Life with Moxie: Naples International Film Festival

The 9th Annual Naples International Film Festival is just around the corner. It’s the 9th annual, yet it’s the first year under the guardianship of Artis-Naples. This years program and packaging is decidedly less indie film and more artistic, rather a blending into the fold of the Artis-Naples family. For the first time, the Naples International Film Festival poster does not represent film, but is instead a commissioned piece of art from a NYC-based artist. It is a lovely oil on canvas, in step with the art offerings of The Baker Museum, part of Artis-Naples.

This years program selections are also steered more towards Artis-Naples representations of art in various mediums, with many of the documentaries and narratives being about theater, music, musicals, art and opera. One element that has remained the same is the audience favorite of filmmakers accompanying their films. They will join us for questions and answers after their films show, they will participate in filmmaker panel discussions and they are often spotted in local restaurants grabbing a quick bite or a coffee while on property at Mercato. All films except opening and closing night, are screened at Silverspot and tickets can be purchased here.

There are forty-eight films in this years line up and they can all be reviewed here. Knowing how popular the movies are with filmmakers in attendance, I have listed all thirteen of them below. You can print out a master quick guide to see the whole weekend at a glance.



Opening Night Film

Florida Premier


Charged chronicles the life-changing journey of chef and outdoorsman Eduardo Garcia after being shocked by 2400 volts of electricity in a freak accident while hiking in the remote back country of Montana. Eduardo lost his hand, ribs, muscle mass and nearly his life, but more important than what he lost is what he found. Through sheer resilience, his former partner, Jennifer Jane, nursed Eduardo back to health and he learned to embrace his past, his family and his future. A survival and love story unlike any other, Charged tells Eduardo’s remarkable journey from getting up off the forest floor to becoming the man he is today.

This film presentation is part of the Naples International Film Festival Opening Night Film & Party. The evening begins at 6pm with a VIP Red Carpet arrival with drinks and snacks. At 7pm all guests will enjoy a screening of the opening film. Immediately following the film, there will be a Q&A session.

Artis-Naples is excited to welcome Eduardo Garcia, Jennifer Jane andChargedproducer Dennis Aig to Hayes Hall for the film’s Florida premiere.

After the premiere, VIP ticket holders can enjoy a fabulous after-party with heavy hors d’oeuvres, desserts, drinks, music, and dancing.

Red Carpet VIP Film & Party Ticket

Arrive at 6pm for the complete experience: walk the red carpet and mix and mingle while enjoying complimentary snacks and drinks before the film. Receive premium seating in Hayes Hall for the film presentation, and then attend the Opening Night Party with music, dancing, food and drinks.

General Admission Film Ticket

Arrive at 6pm to walk the red carpet, get popcorn and mix and mingle before the film. Enjoy standard seating in Hayes Hall for the film presentation and stay for the post-film Q and A with filmmakers.

Late Blossom Blues

East Coast Premier


Late Blossom Blues tells the story of a 1932-born, hard-working poor black man from the Mississippi backwoods who becomes an internationally-acclaimed blues star after he releases his debut album at age 81.

More Art Upstairs

Florida Premier


A revolution is taking place in the art world and it isn’t happening in Paris, Berlin or Hong Kong — but in Grand Rapids, Michigan. ArtPrize is the most highly attended art show in the world, and it awards cash prizes larger than all other competitions combined. International critics and general crowds pack bars, galleries and abandoned buildings all over town, taking in over 1,500 works from cerebral conceptualists and weekend hobbyists. An acclaimed jury awards a winner $200,000 and the ballot-carrying public does the same. Nimble cameras follow four artists, each vying not only for critical recognition but for every public vote they can drum up. Part classy game show, part engaging art exploration, More Art Upstairs captures the debates ArtPrize has intentionally (or inadvertently?) triggered: Can culture be democratized? Do artists need or want to connect with audiences? And is the canonical art establishment on its way out?

Served Like a Girl


Director Lysa Heslov’s documentary Served Like a Girl provides a candid look at several American women as they transition from active duty to civilian life after serving tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our wounded US female service personnel often return to a stark reality, one that is rarely discussed or considered. Struggling with PTSD, homelessness, broken families, serious illness, physical injuries and the aftermath of military sexual abuse, these amazing women find ways to adapt and overcome debilitating challenges through participation in the Ms. Veteran American competition. Guided by event founder and veteran, Jas Boothe, the women leverage their experiences gained through competition to recover the parts of themselves and their personal identities they had lost on the battlefield. Called “ENGAGING, HONEST and POWERFUL,” this film is a beautiful tapestry interlaced with poignant moments, social commentary and humor.

Narrative Films

20 Weeks

Florida Premier


20 Weeks is a romantic drama about love, science and how prenatal and genetic testing impacts everyday people. The story is about a Los Angeles couple in their thirties, who after learning that their baby has a very serious health issue in utero, must decide whether or not to move forward with the pregnancy. Told in a nonlinear fashion, the film interweaves present and past moments of the love and courtship of Maya and Ronan. Together only a short time, the two fall madly in love, and when they’re surprised with an untimely pregnancy, they have nothing but love for their unborn child. At their 20-week scan, their doctor diagnoses their baby with some serious issues that could be indicative of a larger syndrome. Maya and Ronan are confused and devastated by the news. Their doctor advises them of their options: they can terminate by week 24 or continue with the pregnancy. But before making any further choices, they are advised to undergo genetic testing to determine just how serious the issues could be. Maya and Ronan don’t know what to do. They can’t think straight, and immediately, there is a huge wedge in their relationship. What follows is a roller coaster of highs and lows, and a very difficult set of decisions that have to be made.

Good After Bad

East Coast Premier


Shelly is at a crossroads. At seventeen years old, she must determine which people in her life intend to help her, and which intend to harm her, including her own mother. Without any role models, and with a home situation that is quickly deteriorating, Shelly has nowhere to turn, until she crosses paths with Wes. An eccentric self-made millionaire, Wes answers to no one. A notorious womanizer, he’s dated them all, seen it all, and the truth is, he’s bored. He’s never felt he had much in common with anyone else, until now. When Shelly’s situation with her mother becomes untenable, Wes invites her to move into his home. She must quickly determine which people in her life intend to help her, and which intend to harm her, including herself.

Laura Gets a Cat

Florida Premier


Laura is a talented yet unsuccessful writer in her early 30s living in New York City. She has a boyfriend who provides little excitement. Her two best friends who seem to have achieved all their hopes and dreams, if only to spite her. Good thing she lives mostly inside her head, daydreaming about all the wonderful things happening in her imaginary life. After she starts an affair with Ian, the performance artist and local barista, real life proves too complicated. She packs up a suitcase and moves to a small beach town in North Carolina. Even as she gets involved with some guy who lives on a mattress in his buddy’s garage, she hopes that Ian will bolt from his life in New York and chase her down. Through this series of troubled relationships and disconnected friendships, Laura learns that peace of mind is not necessarily found by chasing it.

The Scent of Rain and Lightning

Florida Premier


Based on the novel The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard. When a young woman learns her parents’ killer has been released from jail, she is forced to revisit old wounds while discovering the destructive power of hate and the true cost of family secrets fully revealing themselves.

Seat 25

Florida Premier


It is five years after NASA found liquid water on the surface of Mars. The Martian atmosphere has changed. All contact has been lost with the planet. On Earth, entrepreneur Michael Macmillan is preparing the first manned mission to the Red Planet, with a seat reserved for an ordinary person willing to do something extraordinary.

When Faye Banks secretly enters the Seat 25 competition, she never expects to win. But when the dangerous one-way trip becomes a reality, her life on Earth is turned upside down. With time running out, Faye must decide whether to leave her husband, family and friends, or has the prospect of leaving for ever made her realize what she has here on Earth?

The Sounding


Raised on a remote island by her grandfather Lionel, Liv has never spoken. When Lionel (Harris Yulin) discovers he’s dying, he calls the son of his best friend and a former protégé, Michael (Teddy Sears), to the island and asks him to protect Liv’s independence alongside Lionel’s attorney (Frankie Faison). That night, as Lionel is reading to Liv, his voice fails him. Liv picks up the book of Shakespeare and begins: first reading, then weaving a language from Shakespeare’s words. She is committed to a psychiatric hospital and becomes a full-blown rebel in the hospital; her increasing violence threatens to keep her locked up for life. At a tipping point for otherness in our current climate, The Sounding champions it.


Closing Night

Florida Premier


A New York City subway train stops in the tunnel beneath the city with six complete strangers stuck inside the rear car. The strangers are a cross section of New Yorkers, of different race, culture and age. The emotions of the trapped, frustrated strangers explode, as the subway car becomes a kind of magical, musical, conduit cell. A place where strangers reveal through song more of themselves than any of them ever could have imagined.

Florida Showcase

Both films will be screened together as part of a special look at Florida films.


World Premier


Talia is a charming young woman with Asperger’s — high functioning autism spectrum disorder. She discovered a passion for acting/filmmaking and is devoted to her craft. This documentary short follows Talia as she develops her acting techniques for her aspiring career while gaining communication skills for her life.


World Premier


A Red Satin Jacket jumps from owner to owner over one long night in Miami Beach, providing insight into the shattered, quirky lives of three characters who inhabit it.

Panel Discussions- A NIFF attendee favorite

Women in Film

Featuring Directors from the Naples International Film Festival

Leena Pendharkar, director 20 Weeks
Catherine Eaton, director The Sounding
Jody Hassett Sanchez, director More Art Upstairs
Lysa Heslov, director Served Like A Girl

Elaine Newton, PhD, Artis—Naples resident film critic

Artis—Naples resident critic Elaine Newton leads a discussion featuring four highly creative and talented female filmmakers who all have films at this year’s festival. The discussion will focus on their personal journey within the film industry, as well as explore the broader aspects of representation in film, including the range and available roles for women both in front of and behind the camera.

The Future of Film in a Multi-Disciplinary Environment

Panelists: Elaine Newton, Shannon Franklin, Frank Verpoorten and David Filner

In this panel discussion, learn how film enhances Artis—Naples’ broad multidisciplinary programming. Join our resident critic Elaine Newton, Festival Producer Shannon Franklin, The Baker Museum’s Director and Chief Curator Frank Verpoorten and David Filner, vice president, artistic operations at Artis—Naples as they talk about intersections of cinema with the visual and performing arts. Admission is free.

For a listing of all the films, see the festival’s website.

What:Weekend of 48 films and two panel discussions, with opening and closing parties

Where:Opening and closing events at Artis—Naples, 5833 Pelican Bay Blvd., North Naples. All others at Silverspot Cinema, 9118 Strada Place, Unit 8205, at Mercato in North Naples

When:Various times Oct. 26-29; see here for a schedule

Admission for opening, closing events and panel discussions:Opening red-carpet reception and after-party for “Charged,” $169 VIP for reception or $29 for film only; closing night film “Stuck” and wrap party, $99; panel discussions free, but tickets required; all available only, its box office or by phone, 239-597-1900

Admission for Individual films:$16.67; five- and 10-film value packages are available only at Silverspot Cinema for $55 and $110

Have ideas you’d like to add? Need more suggestions? Let me know!

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