The inaugural Skyway Film Festibal is set for June 12-14. It's starting off big, with a first-year schedule of more than 50 films that will be screened at the Manatee Performing Arts Center in Bradenton. Here's a list of the films that will be part of the festival. A detailed schedule of films and other events is available at skywayfilmfestival.com.
Opening Night - World Premiere
WALT BEFORE MICKEY
Khoa Le, USA, 2015, 120m
Cast: Thomas Ian Nicholas, Jon Heder, David Henrie, Jodie Sweetin
Shot in Florida, WALT BEFORE MICKEY, which stars Thomas Ian Nicholas, Jon Heder, David Henrie and Jodie Sweetin, chronicles the life of Walter Disney from his childhood in Missouri to his start as an animator. Directed by Khoa Lee as his first feature length film, WALT BEFORE MICKEY is based on the book by author Timothy S. Susanin. Voltage Pictures and Mission Pictures are the sales representatives for the film. Distributed by Voltage Pictures.
Closing Night - Florida Premiere
NO STRANGER THAN LOVE
Nick Wernham, USA, 2015, 89m
Cast: Alison Brie, Colin Hanks, Justin Chatwin
There isn't a man in town who isn't in love with Lucy Sherrington, and who can blame them? She is kind and helplessly sympathetic yet romantically she keeps them all at a polite distance until tonight. Tonight she has agreed to a rendezvous with Clint, the married coach of the high school football team. Just as they are about to begin their affair, Clint disappears down a hole that opens up in Lucy's living room floor. But this is not just any hole. It is an inter-dimensional, one-way hole of infinite darkness that leaves Clint stranded and floating in oblivion. Lucy must embark on a harrowing quest to rescue Clint and keep their love affair a secret, while avoiding a dark stranger who has just arrived in town.
A SORT OF HOMECOMING
Maria Burton, USA, 2015, 88m
2015 Newport Beach Film Festival
Cast: Katherine McNamara, Laura Marano, Kathleen Wilhoite
New York news producer Amy Hartington believes she left her Louisiana small town upbringing firmly in the past -- until an unexpected summons from her high school debate coach compels her to return "home." Their strained reunion forces Amy to relive long-buried memories of her tumultuous senior year and re-examine her relationships with friends, family and her inscrutable debate partner, Nick. Featuring a terrific soundtrack of Louisiana locals, A Sort of Homecoming shows that it's never too late to come of age.
ACROSS THE SEA
Esra Saydam & Nisan Dag, USA/Turkey, 2015, 105m
2015 Slamdance Audience Winner
Cast: Damla Sönmez, Ahmet Rifat Sugnar, Jacob Fishel
A Turkish immigrant estranged from her homeland, Damla, lives in New York City with her husband Kevin, expecting their first child. But with the memories of a first love continuing to haunt her, Damla returns to Turkey and confronts a troubling secret from her past.
LAND OF LEOPOLD
Akis Konstantakopoulous, USA, 2015, 87m
2015 Sun Valley Audience Winner
Cast: Chris Pinkala, Drake Shannon, Ray Wise, Scottie Thompson
Leopold Rawlins is a troubled drifter suffering from a bad past and worse present. Living in and out of prison and out on the streets, Leopold winds up being deemed insane by the state and sent to the Milton Way House. Searching for redemption, Leopold uncovers new unlikely friends and an adventure that tests his limits. Distributed by HBO Europe and Continental Media North America.
Charles Hood, USA, 2015, 90m
2015 SXSW World Premiere
Cast: Adam Pally, Rosa Salazar, Rob Huebal, Tony Hale, Peter Krause
Workaholic Kevin (Adam Pally) goes home with the beautiful train-wreck Madeline (Rosa Salazar) for a drunken one night stand, but he's horrified to discover she's actually his boss' jilted ex-mistress. After she takes a bottle of sleeping pills, Kevin is forced to keep her awake all night. As Madeline and Kevin banter through the night, they begin to fall for each other.
Robert Hamilton, USA, 2015, 104m
Cast: Nick Apostolides, Regen Wilson, Elizabeth Deo
Property appraiser Henry Dawles fights for his sanity when he's trapped on a rural farm inhabited by sinister beings overseen by a mysterious caretaker. In this twisted tale of morality and redemption, Henry must confront the terrors of his present while coming to terms with the horrors of his past.
THERE IS A NEW WORLD SOMEWHERE
Li Lu, USA, 2015, 102m
Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival Special Jury Award
Cast: Agnes Bruckner, Ashley Bell, Maurice Compte
Sylvia returns to her Texas hometown for a friend's wedding. There she meets Esteban, an electrifying stranger. He dares her to join him on a road trip through the Deep South.
Marianna Palka, USA, 2015, 89m
2015 Newport Beach World Premiere
Cast: Jason Ritter, Lukas Haas, Frances Shaw, Ryan O'Nan, Rain Phoenix
A struggling actress trying to make a name for herself in Hollywood, can't catch a break, and things only get worse when her agent decides to drop her. In the wake of this news, she meets another actor with whom she develops a mild obsession, quickly putting the rest of her life on the back burner. As her priorities slip and the other relationships in her life start to fall away, she finds that there's no one there to catch her when the bottom truly drops out and she's left with nowhere to turn.
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE COMPETITION
3 ½ MINUTES, 10 BULLETS
Marc Silver, USA, 2015, 85m
Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving November 2012, four boys in a red SUV pull into a gas station after spending time at the mall buying sneakers and talking to girls. With music blaring, one boy exits the car and enters the store, a quick stop for a soda and a pack of gum. A man and a woman pull up next to the boys in the station, making a stop for a bottle of wine. The woman enters the store and an argument breaks out when the driver of the second car asks the boys to turn the music down. 3 1/2 minutes and ten bullets later, one of the boys is dead. 3 1/2 MINUTES dissects the aftermath of this fatal encounter.
THE BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION
Stanley Nelson, 2015, 113m
This documentary tells the rise and fall of the Black Panther Party, one of the 20th century's most alluring and controversial organizations that captivated the world's attention for nearly 50 years. Distributed by PBS.
IMBA MEANS SING
Danielle Bernstein, USA, 2015, 75m
Atlanta Film Festival 2015
IMBA MEANS SING is the intimate character portrait and enchanting journey of Angel, Moses, and Nina - three children growing up in the slums of Uganda, unable to afford a basic education - who get the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to tour the world with the GRAMMY-nominated African Children's Choir, raising support to put themselves through college.
Yaniv Rokah, USA, 2015, 75m
DocFest, SF Documentary Festival
Forced onto the streets in her 50s, Marie found "home" at a Santa Monica laundromat. Taking shelter there for 20 years, Mimi's passion for pink, and living without looking back, has taken her from homelessness to Hollywood's red carpets.
FLORIDA FOCUS FEATURES
CATCHING JUNIOR TATE
Karl Wilson, USA, 106m
Bounty hunter, Joe Merriweather just made one of the easiest apprehensions of his career... or so he thought. Within hours of capturing the infamous career criminal, Junior Tate, Joe finds himself stranded South of the Texas/Mexico border, with nothing but the clothes on his back and his less than willing bounty. With a thousand miles between him and his destination, and a crime boss' henchmen lying in wait to take possession of his ne'er-do-well captive, Joe's easiest job, just might be his last.
Nick Morgulis, USA, 2015, 113m
Sarasota Film Festival 2015
Oyster-fishing in Paradise, FL earns Tommy a living, but hardly a life. His best friend, Sean, is caught between two women, each a mother of one of his children. When Sean's wife attempts suicide, Tommy moves in to help and finds the family he didn't know he needed. Forced to face his past demons and current addictions, Tommy discovers that sometimes when you have nothing left to lose, you might finds something worth fight for.
Luc Campeau, USA, 2015, 94m
Cast: Noah Schnacky, Mary Rachel Dudley
Work In Progress Screening As Part of the Skyway Labs
Inspired by true events that took place at the George C. McGough Nature Park in Largo, Florida - The story is told from the Nature park first habitants 'THE TURTLES"
SPECIAL RETROSPECTIVE SCREENING
THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT
Dan Myrick & Eduardo Sanchez, USA, 81m
Special Screening and Q&A with Director Dan Myrick
Three film students vanish after traveling into a Maryland forest to film a documentary on the local Blair Witch legend, leaving only their footage behind.
SHORT FILM COMPETITION, SPONSORED BY INDIEPIX
Stan Arthur, USA, 2015, 23m
AT RISK is a 23-minute documentary that profiles five people who are making a difference in the lives of at-risk youth in the Tampa Bay area. They include Niki Cross, who at age 15 was abducted by a human trafficker and held prisoner as a sex slave for a year, as well as former NFL wide receiver Michael Clayton, who is opening housing facilities for young men who are aging out of foster care and personally mentoring them.
Robby Stahl & Max Belk, USA, 2015, 4m
Two actors, Robby and Max, make their way through New York City in pursuit of obtaining their dreams of being movie stars. They have ups and downs through comedic relief but still strive to make the best of every situation.
North American Premiere
COME, THE LIGHT
Chao Koi-Wang, Taiwan, 27m
Fighting for a lottery ticket, two star-crossed lovers and a big flock of greedy fools experienced an eccentric night.
Paulina Dana, Argentina, 2015, 19m
A group of teenage friends spend a fun afternoon at a cemetery or so it seems.
DOWN IN FLAMES
William J. Stribling, USA, 2015, 30m
Tony 'Volcano' Valenci has spent his life attempting to set a world record. Now, Tony plans to shock the world by attempting the impossible: blowing fire while skydiving.
Justin S. Lee, USA, 2015, 14m
A rookie Air Force drone pilot (Daniel Sharman) finds himself increasingly attached to a target he watches from halfway around the world.
END OF WAR
Bernard E. James, Canada, 2015, 9m
Set during WWI, 'The End of War' focuses on three Allied soldiers approaching the last minutes of combat before the armistice takes effect.
FALLING TO PIECES
Chris Connolly & Vivian Connolly, USA, 2015, 18m
Cassandra had no idea that her husband had checked the organ donation box on his driver's license. And after he died, she became determined to meet every one of the recipients. Each encounter proves more disastrous than the last; but if she can't move on, she might just fall apart.
Aly Migliori, USA, 2015, 13m
In returning home to celebrate a Catholic feast, Sara faces a family that now feels foreign and a culture she no longer understands.
Lauren Smitelli, US, 2015, 14m
A young woman goes searching for someone from her past but soon realizes she may not be ready for the journey she set out on.
ONE NIGHT IN HOLLYWOOD
Sheri Sussman, USA, 2015, 11m
No matter how powerful you are in Hollywood, there's always someone more powerful than you that has your career in the palm of their hand. A satire about two Indie filmmakers who find the perfect investor for their film who only has one deal point - that they kill a studio executive that has crossed him. But, oddly enough - agreeing on an ending to their film seems to be their biggest problem.
Travis Bell, USA, 2015, 24m
Former NFL safety Marcus Paschal returns to his alma mater, Largo High School, as a first-year head coach. Paschal discovered football as the outlet to escape his community, but his mission is to help past, present, and future Largo students and athletes to find a way out and return to give back. Packer Pride is a story about community, football, and race.
PARDON THE INTRUSION
Harry Chadwick, United Kingdom, 19m
Pardon the Intrusion is a film exploring age, personal courage and interconnection.
RUDY & NEAL GO FISHING
Abigail Tannebaum, Sharon & Pablo Durana, USA, 2015, 25m
This is a film about two guys who go fishing in South Florida's beautiful waters. But this is not your ordinary fishing trip. Meet Rudy - U.S. Army veteran suffering from PostTraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Neal - a tournament angler with an unusual profession. Fishing is part of Rudy's therapy and the simplicity and tranquility of fishing allows this vet to reconnect with nature and start to heal.
THE SON OF MAPES
Aaron Hosé, USA/Aruba, 2015, 14m
The Sons of Mapes shares the intimate and uplifting story of the 40-year reunion of an all-Latin American and Caribbean collegiate tennis team with their ailing 86 year-old coach.
Iva Gocheva, USA, 2015, 13m
Guided by an off screen interviewer, SUNDAY follows a young Bulgarian woman in New York dealing with the harsh reality of her expired Visa. Through a cascade of images and events from her final days in the city, we see her building anxiety as she begins to realize the beauty and impermanence of her existence.
North American Premiere
WASHAKIE AND THE BOY WITH THE WET HANDS
Eric Monteagudo & Orio Peñalver, Spain, 2015, 11m
The Washakie's village is suffering an unprecedented drought. His father is ill and scarcity of water has made it worse. The boy embarks on a journey to the east, the forbidden land, to seek help from the American colonists. There he meets a mysterious cowboy who flees the civilization, whom Washakie will find suspicious.
North American Premiere
Sarah Heitz De Chabaneix, France, 2015, 8m
A teenager talks freely, reinventing herself along the way, looking at her life without any taboo. While on the other side of the door, her parents are extremely worried. They can only, indeed, imagine everything their daughter hides from them
Rafael Duarte, France, 2015, 26m
"Whiteout" is the story of the pursuit of a dream. It's a trip into the mind of a journalist and photographer in a challenge at the Mont-Blanc, France. The documentary reveals how he tried to reach out for his potential and understand the passion for climbing and the love for the mountains. It shows that it's is not about going higher, but reaching further.
FLORIDA SHORT FILMS
Gary Grant, USA, 2015, 22m
The year, 1954, might not stand out in history books. However, for those seeking a "real" ghost tour, the date is a milestone. What took place then provides a paranormal gateway now, with an invitation that shouldn't be accepted lightly.
CASTER'S BLOG: A GEEK LOVE STORY
Austin McKinley, USA, 2015, 16m
Ray Caster has no idea how to talk to girls. He coasts through life in Sarasota, Florida, writing his blog about beer, pizza and Star Trek. So when he meets Shadoe Beaupre--quite possibly the coolest, most perfect girl he can imagine--he's completely unprepared.
Jordan Wall, USA, 2015, 13m
After a botched mission resulting in the massacre of his team, Sgt Goode escapes the enemy, only to discover the real enemy may be closer to home. Confined in a room with his superior officer, a cat and mouse game ensues with secrets revealed and painful truths rising to the surface.
Susan Gallagher, USA, 2015, 6m
When life gets muddy, put on your big girl boots. After Jodie's dysfunctional family falls apart and she's betrayed by a friend, she finds relief in the strength and humor of her boot stomping Aunt Viva Lea.
Kevin James O'Neill, USA, 2015, 8m
An older African American male looks back on his life and the event drastically changed it. The story revolves around the loss of innocence in his childhood.
TL Westgate, USA, 2015, 16m
Saving the world has unintended consequences.
MAY I HAVE 5, PLEASE
John C. Jones, USA, 2015, 3m
A man who is looking to party leaves his house to meet up with a shady character. Upon his return home a few thugs are waiting for him. Are they looking for revenge or something even more sinister?
ONLY IRON RUSTS
Mark Zampella, USA, 2015, 8m
Only Iron Rusts investigates the cause and effect of oxidation through the eyes of puppets fashioned from tin cans. Told in mockumentary style and shot in noir-ish black and white, the story at first resembles a 50s health class training film before quickly evolving into an existential visual treatise.
Alison Laura Fletcher, USA, 2015, 6m
Screen Memory tells the story of my mother's encounter with the astronaut John Glenn in 1961. The film makes use of found images borrowed from historical books and web pages featuring the NASA space program, as well as more personal family photos of my mother and her life in Florida in the early 1960's.
Drew Permutter, USA, 2015, 4m
Archibald Gano was a pioneer in the Central Florida farming industry. Though he played such a pivotal role in the development of early Florida agriculture, today his legacy is but a thing of the past. Settling Mascotte is a micro-documentary chronicling the pursuits of a man whose fruitful life left a mark on land that now lies empty of all his traces.
THE SUNNY SIDE
Trishul Thejasvi, USA, 2015, 11m
The Sunny Side takes us on a short, self-affirming journey through the entire life of a person, from the 1960's to the present day.
A SKELETON NAMED OLIVER
Clara Maria Díez, USA, 2015 9m
In a world with no color or life, a shy yet optimistic skeleton longs for something beautiful and alive. However, after the Land of he Living proves not to be the wonderland he had imagined, the skeleton named Oliver finds that beauty and life exist even amongst the dead.
Kris & Kurtis Theorin, USA, 2015, 9m
Sometimes communicating with the opposite sex can be as alien as communicating with well... an alien. This slightly sci-fi short film is a touching coming of age story that the awkward in all of us can relate to.
ATTACK OF THE KILLER SKELETON FROM OUTER SPACE
Will Smith, USA, 2015, 13m
A student uncovers the truth about his high school's new principal.
Ethan Seneker, USA, 8m
A boy and a girl are having an affair with each other and proceed to question the morality of their situation.
Max Martin, Canada, 2015, 16m
When eighteen-year old Jesse returns home from an eating disorder clinic, he discovers that adjusting to life outside of the program may be more difficult than he suspected as he is forced to confront his past compulsions alongside his obsessive family.
CRI DE COEUR
Delaney Noris, USA, 2015, 12m
After the murder of a young woman, an up-and-coming detective interrogates potential suspects.
Nathan Deming, USA, 2015, 17m
A portrait of adolescence, brotherhood, and a moment of discovery. Stephen and Isaac are bored to death on a hot summer day when the dog goes missing
EGMONT PASSAGE: THE FACTS BEHIND THE FICTION (A HISTORY OF COASTAL TAMPA BAY)
Antonino Fabiano, USA, 2015, 39m
This documentary, a teacher/student production from Palmetto High School Television, tells the history of coastal Tampa Bay through characters in the young adult novel, Egmont Passage. Shot mostly on-location at sites such as Fort DeSoto and Egmont Key, viewers time-travel to the prehistoric era, and to many other periods of Florida history. Saber-tooth tigers, Spanish Conquistador's, and Robert E. Lee await an unsuspecting audience as this adventure story uncovers Florida's rich past.
THE EMOTIONAL DIMENSIONS OF THE JAMES RIVER
Michelle Marquez, USA, 2015, 3m
The fifteen-year-old scientist, artist and director of this experimental film challenge the traditional separation between Science and Art.
EYE OF THE BEHOLDER
William Stead, USA, 5m
A boy diagnosed with autism learns to cope with his disorder.
Gabriel Galand, Korea, 2015, 11m
In the end of the nineteenth century, an isolated aristocrat becomes convinced that the house and grounds are haunted.
LALO & MORELLA
Ines Michelena, USA, 2015, 9m
Years into their marriage, Morella discovered she wasn't the only woman in Lalo's life. Now in their eighties, they still live under the same roof, but in separate beds. When Lalo falls ill, old wounds open back up, and Morella must decide if she will forgive him before it's too late.
Minji Kang, USA, 2015, 20m
A North Korean general checks in on his daughter at a Swiss boarding school to test her loyalty to her motherland.
WONDER IN THE SMOKIES
Drew Permutter, USA 2015, 5m
The town of Elkmont, Tennessee once stood as booming vacation destination, serving as a weekend getaway for big city folk. With the establishment of The Great Smoky Mountain National Park, the land that Elkmont sat on was bought. It was only a matter of time before the town began to fade away with the chaining of the seasons. Wonder In The Smokies is a micro-documentary that delves into the history of a once thriving mountain town, now forgotten.