Some of the Florida moviemakers whose works have been accepted into this weekend's Brouhaha Film & Video Showcase may in fact be going places. But the event itself is staying put.
Remaining at Enzian Theater didn't always look like a given for the 13th edition of Brouhaha, an annual forum for up-and-coming cinema artists from around the state. Promotional materials circulated on behalf of D.MAC, the Downtown Media Arts Center, listed the 2004 showcase as taking place there; inferences ran high that Enzian was relinquishing the talent-nurturing game to its younger, more experimentally oriented counterpart.
Not so, says Matthew Curtis, Enzian's director of programming. According to him, the only change mulled was to utilize D.MAC as an additional screening site should the selection of high-quality, longer-length pieces prove too voluminous for Enzian to handle.
That didn't happen, which in a way underscores the other question that now surrounds Brouhaha: With new outlets like D.MAC and even Austin Coffee & Film providing regular exposure for locally produced shorts, how special can the two-day festival remain, anyway? Curtis admits that programming it has become "somewhat more challenging" a task.
"It's up to us to get out there and dig up gems from around the state," he says.
The gems mined from among this year's 100 or so submissions constitute a "real good balance" of narrative, documentary and experimental films, Curtis reports. Perennial contributors like director Anthony Torres rub elbows with newcomers, and there's a more even representation of the film schools that provide Brouhaha with much of its screening material.
Utterly independently, certain thematic motifs have taken hold. Winking horror is one, as evidenced by University of Central Florida student Joseph Mauceri's An Evening With Ivan Gorsky, in which a vampire makes new friends while shooting pool at a redneck bar. Then there's Filthy, a 35-minute orgy of knowing vulgarity that sees Clearwater filmmakers Andy Lalino and John Karliss cannibalizing Halloween and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre to amusing, stomach-churning effect. (They're shoo-ins for the award Best Use of a Disembodied Scrotum.)
Two of the documentaries occupy opposing sides of the same philosophical coin. In the Pit, a University of Florida-bred profile of two alligator-wrestling brothers, laments the decline of mom-and-pop reptile attractions. But in Lolita: Slave to Entertainment, South Florida writer/director Timothy Gorski derides the entire concept of captive animals as entertainment, compiling a crude but effective argument for freeing a killer whale that's leading a life of alleged suffering at the Miami Seaquarium.
Curtis says that some of the other recurring themes include voyages to hell and job-interview scenarios. (There's a difference?) Also on the watch list are the traditional animated shorts from Sarasota's Ringling School of Art and Design and a UCF doc that solicits students' views of gay marriage. While freethinking Sunshine Staters wait for that overdue boon to be granted, the marriage of Brouhaha and Enzian continues apace.
(Screenings noon and 2:15 pm. Saturday and Sunday, June 12 and 13, at Enzian Theater, 407-629-1088; $5 per program)