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Posted on 17 November 2011 by LeslieM

By Dave Montalbano


The Artist claimed the “Best in the Fest” award at the 26th Annual Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival. A black-and-white silent movie with a grand musical score, this film was a labor of love for the participants involved, including Uggie the Jack Russell terrier.

In a recent telephone interview, Malcolm McDowell commented on his involvement – ”I met with the director about another part, which I could not do due to my commitment to Franklin & Bash. However, we managed to shoot my part in one day.”

McDowell’s one-day cameo became the focus of attention at the recent Cannes Film Festival.

“Cannes was celebrating the 40-year anniversary of A Clockwork Orange, but 25 percent of press conference questions were about The Artist. I am happy about how well-received The Artist has become,” he added.

Like The Artist’s celebration of a bygone era, FLIFF 26 has become cinema history. With the exception of two uppity celebrity handlers for the opening weekend festivities and the illness of Senator George McGovern, this fest fulfilled its unique promise of understanding the challenges for future filmmakers while acknowledging the debt of our founding filmmakers.

Despite volunteer staff shortages locally, the outreach programs in Pompano, Sunrise and the Bahamas proved to be a financial boost to local business. Muvico Pompano sold extra tickets during a traditional slow period at the box office.

Given Dennis Farina’s surprise appearance for the screening of the award-winning The Last Rites of Joe May at Muvico Pompano, expect more volunteer opportunities in North Broward County for FLIFF 27.

An Evening with Piper Laurie was one of the most talked about events of the fest. Foregoing the planned screening of The Grass Harp, Piper reflected upon her six decades in the movies and her experiences with stars like Ronald Reagan and Paul Newman, and playing Carrie’s harpy mother. Cinema Historian Foster Hirsch conducted Piper’s insightful interview.

The ocean conservation documentary Islands of Life, which earned a Spirit of Independence award, featured Sidney Poitier and his daughter Pamela. Pamela Poitier attended the screening 3:10 to Yuma starring Glenn Ford. Ford’s son, Peter, was in attendance to discuss his new book Glenn Ford: A Life. Ford and Poitier’s meeting acknowledged a piece of cinematic history. Both of their fathers starred in an important film – The Blackboard Jungle, released 61 years ago.

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