The 22nd Annual Palm Beach International Film Festival is so big this year, instead of squeezing it all into one place, they’ve decided to do it in two – simultaneously, as both Keiser University in West Palm Beach and Cinemark Palace 20 in Boca will play host, March 29 – April 2.
Although not the first time the Fest has been in more than one place at one time, Adrienne Mazzone, president of TransMedia Group, said it gives Fest-goers a more intimate experience.
“We felt that we were rushing people in and out and there was no time for Q&A, which film festivals were designed to show films from all over the world and give people a chance to talk to the filmmakers – so, this year we have Cinemark, Boca Raton and Keiser University, flagship campus.”
Last year 121 films were screened with nearly half being foreign films.
“We have dramatically cut down on the films this year so we can give at least an hour in between the films for a more intimate Q&A in between,” said Mazzone. “That’s what film festivals are all about.”
This year, about a dozen films will feature these Q&A sessions along with a host of panels and parties that bring film fanatics and those that make what they love best together.
“PBIFF brings a community together in supporting our future filmmakers while having a wonderful time enjoying moving works of art and film from all over the world,” said Jeff Davis, President, Palm Beach International Film Festival.
The Fest is set to keep movie lovers entertained for five full days beginning on opening day which is filled with movies, open discussions with filmmakers and an iconic 1950s pop star.
Beginning with the Boca location, Cinemark will open the Fest March 29 with Nana, a documentary that transcends generations shining a spotlight on tolerance.
In Nana, filmmaker Serena Dykman and her mother Alice retrace the steps of Serena’s grandmother, Maryla Michalowski-Dyamant from Poland to Auschwitz using her hand-written memoir. The film’s relevance is poignant as Dykman, who lost her grandmother when she was 11, is reminded of the rising intolerance and anti-Semitism after the 2015 attacks in Paris. Nana begins at 1 p.m. followed by a question and answer session with the writer, producer and director, Serena Dykman.
My Hero Brother will follow at 4 p.m.; This film invites us on a trek through the Himalayas with a group of young people with Down syndrome with their typical siblings. As they hike, the siblings face the suspected challenges both physical and emotional they also come to terms with the unresolved conflicts of their unique relationships. Israeli producers will join the audience after for a Q&A session and ticket holders will be invited to a private party after the show.
Despite the Falling Snow begins at 6:30 p.m. The film takes place in 1950s Moscow during the Cold War arms race – spies, lies and love do battle as personal beliefs, sacrifice and love of country collide.
Later that evening, pop music star from the1950s and ’60s icon Connie Francis will receive the Fest’s Lifetime Achievement Award – the Flossy Award at 8:30 p.m.
Just like a three-ring circus, at the 22nd Annual Palm Beach International Film Festival, there’s always something going on. While festivities are in full tilt in Boca, at Keiser University the fun begins with the film, After the Circus at 1 p.m. followed by Wrestling Alligators at 3:30 and Foster Shock at 6 p.m.
One of the most anticipated films will take place Thursday, March 30, When the Starlight Ends, at 3:45 p.m. is about an eccentric writer who looks back on a life choice he made, choosing between the love of his life and his life’s work. The film will have a Q&A with one of the stars, Arabella Oz with a special guest appearance by her dad, the famed TV doctor, Dr. (Mehmet) Oz.
Thursday, March 30, at Cinemark
$2.00 Bill: 6 p.m. followed by Q&A with producer John Bennardo.
Tales by Light: 8:45 followed by Q&A with Jim Abernethy, award-winning underwater photographer, filmmaker and author.
Friday, March 31, at Cinemark
Swing State at 3 p.m. followed by Q&A with writer, director Jonathan Sheldon and actor Arthur L. Bernstein.
Brave New Jersey at 6 p.m. followed by Q&A with composer Dennis Lambert.
The Business of Recovery at 8:45 pm followed by Q&A with producer, Greg Horvath and guest Michael Lohan.
Saturday, April 1, at Cinemark
Price for Freedom at 6:30 p.m. followed by Q&A with Marc Benhuri who wrote this true story and Mary Apick, who played Fariba Javadi on Homeland.
Remember Me at 4:15 p.m. followed by Q&A with producer Heather Haggarty.
Saturday, April 1, at Keiser University
A Bronx Girl at 7 p.m. followed by Q&A with Producer/Director
Sunday, April 2, at Cinemark
Robert Shaw at 12:30 p.m. followed by Q&A with Kiki Wilson, executive producer.
A Late Style of Fire at 3:30 p.m., Q&A with Michelle Poulos, director and producer and Susan Williamson.
The Palm Beach International Film Festival was founded in 1996 by founders who wanted to give the community an exciting cultural venue. The goal was also to raise money for film and television education while introducing filmmakers to the local area.
“Because of the film festival we are in discussions of a major corporate sponsor to fund a film this summer with Palm Beach County High School and College students, completely in line with the PBIFF mission statement supporting local high school and college students in palm beach county,” said Davis.
The organization also dedicates itself to education in the industry and has provided more than $1.5 million in grants and scholarships to help young people achieve their dreams in filmmaking.
“The main reason to attend and support PBIFF is that local students benefit directly from the money raised by The Palm Beach International Film Festival,” said Davis. “PBIFF has unique partnerships with Keiser University (www.keiseruniversity.edu), G-Star School of the Arts (www.GSTARSchool.org) and The Palm Beach Film and Television Commission (www.PBFilm.com). All partners provide PBIFF with additional space, technical facilities for screenings and production, as well as helping to accomplish our mission statement which is to use funds raised by PBIFF to provide grants, scholarships with new technology to regional film students aspiring to one day create and feature their own motion pictures.”
“This year is a more intimate festival as the passion of the filmmakers has transferred to our interns — area students from FAU, Lynn and Palm Beach State – which is what the festival is all about, the students,” said Mazzone. “It also creates an opportunity for everyone in the community to be involved in a very entertaining and fun way.”
For Davis that means selling seats – all of them.
“I’m looking forward to seeing a filled audience or a sold-out theater,” said Davis. “It’s important to support the rising creative filmmakers in our region and to being able to provide more grants and scholarships to students in South Florida.”
The Cinemark Palace 20 is located at 3200 Airport Rd, Boca. Keiser University is located at, 2600 North Military Trail, West Palm Beach. For more information as well as a complete listing of films and events visit, The Palm Beach International Film Festival or call, (561) 362-0003.