In 2005, Bob Cook, Writer/Producer/Director and Brandon Arrington, Artistic Director of the Osceola Center for the Arts, decided to produce a new film festival for the Central Florida area and thus, the Central Florida Film Festival was born. However, it wasn't going to be another festival where film makers wondered if their film was even viewed or perhaps a friend or local filmmaker had won Best Picture based on something other than merit. Through the use of Bob's industry contacts he was able to set up a festival program including; screenings, seminars and workshops with the goal to make those attending film makers better.
In 2006 the festival received only 33 entries and accepted 24. In rejecting nine films I wanted to let the film makers know their work was given every chance and I wrote a detailed critique with a rejection notice. For the most part, it was well received. Film is art and like most art, subjective. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. Having made more than twenty films myself, allowed me to critique films from experience, often giving suggestions on how certain problems could be solved.
In 2007, we received 112 entries. Five industry professionals view each entry and before they vote, tell me what they liked and didn't like. If your film scored above the necessary score (it goes up each year) then your film move on to the second round of competition and viewed by five different judges. If your film did not meet the requirements you receive a form letter of rejection. It's not personal it's just business.
In 2008 - CENFLO became a full fledged International Festival. Robert Hackett of the United Kingdom became the first foreign winner. He traveled all the way from England to attend the festival and was more than happy when he received his award for Best Short 'Patience'. This was also the year CENFLO became a Florida State 501c-3 Charity.
In 2009, we moved to the West Orange Cinema in Ocoee, Floridaa. Screening in a beautiful movie theater gives our film makers a feeling of accomplishment and valuable exposure. More room means more screenings, seminars, and more important more networking possibilities.
In 2012, we accepted eighty films into the festival. For a three day event that's unheard of!
In 2013, Movie Maker Magazine named us to their "Top 25 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee." VIP's for that year included Felissa Rose from "Sleepaway Camp," Richard Speight Jr. from television's "Supernatural" and Tara Cardinal "Legend of the Red Reaper".
In 2014, we accepted 79 films into the festival including several with name talents such as Eric Roberts, C. Thomas Howell, Gary Busey, Lee Meriwether, Shirley Jones, and Tom Sizemore.
2017 is our 12th, year and we expect it to be our biggest year ever!
Those who attend our festival are treated to an excellent Labor Day weekend (September 1-3). premiers of films from around the world, seminars, and an awards show to inspire film makers. More important, the executive director is accessible throughout the entire event. I was inspired by Producer/Director Jerry Lewis who's Labor Day telethon was an industry staple as long as I can remember. He worked long hours and made sure his guests were entertained. I come to you with the same promise. If you attend the Central Florida Film Festival I will work long hours to ensure my guests and the artists involved have a quality, informative and entertaining weekend.
See you at this year's event!!