The final film I attended at the 2012 Orlando Film Festival was the coming of age drama, Born & Raised. First time filmmaker Nick Loritsch (he wrote/produced, as well as starred in) and I were able to talk the day before I saw his film. Even before seeing it, I knew that Nick had brought a lot of passion to this project. It was his baby.
Directed by Joshua Dragge, Born & Raised takes place in a small, seaside town in Florida. Bubbs (Nick Loritsch) is a young man who learns a lot about life and love from his well-traveled, rebellious grandfather (Jackson Pyle). The film has some true heart to it, especially the scenes between Bubbs and his grandfather. Loritsch told me that he was blown away by Pyle’s audition. I have to agree with that casting choice. Pyle actually gives one of the better supporting performances I have seen this whole year. He gets some of the best lines the movie has to offer. Loritsch’s script reminded me of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s “baby”, Good Will Hunting. Born & Raised is far from perfect (some of the supporting actors are wooden and it drags a bit in the middle), but I think Dragge and Loritsch are filmmakers that we will have to keep our eyes on. I believe their future is very bright and I give their film *** out of ****.
One of the questions I got all week was about the festival itself. How does it stack up to the Florida Film Festival, every April at the Enzian? Both the Florida and Orlando fests are great in different ways. The main advantage for O.F.F. is the location, but this year’s films were a major improvement from last year.
Mariachi Gringo (feature), American Autumn (doc) and Scatter (short) were fantastic. The after parties were a great way for the press and the artists to engage in some cinematic chit-chat. Hell, even Stella Artois is growing on me.
The entire festival was a wonderful tribute to independent cinema, foreign films and even some classics. One night was devoted to Milos Forman (One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Amadeus, Man On The Moon) and the awards ceremony was presented after a dazzling performance from Chinese dancers.
Dan Springen (head of the festival) out-did himself this year. The 7th annual Orlando Film Festival was a smash hit and has me looking forward to number 8.