By Patrice Shields

It’s Oscars month but you don’t have to wait Film Still - Dorothea Lange 1936 by Paul S.Taylorfor the Academy Awards to walk the red carpet. From February 12-16, 2016 the first Bonita Springs International Film Festival (BIFF) presents over 70 carefully curated narrative, documentary, animation and short films from around the world, complemented by a wide variety of workshops, demonstrations and Q & A Sessions with filmmakers, writers, directors and actors at the Center for Performing Arts Bonita Springs (CPABS). Held over five days, BIFF will screen films in both the 400 Seat Hinman Auditorium and the newly renovated 200 seat Moe Auditorium & Film Center. BIFF’s festivities include a red carpet Opening Night and parties Saturday and Tuesday evening that offer opportunities for filmmakers, directors, writers, actors and audiences to meet, share ideas while they mix and mingle.

“The Big point that ultimately surfaced in our discussions about having a film festival was that we, as an organization, are all about the arts, all the arts,” says Susan Bridges President of the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs. “So, we began looking at the idea that our Bonita Springs International Film Festival might see the majority of our films showcasing an artistic connection of some kind, beyond the fact that film is an art form in itself.”

Film as an art form at the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs has grown into an entertaining and educational year-round entity serving thousands of residents and visitors of all ages in Southwest Florida. The Centers first launched their Foreign Film Series in 2008. CFABS then added the impressive Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers in 2015 and now are now adding the Bonita Springs International Film Festival in 2016.


Moe Auditorium & Film Center
6:30pm Ribbon Cutting, Walk the Red Carpet
(Cocktails, Hors d’oeuvres, Live Music)
7:00pm Opening Night Film: “Una Noche”
NR / 100 min / Drama / Cuba

In Havana, Raul dreams of escaping to Miami. Accused of assault, he appeals to Elio to help him reach the forbidden world 90 miles across the ocean. One night, full of hope, they face the biggest challenge of their lives. “Una Noche” is Generously Sponsored by Finemark National Bank & Trust.

Moe Auditorium & Film Center
Opening Night Party

With music, inspired cuisine, craft beers, creative cocktails, desserts and the opportunity to mingle with friends and film lovers, the Opening Night Party is the perfect start to five days of conversation, cinema and celebration! Business casual attire.

Moe Auditorium & Film Center
10:00am Shorts Showcase #1: Send a Memory (short), Save the Date (Short), Depredator (short), Behind the Rocks (short), The Fresh Prince of Lee County (short), One Single Butterfly 2015 (short), Mr Cypress 2015 Commercial (short), Skyview Elementary School First Animation (short), Sisters (short), AGAIN (short)

Hinman Auditorium
10:30am Shorts & Feature Film:
Little Attic (Short), Searching for Green (Short)
A Quest for Meaning (Feature)
(France / 88 min/ Documentary / Adventure)

Two childhood friends travel the world to meet some of the greatest thinkers of our time. This incredible voyage, full of moments of doubt and moments of joy, will lead them to question the very beliefs that have shaped Western civilization. This film captures the change in human consciousness currently happening all over the planet, and the desire to live in harmony with oneself and the world.

Moe Auditorium & Film Center
1:00pm Shorts & Feature Film:
One Nation (Short), Countdown (Short)
Tangerines (Feature)
(2015 / USA / NR / 87 min / Drama / War)

War in Georgia, Apkhazeti region in 1990. An Estonian man has stayed behind to harvest his crops of tangerines. In a bloody conflict at his door, a wounded man is left behind, and he is forced to help.

Hinman Auditorium
1:30pm Shorts & Feature Film:
Home Cooking (Short), The Grillman (Short)
The Mayo Conspiracy (Feature)
(2015 / USA / 72 min / Comedy)

When an intrepid journalist meets up with a mysterious whistle-blower from the Mayonnaise cartel, he is taken down a dark historical path from France, to Nazi Germany, and then through the depths of culinary hell.

Moe Auditorium & Film Center
4:00pm Shorts & Feature Film:
The Battle (Short), Earned Wings (Short)
Q & A With Filmmaker & Director
This Ain’t No Mouse Music (Feature)
(2014 l NR l USA l 92 min l Documentary)
Q & A With Filmmaker: Maureen Gosling

Roots music icon Chris Strachwitz is a detective of deep American music – music that’s the antithesis of the corporate “mouse music” dominating pop culture. Since 1960, he has been the guiding force behind legendary Arhoolie Records, bringing Cajun music out of Louisiana, Tex-Mex out of Texas, blues out of the country – and into the living rooms of Middle America. American music has never been the same.

Hinman Auditorium
6:30pm Shorts & Feature Film:
Permission (Short), Meant for More (Short)
Good Ol’ Freda (Feature)
(2013 / USA / PG / 86 min / Documentary)
Q & A With Filmmaker: Kathleen McCabe

The story of Freda Kelly, a shy teenager asked to cook for a young band hoping to make it big: The Beatles. As the Beatles fame multiplies, Freda’s a part of music and cultural history, yet never exploits her insider access. Freda finally tells her tale for the first time in 50 years. “Good Ol’ Freda ” is generously sponsored by Suntrust Private Wealth

Moe Auditorium & Film Center
7:00pm Feature Film:
Theeb (Feature)
(2015/ NR/ 60min/ UAE/ Adventure / Drama / Thriller)

In the Ottoman province of Hijaz during World War I, a young Bedouin boy experiences a greatly hastened coming of age as he embarks on a perilous desert journey to guide a British officer to his secret destination. “Theeb” is generously sponsored by Sue & Roderick Price Trusted Real Estate Advisors

Moe Auditorium & Film Center
8:30pm House Party

The House Party is not only a celebration of the strength and diversity of Bonita springs, but it’s also the BIFF’s best dance party! The House Party is where our community comes together to eat, drink and dance the night away! An annual tradition in the making! Casual attire.

Moe Auditorium & Film Center
10:00am Shorts Showcase #2:

Suburban Wilderness (short), Jump, Match.kom (short), Underground Artist (short), The Horror-able Day (short), The Last Orange Grove of Middle Florida (short), Silence (short), The Magician’s Boxes (short), Pirates (short), The Battle (Short), Trespassers (short)

Hinman Auditorium
10:30am Shorts & Feature Film:
Submarine Sandwich (Short), Fresh Guacamole (Short), Western Spaghetti (Short), Mute (Short), How Mute was Made (Short), A Single Life (Short), Otto (Short)
Famous Nathan (Feature)
(2014 / USA / 84 min / Documentary)
Q & A with Filmmaker Lloyd Handwerker & Leslie Siegel, Producer

A Coney Island-inspired, densely-layered visually dynamic documentary portrait of the life and times of the original Nathan’s Famous, created in 1916 by filmmaker Lloyd Handwerker’s grandparents, Nathan and Ida Handwerker.

Moe Auditorium & Film Center
1:00pm Shorts & Feature Film:
Revolving Child (Short), The Yellow Block (Short)
Timbuktu (Feature)
(2014 / France / PG-13 / 97 min / Drama)

A cattle herder and his family who reside in the dunes of Timbuktu find their quiet lives — which are typically free of the Jihadists determined to control their faith — abruptly disturbed.

Hinman Auditorium
1:30pm Shorts & Feature Film:
Deathworld: 2120 (Short), More Than Anyone (Short)
Pride (Feature)
(2014 / UK / 119 min / Biography / Comedy)

Summer, 1984, Thatcher is in power and the National Union of Mineworkers are on strike. At the Gay Pride March in London, a group of gay and lesbian activists decide to raise money to support the families of the striking miners. And so begins the extraordinary story of two seemingly alien communities who form a surprising and ultimately triumphant partnership.

Moe Auditorium & Film Center
4:00pm Shorts & Feature Film:
Rhythms of Bonita (Short)
Q & A With Filmmaker Eric Langhoff
The Wrecking Crew (Feature)
(2008 / PG / USA / 101 min / Documentary / Music)

A celebration of the musical work of a group of session musicians known as “The Wrecking Crew”, a band that provided back-up instrumentals to such legendary recording artists as Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys and Bing Crosby.

Hinman Auditorium
6:30pm Opera Performance and Presentation & Feature Film:
Ron Bowman Pianist and Karin White Soprano
Le Villi (Feature)
(2004 / Italy / NR / 68 min / Music)

Moe Auditorium & Film Center
7:00pm Shorts & Feature Film:
Keep It Clean (Short), Dumped (Short), Man Who Loved Flowers (Short), Relatively Screwed (Short)
Wild Tales (Feature)
(2014 / R / 122 min / Argentina / Comedy / Drama)

Wickedly hilarious and delightfully deranged, Wild Tales is a subversive satire that doubles as a uniformly entertaining anthology film.

Moe Auditorium & Film Center
10:00am Shorts Showcase #3:
Newtones (short), Trees Count (short), Summer Dragons (short), Adventures of Malia (short), Bonnie Pureheart and the Golden Ghost (short)


Hinman Auditorium
10:30am Shorts & Feature Film
The Strangeness of Coming Home (Short),
After the Blitz (Short)
Feature Film: Ukraine. Paralipomenon. A Chronicle of Omissions (91 min)

In post-Maidan Kiev survivor’s guilt exists after the revolution. A strong patriotic spirit associate very different groups, including extreme right-wing paramilitary groups and drag queens at gay nightclubs. People in the Ukrainian capital petition the government to block an ‘undeclared war’ against the East.

Hinman Auditorium
1:30pm Shorts & Feature Film
Titanium (Short), Lost & Found (Short)
Q & A with Lost & Found Filmmaker
Trouble on Wheels (Feature)(2015 / Turkey / 105 min / Adventure / Comedy)

Kudret has always lived life by the book. Until, that is, his routine is turned upside down by a succession of surprise events. Kudret jumps into his much loved car and sets off for Antep on a journey that will take him from one end of the country to the other.

Moe Auditorium & Film Center
4:00pm Shorts & Feature Film
Crumb Catchers (Short), Dancing with Gene Kelly (Short), Silence is Golden (Short)
Feature Film: It’s Better in Italian
(2015 / NR / USA / 40 min / Documentary/ Comedy)
Q & A With Filmmaker: Magee Clegg

Discover the world of the ‘doppiatori’–the elite group of Italian voice over actors that dub English language films into Italian.

Hinman Auditorium

6:30pm Presentation & Feature Film:

Presentation: Making of ‘The Mona Lisa is Missing’ with Joe Medeiros

The Mona Lisa is Missing (Feature)

(2014 / USA / 85 min / Documentary / Crime)

Q & A with Filmmaker: Joe Medeiros

A man steals the Mona Lisa from the Louvre in 1911. His 84-year-old daughter thought he did it for patriotic reasons. A filmmaker spends more than 30 years trying to find the truth. “The Mona Lisa is Missing” is Generously Sponsored by BouTeak by Jackie Morelisse.

Moe Auditorium & Film Center
7:00pm Shorts & Feature Film
The Gift (Short)
Florida Premier: Hockney (Feature)
(2014 / R / 112 min / UK / Documentary)

Hockney sees the charismatic artist take director Randall Wright on an exclusive tour of his archives and into his studio, where he still paints seven days a week.

Moe Auditorium & Film Center
10:00am Shorts Showcase #4:
Domar: To Tame, An Interview With ESE Teaching Assistant Michael Meehan (short), Loyal to the Game (short), Love Never Dies (short)

Moe Auditorium & Film Center
1:00pm Feature Film:
Force Majeure
(2014 / Sweden / R / 120 min / Comedy / Drama)

A family on a ski holiday in the French Alps find themselves staring down an avalanche during lunch one day; in the aftermath, their dynamic has been shaken to its core, with a question mark hanging over their patriarch in particular.

Hinman Auditorium
1:30pm Shorts & Feature Film:
Son of Mapes (Short)
Man without a Past (Feature)
(2002/ Finland / PG-13 / 97 min / Comedy / Drama)

The second part of Aki Kaurismäki’s “Finland” trilogy, the film follows a man who arrives in Helsinki and gets beaten up so severely he develops amnesia. Unable to remember his name or anything from his past life, he cannot get a job or an apartment, so he starts living on the outskirts of the city and starts putting his life back on track

Moe Auditorium & Film Center
4:00pm Shorts & Feature Film:
Sisters (Short), With God (Short)
The Farewell Party (Feature)
(2015 / NR / Isreal / 95 min / Comedy / Drama)

Residents of a retirement home build a machine for self-euthanasia in order to help their terminally ill friend, though they are faced with a series of dilemmas when rumors of the machine begin to spread.

Hinman Auditorium
6:00-7:00pm Awards Night Presentation
Presentation: Taking Home the Trophy:
Oscars Hopefuls and Predictions with Dan Hudak

Take a journey into this year’s Best Picture Oscar nominees with film critic Dan Hudak as he discusses why each film was nominated and which is the odds-on favorite to come out the winner. Clips and background information about all eight nominated films will be shared, and a discussion of the Academy’s voting habits will lend perspective to choosing the likely winner. It’s a lively, dynamic and fun discussion that also covers the voting process and gives audience members a chance to vote for who they think should win Best Picture!

Dan’s film reviews are syndicated throughout the country. He is the former chairman of the Florida Film Critics Circle and a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association. He has also worked as a theatre critic and arts writer for various publications. He studied Film History and Criticism at Bard College and the University of Miami, where he received his M.A. in Film Studies.

Moe Auditorium & Film Center
7:00pm Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Films
Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning
(2014 / 112 min / NR / Documentary / Biography)
Q & A with Filmaker Dyanna Taylor

Explore, through her granddaughter’s eyes, the life story of Dorothea Lange, the photographer who captured the iconic image “Migrant Mother.” Never-seen-before photos, film footage, interviews, family memories, and journals reveal the artist who challenged America to know itself.

Hinman Auditorium
8:30pm Awards & Filmmaker Party

The Bonita Springs International Film Festival’s annual celebration of artists whose work inspires. The Filmmaker Party brings the best and the brightest filmmaking talent and film industry professionals to Bonita Springs for a night of cinematic revelry. Join visiting filmmakers and celebrate the final night of the festival with craft beers, wine and the festival’s signature cocktail complimenting fabulous fare. Business casual attire.

Additional workshops not listed will be included in the full schedule available at

Tickets can be purchased for individual films and film/party packages are available:
General Admission (Single Film) – $15
Opening Night Film & Party – $75
Saturday Night Film & Party – $50
Tuesday Night Film & Party – $50
10 Pack Film Pass – $100
Festival Badge – $200 (Friday, Saturday & Tuesday Parties + 10 additional films)

Bonita Springs International Film Festival’s mission is to create experiences that bring people together to discover extraordinary films from around the world. It is through the art of cinema that a community becomes more informed, aware and alive!

The Bonita Springs International Film Festival is sponsored by The News-Press Media Group, FineMark Bank, BouTeak by Jackie Morelisse, Sue & Roderick Price Trusted Real Estate Advisors, SunTrust Private Wealth, BB&T Oswald Trippe and Company, Whole Foods, The Fresh Market.

Tickets for the Bonita Springs International Film Festival are available by at or by calling 239-495-8989.

Those who join the Centers for the Arts for the first time as an individual member receive two VIP tickets to a select Live at the Center performance. The Centers for the Arts offers this benefit for first time members for select performances.

The Centers for the Arts offers a full performance and film series including “Improv Tonight,” February 6, 8:00pm, “Meet the Composers-The Great George Handel,” February 7, 3:00pm, Off-Broadway production “Tea for Three,” February 9, 8:00pm, Folk Legend “Jonathan Edwards,” February 11, 8:00pm, “The Bonita Springs International Film Festival,” February 12-16, 2016 and “Films for Film Lovers” foreign and independent film series on Monday evenings. Tickets for all of the events listed can be purchased at or by calling the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs at 239-495-8989.

The Centers for the Arts of Bonita Springs
WHAT: The Bonita Springs International Film Festival (BIFF)
Friday-Tuesday, February 12-16, 2016
WHERE: The Center for Performing Arts Bonita Springs – Hinman & Moe Auditoriums 10150 Bonita Beach Road, Bonita Springs 34135
TICKETS: $15 general admission film (packages & special event tickets available)




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