Cosmic Film Festival to launch

Orlando’s inaugural Cosmic Film Festival will take place February 18-19 at AMC Universal City Walk and the Caribe Royale Orlando Resort, with a kick-off party on February 17 at B.B. King’s at Pointe Orlando, 9101 International Drive.

Despite the space-age name, the new festival is not devoted to science fiction but will include 113 films from many genres – with an emphasis on female filmmakers. About a third of the films are from Florida, and about a quarter are from outside the United States. Thirteen are feature-length movies (more than 40 minutes), and the rest are shorts, according to festival founder and director Ranelle Golden. The event will also offer discussion panels and parties at the Caribe Royale, at 8101 World Center Drive, which is 10 miles south of Universal (about a 20-minute drive, considering I-4 traffic).

“I started this festival with the idea of creating one in Florida that represents women in film as a key element to the festival,” Golden told me. “However, I also wanted to make sure that we had judges that cared and were not the founders or just in-house, but industry professionals. Too often, I see these festivals come together with the thought they can make money. They solicit filmmakers personally almost daily and make false promises. Then they judge in-house, having little to no experience in the industry. I want ours to be different. So far we are. I was anticipating about 100 [submissions] this season, and we have almost 300 from 28 countries.”

What does the future hold for the festival?

“I also have a bit [of] a dream to create a program that can go year-round with learning programs and summer camps for high school and college-age students, or really anyone that would like to learn the industry, though this is a few years off,” Golden says. “This year is a hard, excited year, as we learn the ropes and prove ourselves. We have only one sponsor, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, and everyone else is working in-kind with us as partners. We are all volunteers and doing this for the love of film, and bringing together filmmakers with audiences hungry for things different from mainstream movies.”

A ticket to a single film block is $12 while Saturday’s screening of The Second Coming of Christ is $15. A single day of films costs $45 while a two-day film pass is $90. Other ticket packages are available, including ones that provide unlimited access to panels and parties. (Yes, panels and parties also require tickets, ranging from $45 for one day of panels to $95 for the awards ceremony and masquerade party.) A ticket to everything costs $299. Add it all up, and it’s arguably the most ambitious first-year festival you’ve ever encountered. For more information, visit www.cosmicfilmfest.com.

Copyright 2017 © Cameron Meier

Correction: The original version of this article contained outdated information. The kick-off party was originally to be held at Blue Martini at Pointe Orlando. The location has now been moved to B.B. King’s.

 

Festival review

Based upon my experience at the festival this year, I do not recommend that filmmakers submit their work. From the poor organization, to the extremely low quality of the films, to the almost non-existent attendance, to — worst of all — the technical difficulties with the screenings, the inaugural event was a disappointment. I’m sure the hearts of the organizers were in the right place, but the end result was not what everyone had hoped for. I would especially caution non-local filmmakers from incurring the expense of traveling to the festival.