEST (a student festival), the End of Days Film Festival and the 48 Hour Film Project. In addition, it will feature the first FantaSci Short Film Festival, which will screen short fantasy and science fiction movies.

“BFF began as an idea between three local film festival coordinators,” says Kyle Snavely, founder and director of STARTFEST and the Orlando city producer for the 48 Hour Film Project. “We were sitting around talking about the efforts we all had to make to secure a location, promote and host a film festival. There are a lot of moving parts behind the scenes. So we decided to team up. Not only has this made the process easier from an individual standpoint since we’re able to divvy up responsibilities – which ultimately improves the final product – but because this is a collaboration, we’re able to provide the best content from each festival.

“We’re simultaneously hosting a free job fair for people looking for work in film/video as well,” says Snavely. “This all-day event is a place to mingle with other local filmmakers and production companies.”

Local filmmaker Trent Duncan, founder and director of the End of Days Film Festival, is the second piece of the organizational puzzle.

“The End of Days Film Festival is a great fit for the BFF because we showcase apocalyptic-themed films that have grown in popularity over the years in our culture,” Duncan says.

Expanding on that science-fiction theme is the new FantaSci Short Film Festival, founded by the third BFF puzzle piece, local filmmaker TL Westgate.

“I had a short sci-film film on the festival circuit a few years ago and found there to be a lack of sci-fi-specific festivals, so I’ve been wanting to start my own for a while,” Westgate says. “I knew Trent and Kyle ran their own festivals, and they were getting ready for their next yearly installments when they prompted me to stop thinking about it and do it. And in doing so, we were able to combine our fests into something bigger, which is a great start for mine, as first-year fests can sometimes be lackluster. I’ve had great success out of the gate with over 80 entries, and next year we’re hoping to expand our concept to multiple days to accommodate screening more of these excellent films. Future goals include bringing in genre-favorite celebrities as well.”

The job fair runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with films beginning at noon. First up are nine films from the Love Your Shorts Film Festival from 12 to 1:15 p.m., followed by 17 STARTFEST films from 1:45 to 3 p.m., 10 FantaSci films from 3:30 to 4:45 p.m. and nine End of Days films from 5:15 to 6:30 p.m. After a dinner break, the fest will conclude with nine of the best films from the 2017 Orlando 48 Hour Film Project from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m., the 48 Hour Film Project’s awards ceremony and a wrap party starting at 10:30 p.m.

A ticket to a single block of films is $5 while a ticket to everything is $15. However, if you purchased a ticket to the 48 Hour Film Project screenings last weekend, that ticket is good for all the BFF screenings. For more information and to buy tickets, visit www.bestoffilmfest.com.

Copyright 2017 © Orlando Weekly