Great films have the power to fly you around the world, into outer space and then deposit you in the depths of your own heart. These films are rarely churned out by Hollywood. They are most likely the product of independent filmmakers whose works get the buzz they need from film festivals whose patrons are likely to experiment and evaluate in the realm of film-going.
That’s part of what makes the first Naples International Film Festival this weekend a doubly great idea: It can bring out our inner movie lover to crown a potential masterpiece while upping the tourism ante for the community.
Add a stimulus for local filmmaking to that as well. Festival organizers — starting with frustrated Naples filmmaker Eric Raddatz — have wisely collected nine local filmmakers’ works as well as submissions from around the country.
This film festival has also forgone the artifice of star power for a more intriguing assembly:
n Blocks of films for nearly any interest, including a strong children’s film festival starting at 10 a.m. Saturday morning at the Silverspot Cinema in the Mercato. (We’d love to hear parents and kids discussing the animated short “Lifeline” after it plays.)
n Feature films with powerful themes like “Desdemona: A Love Story,” in which a young man is persuaded to kidnap the girl he loves for money.
n A collection of shorts that range from animated comedy to behind-the-scenes directorial looks at festival films.
n Scheduled talks with the directors after selected showings to get insight on their approaches and feelings about their subjects.
For more information, see the festival’s Web site, www.naplesfilmfest.com; or this week’s Showcase, with synopses of the films, in Friday’s Daily News.
The Naples International Film Festival is not the first to be on marquees in this area, and we hope it heeds the lessons of the past. The Marco Island Film Festival lasted six years before lack of financial support caught up with it about five years ago. It and the Fort Myers Beach Film Festival also seemed to depend on a few loving organizers whose departures spelled the end of them.
By solidifying its resources and maintaining a broad consensus of responsibility, this festival could be in for a very long run in Naples. That, and continuing what appears to be careful attention to the quality and diversity of films, could create an asset far beyond the aisles of the theaters that show them.
Now, could someone please pass the popcorn?