It’s a little known fact, but at the beginning of the 20th century, Jacksonville was known as the “Winter Film Capital of the World.” With a warm climate, easy railroad access, and diverse environments, Jacksonville was a natural pick for Hollywood greats like Richard Normon and even served as the starting point for perhaps the greatest film studio in history; MGM.
Not much is left from these early beginnings of film. However, one of the remaining pieces of history is being honored with serving as the host for the Jacksonville Film Festival. Founded in 2002, the Jacksonville Film Festival will take place November 15-20 at the San Marco Theatre, honoring Jacksonville’s rich film history.
There is a lot to look forward to this year. It’s clear that the Jacksonville Film Festival is pulling out all the stops. For those who can’t make every single event, however, here’s a list of the top 5 happening over the next week.
- “The Wizard of Oz” Screening (Nov. 15, 7:30 PM)
The MGM classic is returning to theatres for its 80th anniversary, an opportunity you simply cannot miss. Watch this Hollywood masterpiece in hi-definition on the big screen and relive the wonders of Munchkin Land and the Emerald City. MGM got its start in Jacksonville and prominent players in the film’s creation, such as assistant makeup artist William Tuttle, come from Jax. The screening takes place at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, November 15th.
- Women’s Perspective Panel (Nov. 16, 10 AM)
Women are gaining prominence in Hollywood, with many of them gaining honors as directors and producers. Learn about what it’s like to be a woman in Hollywood and the hurdles many have had to leap over. Actress Christina Wren, from Batman v Superman and Man of Steel will be a guest on the panel and provide valuable insight on what it’s like being a mother and working actress while bringing awareness to the inequalities present in Hollywood regarding directing roles outside of the white, male tradition.
- <3 Your Docs (Nov. 17, 12 PM)
Documentaries are controversial, eye-opening, beautiful, and often surprising. The Jacksonville Film Festival is screening some fantastic pieces this year. The one I’m personally most excited for? “5 Reasons Why We Need Hate Speech,” directed by Molly Dedham. Free speech is a hot topic these days, and Dedham’s piece beautifully lays out the truth of what free speech really means. It’s a documentary bound to rustle some feathers but that’s what happens when people speak the truth.
- Salute Your Students Shorts (Nov. 17, 3:30 PM)
Highschoolers and college students come together in the Student Films block, and while for some, this is their first film, it’s clear the talent each of these students has. There are student films from around the globe being represented, such as “The Can” from Russia. Florida’s own top film university, Florida State, has five films being screened. The film to look out for? “Doll it Up,” directed by Yalan Hu. Hailing from Wuhan, China, Hu has been a ground-breaking up-and-comer and is a breath of fresh air from the redundancy of American film.
- The After Parties (Nov. 15-17)
Films are great, but it’s just as much fun to socialize and drink! Grape & Grain will be hosting the afterparties for the Jacksonville Film Festival, and it’s sure to be a blast. Check out San Marco’s bar scene and meet some of the influential creators Friday night after “The Wizard of Oz” screening or close out the festival at the very end on Sunday at 7:45 p.m.
Buy your tickets ASAP through Eventbrite!