By Erin Brady | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Saint Augustine Film Festival brought the glitz and glam of Hollywood to the Oldest City this past weekend. From documentaries focusing on difficult subject matter, to uplifting international films about love and kindness, there was something for everyone to enjoy during the weekend.
The festival also featured presentations from Flagler College students, past and present. Mallory Hopkins, who graduated last year, presented her student project “Oldest City Underwater” to a large crowd of students, faculty, and St. Augustine residents at the Lewis Auditorium. It talked about how the results of climate change, particularly sea level rise, is affecting the city. There was also a Q&A session afterwards pertaining to community outreach. “Cracking Aces” by Flagler communications professor Tracy Halcomb also made an appearance in the festival.
A showcase featuring student films also took place at The Corazon. Some of these films included the dark comedy “Roomba Rumpus” by Vincent Pileggi and the documentary “It Takes Pain to Grow” directed by a small group of students.
There were special events taking place throughout the weekend, with equally special guests in attendance. On Saturday, a screening of “A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud” directed by Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Karen Allen took place in the Lewis Auditorium. It also preceded with a short Q&A session; when asked about the advice she would give to future filmmakers both at Flagler College and beyond, she said to “pick projects and ideas [they would] care the most about” and that “it is important to become invested in it.” Another important event was the presentation of the closing film, “Sharkwater Extinction.” This film in particular had a major impact on the event, as the filmmaker Rob Stewart died during its production.
Some other highlights of the festival included the honestly raunchy sex dramedy “The Unicorn” directed by Robert Schwartzmann, the Greenland autobiographical feature “A Polar Year” directed by Samuel Collardey, and the meandering yet endearing French period comedy “Return of the Hero” directed by Laurent Tirard.
Not only was the Saint Augustine Film Festival entertaining and informative, but it truly united the community. Seeing packed houses for every film I attended truly warmed my heart. It was the first time I truly saw for myself the power of filmmaking; different people from different backgrounds united for just a couple of hours. Perhaps this is why cinema, especially independent cinema, is so important. It has the ability to bring people together, and the Saint Augustine Film Festival wholeheartedly proved that last weekend.