BRADENTON -- In the lobby hangs a chandelier that was featured in the classic film "Gone With the Wind." But for the first year of its existence, that was the only link between the Manatee Performing Arts Center and the world of cinema.
But on Wednesday, officials of the Movieville International Film Festival announced that the festival was moving to Bradenton, and that the Performing Arts Center would be its home.
"We're here to stay," said Alan Bailey, the founder and executive artistic director of the festival.
In fact, the festival's commitment to Bradenton is so strong that it's renamed itself the Bradenton Arts Movieville Film Festival.
The four-year-old festival, which offers independent films from around the world, with a focus on independent films and Florida filmmakers, has been based in Sarasota until now.
As the new name implies, there are other changes in store for the festival. This year's festival, which is scheduled for May 8-18, will incorporate visual art and music.
"And in the future will also have live performing arts," Bailey said. "We'll have some live performing arts this year, but not much."
Festival officials, along with officials from the Bradenton Area Film Commission and the Bradenton Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, made the announcement at the performing arts center on Wednesday.
They had other news beside the move and the name change. They also announced that BAMFF has established a partnership with the Milan Film festival in Italy. The two festivals will cross-promote, which will increase the name recognition of Bradenton in the European film community and among the general population in Italy.
There's more to this year's BAMFF than just films. In fact, the 11-day festival includes just three days of film screenings. The screenings are slated for 10 a.m.-6 p.m. May 16-18. Both of the Manatee Performing Arts Center's theaters -- Stone Hall, which seats about 380 people, and the more intimate Bradenton Kiwanis Studio Theatre, which seats about 100 depending on how seats are configured -- will be have screenings. A $15 ticket will allow unlimited access for one day. (There will also be one film screened in the Bishop Planetarium at the South Florida Museum.)
Other events will be at locations around the Bradenton area, including an invitation-only grand opening celebration at the Powel Crosley Estate on May 8, a concert featuring Rick Derringer and Marty Balin at the Bradenton Area Convention Center on May 10, a party on Old Main Street on May 16 and a closing gala at the Bradenton Auditorium on May 18.
For further details, go to www.movievillefilmfestival.com.
Marty Clear, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-708-7919. Follow twitter.com/martinclear.