Held in downtown Orlando, USA, The Orlando Film Festival (OFF), as its creators put it, is a festival by filmmakers for filmmakers. The event gathers independent moviemakers from all over the world, providing a rather unique blend of all-star cast features along with art-house shorts shot with zero budget. The main goal is the celebration of moviemaking and the sharing of experiences and insights in a modern, creative and inspiring atmosphere.
Although OFF has been held for only 9 years, it has already received much praise for the impressive organization and the thoroughly welcoming attitude towards filmmakers and viewers alike. The festival takes place every fall at the state-of-the-art Cobb Plaza Cinema Café in downtown Orlando. Being only in its eighth year in 2013, the festival screened over 220 films in 6 theaters, competing in the following categories:
- Feature films
- Short films
- Student shorts
- Documentary features
No requirements for screening premieres and absolute freedom in terms of genres and topics discussed make OFF one of the most liberal film festivals in the world. Indeed, the original idea of the festival’s founders to create an alternative to commercial film festivals which celebrates film as art and not as a product has proven a great success, measured by over 2000 submissions from over 40 countries annually. Over the years, the festival has screened a number of Oscar winners (Taxi to the Dark Side) as well as nominees (the Pig). And with 22 award categories, including “Most Outrageous” and “Most Inspirational”, there’s a prize waiting for everyone.
Celebration of Film and Life
The team behind OFF puts an extra emphasis on celebrating the films, rather than merely screening them. With generous sponsors backing the financial side of the event, the festival itself is a week-long festivity, offering a truly immersive experience with Q&As, press meetings, panel discussions and other valuable events. Filmmakers will also enjoy great discounts at the official festival hotels, as well as nearby bars and restaurants.
But of course the main attraction is the incredible parties, often ending with after-after parties and even after-after-after parties hosted by the festival organizers themselves. Oh, and did we mention snacks and drinks are free during most of the festival? At the same time, screening passes for the whole week come as cheap as $35, making the Cobb Plaza Cinema Café – home of the festival – sprawl with life and action throughout the whole week.
With free submissions, tons of perks and a great audience for indie films OFF is a great choice for those filmmakers who’re starting out, as well as those who just don’t want to go commercial. At the same time, visitors will appreciate the wide spectrum of movie styles, genres and ideas, giving an insight in the latest works of both well-known filmmakers and ones that are only just about to become the next big name.