The Movieville International Film Festival moves to Bradenton

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BRADENTON, Fla. -- Four years ago, the Movieville International Film Festival launched as a labor of love for former Paramount Studios CFO Alan Bailey, but it has since grown from its roots in Sarasota and Lakewood Ranch. Now dubbed the Bradenton Arts Movieville Film Festival, the star-studded event has found a new and seemingly better foothold in Bradenton with a lot more to offer attendees, supporters and sponsors.

“The addition of great music talent and visual artists has made Movieville into more than I ever hoped for,” says Bailey. “We are excited to recognize and encourage local filmmakers and to help give them a platform to step up their game.”

The marriage of local and international films with a major art exhibit and a slew of professional music acts are major changes for the film festival line-up. The festival takes place May 8-18 at several Bradenton area locations, including the Powel Crosley Estate, the Bradenton Convention Center, South Florida Museum, and the Bradenton Municipal Auditorium just to name a few.

Over 25 feature and short films from local and internationally acclaimed filmmakers will be presented during screenings May 16-18 at the Manatee Performing Arts Center. All day passes will set you back a whopping $15 per day. Seriously crazy inexpensive for an opportunity to feast your senses on films from Los Angeles, the Middle East, Canada and Russia all weekend long. Attendance at the screenings also shows support for our local emerging film students.

“[The festival] provides over a week of films and activities," says Debbie Meihls, Bradenton area Film Commissioner. "We are most proud about expanding the film festival premise, focusing on the performing and visual and musical arts; and we are proud to be an incubation venue for our young talent coming out of our State College of Florida and Manatee School of the Arts, young talent that we can help grow to give back to the Bradenton and Manatee communities.” 

The influx of international recognition and potential long-term partnerships is a definite perk. “The beauty of the film industry is that it reaches out to a lot of local large and small businesses so the economic impact is vital to our existence and a great way to grow the area and be seen in areas throughout the country and internationally,” says Meihls.

The film festival will foster relations between the Bradenton and Manatee areas with filmmakers in Milan, Italy. “It’s a little known fact that the Bradenton area is very popular to Europeans. We partnered with Italian filmmakers who are starting a new satellite TV station here. Additionally, we have plans to do a short Movieville Film Festival in Milan in the fall”, says Executive Producer of BAMF, Susan Short

Apparently joining forces with entertainment heavy hitters also contributed to some of the major improvements for the festival. “We’re really excited to partner new larger sponsors such as Feld Entertainment Studios, possibly the largest employer of entertainment in Florida. [With them] as lead sponsor we are able to bring in some first-class entertainers, such as George Wallace Jr, Jesse Yawn, Rick Derringer and Billy Rice Band for the Legends of Country and Rock Concert,” says Short. Proceeds from the concert benefit Manatee Children Services.

The Bradenton and Manatee locations will make their mark with the inaugural film festival events and possibly give folks more reason to support art infused communities broadening their horizons.

“The enthusiasm from Debbie Meihls and the Bradenton Film Commission has been great,” Bailey says. “We all agree with the concept of partnership and economic development as well as supporting and highlighting local arts. The commission and the city has been very welcoming and accommodating.”

For full event details and to purchase tickets, visit Movieville's website here.

Producer for Suncoast View