Opening Night CelebrationThe 2008 Festival begins Thursday night with an opening ceremony and the Southeast premiere of Crazy, a biopic on the life of legendary Nashville guitarist Hank Garland, at the Florida Theatre. Sought after by the major artists of the 1950s, including Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison and Patsy Cline, Garland became known for his experimental sound, much of which he credited to late-night jams with African American artists on Printer's Alley. But this didn't set well with the Nashville Machine and a subsequent, near-fatal car crash that ended Garland's career has long been a subject of suspicion among family, fans and friends.
Following the crash, Garland, whom many believed dead, disappeared from Nashville, reemerging years later in Orange Park, located just outside Jacksonville's city limits. Just before his death in 2004, Garland made a last-ditch, legal effort to recover royalties from the holiday standard, Jingle Bell Rock, which he wrote with singer and friend Bobby Helms.
Crazy stars Waylon Payne as Garland and Ali Larter as his wife, Evelyn. Both stars will make appearances at the screening along with writer/director Rick Bieber. Following the screening, fans can celebrate with fellow Crazy actors Jimmy Bruno, David Smith, Skip & Nancy Frye, Jerry Carris, Ed Cotton and Dave Plummer at Maverick's at The Jacksonville Landing.
Viva Cinema CelebrationFriday night brings the Viva Cinema Celebration with a cocktail reception and screening of the Brazilian-made Meteoro at the Florida Theatre. It's the story of a 1960s construction crew abandoned in the desert after a military coups. A full stock of provisions, frequent visits from local prostitutes and the appearance of an indigenous Indian who teaches the group about his culture's worship of meteorites convince the guys to forget about being rescued and set up their own little paradise.
The SAMBA! SALSA! SWING! after party follows at The Jacksonville Landing.
Hollywood Film and GalaSaturday night traditionally has been the film festival's big night. That tradition continues with a cocktail reception and screening of The Year of Getting to Know Us at the Florida Theatre. The film stars Jimmy Fallon, Sharon Stone and Lucy Liu and was shot partially in Jacksonville. Fallon plays a New York journalist forced to return to his tiny, North Florida hometown to deal with his estranged father's stroke and his dysfunctional past.
The Main Library at Heming Plaza downtown hosts the gala sponsored by Grey Goose and Bacardi. This is the one to break out your best duds for.
Hip-Hop For The Masses CelebrationSunday's festivities include a screening of Inside the Circle, the award-winning documentary about two talented b-boys (break dancers) who go from best friends to fierce rivals when they join competing dance crews. One lands international success while the other battles legal troubles.
The Hip-Hop for the Masses Street Party follows with performances by Northeast Florida's own B Boy Circles, live graffiti artists and a hip-hop stage DJs and other performers.
Rounding it OutThis year's festival takes on an international flair with programs like A Taste of India, Europa Europa and The World of Docs, a collection of the best documentaries from around the globe. The Bringing Hollywood Home program features a series of films with a connection to Northeast Florida. Coming of Age films deal with teenage issues. On the Edge is a series of experimental, avante garde and horror flicks. And A Moment of Silence Please features films made by, for or about deaf people.
Industry expert panels happen throughout the event and focus on script writing, legal and ethical issues involved in filmmaking, and tips on landing state-based incentives.