Enzian Announces Special Guest and Jury Members for 2015 Florida Film Festival

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Orlando, FL – (March 25, 2015) Enzian announced today their second special guest, as well as the members of the three juries awarding prizes at the 2015 Florida Film Festival, April 10-19, in Maitland and Winter Park, Florida, with Primary Sponsor Full Sail University and Primary Public Partners Orange County Government and the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs. Juried and audience awards will be announced at a ceremony and party on Saturday, April 18. Tickets for the Awards Bash and Celebrity Events are on sale now at floridafilmfestival.com.


Special Guest:


An Evening with Bob Balaban, featuring Gosford Park
Sunday, April 12, 7:30–11PM at Enzian


Among Bob Balaban’s crowning achievements is his work on the critically acclaimed Academy Award® winning film Gosford Park, which he produced. Balaban boasts an impressive roster of other directing/writing/producing credits. He directed the HBO film Bernard and Doris, which earned ten Emmy nominations, three Golden Globe nominations, two Screen Actors Guild Award nominations, as well as Producers Guild and Directors Guild nominations.


He is perhaps most recognizable for his hilarious recurring role on Seinfeld as the head executive of NBC. Bob received an Emmy Award nomination for his role in HBO’s Recount, and has appeared in nearly fifty films, including The Monuments Men, Midnight Cowboy, Catch 22, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Altered States, 2010, Absence of Malice, Prince of the City, Deconstructing Harry, Jakob the Liar, Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, The Mexican, Ghost World, Gosford Park, A Mighty Wind, No Reservations, Dedication, Capote, Marie and Bruce, Moonrise Kingdom, and The Grand Budapest Hotel.


Balaban is also the acclaimed author of the Scholastic best-selling children’s series McGrowl. The diary he kept during the filming of Close Encounters of the Third Kind has been published under the title Spielberg, Truffaut, and Me. A Chicago native, Balaban’s roots are in the entertainment world: his uncle was a long-time president and Chairman of the Board of Paramount and his grandfather headed production at MGM for many years. He now lives in Bridgehampton, NY.




Seven-time Oscar® nominee (including Best Picture, Director, and two Best Supporting Actress honors) and winner of the Academy Award® for Best Original Screenplay for Julian Fellowes (creator of TV’s Downton Abbey), GOSFORD PARK is a whodunit as only director Robert Altman could do it. Set in the 1930s, this brilliant, light murder-mystery features an extraordinary cast and one of Altman’s greatest ensembles ever: Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon, Helen Mirren, Emily Watson, Clive Owen, Bob Balaban, Kristen Scott Thomas, Ryan Phillippe, Jeremy Northam, Alan Bates, Richard E. Grant, and Derek Jacobi.


Mr. Balaban will be in attendance for a Q&A after the screening.


Narrative Features Competition Jury:


Richard Matson is a film distributor with nearly two decades of experience in independent film. He serves as President of the Los Angeles-based film distribution and distribution services company Matson Films, which, over the past 10 years, has theatrically released over 80 feature films, including Oscar® nominee The Square and Sundance winners The Return To Homs and Rich Hill. Richard is also a partner in Gathr Films, creator of Theatrical-on-Demand, which is changing the face of theatrical distribution. In 2002, Richard founded Transmission Films and has also served as Vice-President of Production and Distribution for Palisades Pictures, which produced and released Restaurant, Ten Benny, and The Party’s Over.


Jordana Meade manages global distribution, sales, and marketing for Starz Entertainment’s digital division, developing sell-in and sell-through strategies in support of acquisitions and original programming across worldwide platforms. She also works with executive teams to evaluate content for inherent artistic value and commercial viability. Prior to Starz Digital Media, Jordana developed marketing and advertising programs for Cinedigm; rolled-out theatrical and ancillary release strategies for Oscar® nominees The Invisible War, Chico & Rita, and Hell and Back Again; and helped launch digital campaigns for partners and key brands. Meade began her career in operations and sales at Sundance Film Festival, then advanced to film exhibition, serving on the Board of Directors for Women in Film and Television–Florida and directing 360-degree marketing and publicity campaigns for the Florida Film Festival and Enzian. Nothing excites Jordana more than the sum of a good story, a dark room, and a box of fresh, warm popcorn.


Arielle Kebbel can next be seen starring opposite Dwayne Johnson as a series regular in HBO’s hot new series Ballers. Widely known as fan-favorite character Lexi on The Vampire Diaries, Arielle has been working non-stop since she first moved to Los Angeles ten years ago and booked her first audition, The Gilmore Girls. She has had starring roles in The Uninvited, John Tucker Must Die, and The Grudge 2. Arielle’s indie films have screened at every festival from Sundance to Toronto in the past few years. She has been a recurring character on True Blood, Life Unexpected, and 90210.


Documentary Competition Jury:


Udy Epstein, a distributor and producer of independent and specialized films, co-founded 7th Art Releasing, a company noted for releasing award-winning feature documentaries such as the Academy Award® winner The Long Way Home and many Academy Award® nominees, including The Farm: Angola USA, Speaking in Strings, Long Night’s Journey Into Day, and Balseros. 7th Art films nominated for Best Documentary Short Subject at the Academy Awards include The Wildest Show in the South: The Angola Prison Rodeo, Eyewitness: The Legacy of Death Camp Art, and Incident in New Bagdad. Making Up! won a student Academy Award. Epstein’s production credits include The Breast Cancer Diaries, The Art of Flight, Call it Democracy, Word Wars, and Wrestling Alligators (in production).


Eric Hynes is a New York-based film critic and reporter. His outlets have included The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Slate, The Village Voice, Time Out New York, the Times UK, Film Comment, Sight & Sound, Cinema Scope, and Indiewire among others. A longtime staff writer for the online film journal Reverse Shot, he also hosts the Reverse Shot Talkies video series. In 2013, he was the first writer-in-residence for Columbia, Missouri’s Rag Tag Cinema and the True/False Film Fest, for whom he authored a monograph about creative nonfiction movies from 1960s New York. He’s a graduate of Northwestern University’s creative writing program and NYU’s Cultural Reporting & Criticism Master’s program, and is a proud alumnus of the late, great Kim’s Video store in New York.


Paul Lazarus has an over-30-year award-winning career directing, producing, and writing film, theater, and television. He recently completed a feature documentary called SlingShot (winner of both the Grand Jury and Audience Awards for Best Documentary at FFF 2014) about Segway inventor Dean Kamen and his work to solve the world’s water crisis. Lazarus directed and produced the independent feature Seven Girlfriends and has directed many notable TV series, including Pretty Little Liars, The Middle, Ugly Betty, Friends, Everybody Loves Raymond, LA Law, Psych, and Melrose Place. In the early ‘90s, he served as the Artistic Director of the historic Pasadena Playhouse. A graduate of Dartmouth College, Lazarus apprenticed with the Royal Shakespeare Company in England.


Narrative and Animated Shorts Competition Jury:


Clint Bowie is the director of programming for the New Orleans Film Society, the non-profit responsible for the annual New Orleans Film Festival (now in its 26th year). He previously worked with the Northwest Film Center and the Portland International Film Festival, and has served on juries at the Starz Denver Film Festival, Dallas International Film Festival, and the Independent Film Festival Boston.


Jason Leaf has over a decade of experience acquiring and theatrically releasing feature films in North America. Currently VP of Theatrical Sales at Amplify Releasing where he has released over 25 movies in the last 18 months, Jason has also released over a dozen features for his own company Avatar Films, and has overseen the marketing campaigns and edited trailers for over 25 films independently. He was formerly a theatrical programmer for Kino Lorber, where he released roughly 80 films theatrically in three years.


Asha Phelps has worked as a coordinator and general Girl Friday at IFC Center for the past three years assisting in all areas of theater operation including event programming, in-house and social media marketing, and film accounting. In conjunction with her duties at IFC Center, she also works annually with DOC NYC, now America’s largest documentary film festival, assisting primarily with sales tracking and box office operations. Every October, you will likely find her working the IFC Midnight booth at New York Comic Con helping to promote the latest in genre films from the distribution label’s catalog. She has a BA in Cinema Studies from NYU and currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.




Now in its 24th year, the Florida Film Festival is an Oscar®-qualifying festival, premiering the best in current, independent, and international cinema. Through ten days of 170 films and first- class events, film lovers mingle with filmmakers and celebrities over hand-crafted cocktails and a delicious menu at Eden Bar and inside the theater.


Enzian and Florida Film Festival President, Henry Maldonado, welcomes you to “the festival with a heart.”


“This wonderful community is bringing so much love of film to new generations of young people… you touched my heart!!” –Jon Voight, Academy Award® winning actor


“I wish I could have stayed longer.” –Glenn Close, Academy Award® nominated actress


Festival tickets are available for purchase online or at the Enzian box office:




The Festival is a program of the non-profit Enzian Theater. 2015 Festival sponsors to date include Primary Sponsor: Full Sail University; Primary Public Partners: Orange County Government, Florida, and the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs; Public Partners: Art Works, United Arts of Central Florida; Major Sponsors: Doubletree by Hilton Downtown Orlando, Kodak, Lure Design Incorporated, Metro Orlando Film Commission, Regal Entertainment Group, SunDance Marketing Solutions, Uber, Walt Disney World Resort, Whole Foods, Winter Park Village; Sponsors: The Alfond Inn, Antonio’s, Deeb Studios, Drive New Media, Enemy Ink, Gifn, H.J. High Construction, Mears Transportation Group, Sprint, Tampa Hillsborough Film and Digital Media Commission, Terrapin Beer Co., Women In Film & Television – Florida; Media Partners: Bright House, Florida Travel + Life, Real Radio, Orlando Arts Magazine, Orlando Date Night Guide, Orlando Live, Orlando Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, Orlando Style Magazine, Orlando Weekly, The Daily City, Visit Orlando, WKMG, WPRK, and Yelp.


Our Sponsor community enriches the Festival experience and helps sustain the year-round programs of the not-for-profit Enzian.




Since 1992, Enzian has been the proud host of the Florida Film Festival. As part of its mission to entertain, inspire, educate, and connect the community through film, Enzian presents innovative and original cinematic programming not just during the Festival, but all year long. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit, community-supported arts organization for which ticket revenue accounts for only 25% of its operating budget, Enzian owes its existence to the generosity of fans of film, food, and fun–like you.


Full Sail University

Full Sail University is an award-winning educational leader for those pursuing careers in the entertainment and media industry. Founded in 1979, Full Sail has been recognized as one of the 2014 “Top 25 Graduate Schools to Study Game Design” by The Princeton Review, one of the Best Music Programs by Rolling Stone Magazine, and one of the Best Film Programs by UNleashed Magazine. Recently, Full Sail was named the 2014 “School/College of the Year” by the Florida Association of Postsecondary Schools and Colleges, received the “21st Century Best Practices in Distance Learning Award” from the United States Distance Learning Association, and was recognized as one of the Top 100 Social Media Colleges by Studentadvisor.com.

Full Sail offers on-campus and online Master’s, Bachelor’s, and Associate’s degree programs in areas related to Art & Design, Business, Film & Television, Games, Media & Communications, Music & Recording, and Web & Technology. Full Sail graduate credits include work on OSCAR®, Emmy®, GRAMMY®, ADDY®, MTV Video Music Award, and Spike VGX Video Game Award nominated and winning projects.


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