Dozens of Southwest Florida art patrons gathered April 2 at the Six Degree Exhibitions gallery in downtown Naples to celebrate the creation of a new cultural organization, the Naples International Film Festival (NIFF).
Executive Director Eric Raddatz announced that the first major event would be held Nov. 5-8, at the new Silverspot Luxury Cinema in the Mercato center in North Naples.
NIFF Advisory Board member and Collier County Film Office Director Maggie McCarty, said, “Naples has been looking for an upscale, signature event.” She said she hopes that the exposure the area receives will reinforce its image as a cultural destination.
About 30 independently produced, or “Indie,” films will be screened at the three-day event, which has already received more than 60 nominations from around the world. Celebrity judges, chosen from the local arts community, will rate the films and assign awards. Their identities will be confidential, says Raddatz, to insure the integrity of the evaluation process by insulating it from outside pressure.
Many more contributions are expected via an internet company, withoutabox.com, which assists other festivals worldwide with acquisition, logistical and financial services. Categories are: full-length features, documentaries, shorts, short-shorts and strictly local. Southwest Florida filmmakers and students are encouraged to participate.
NIFF is seeking individual and group sponsorships and plans to join the United Arts Council of Collier County as soon as the group’s nonprofit status is certified.
With more than a dozen members on its directorial and advisory boards, NIFF seeks to complement and enrich existing creative spaces, from schools to museums. Raddatz, associate art director at Gulfshore Life magazine, said that he thinks, “Film is the best way to educate, inform and entertain,” and wants his organization to add depth to the cultural scene.
Nominated films will also be screened at 7 p.m. every Thursday at Six Degrees Exhibitions for a nominal fee. Viewers will be asked to rate each film afterwards. A Web site, naplesfilmfest.com, with its own blogs and social networking features, can supply detailed scheduling information.