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Orlando Weekly's guide to the 2013 Florida Film Festival

Central Florida’s annual festival of film and food returns for its 22nd year

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Fame High is both heartbreaking and inspirational – you can’t help but feel sympathy for these kids whose childhoods are consumed by anxiety about the future, but you also can’t help but root for them as they pursue the dreams that drive them (and their parents). – ES

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FARE OUT ISN'T FAR ENOUGH: THE TOMI UNGERER STORY 

★★★★

It’s tough to beat a documentary that takes an already intriguing subject and makes it even more fascinating. Far Out Isn’t Far Enough takes famed illustrator, author and satirist Tomi Ungerer and does just that.

Ungerer grew up in Alsace, a region historically divided between France and Germany, and saw firsthand the horrors of both the Nazis and the repressive French post-war government. Those horrors, plus the death of his father, scarred Ungerer but also allowed him to later hone his history into his own brand of dark genius. It’s not surprising, therefore, that Ungerer was able to publish his first children’s book just one year after arriving in the United States in 1956, and then later branch out into political and even graphically sexual subjects.

His macabre imagery and themes were “disarming and funny, and not respectful at all,” according to Maurice Sendak, author of Where the Wild Things Are, which Ungerer heavily influenced. But what else would you expect from an artist whose main inspiration was Matthias Grünewald’s “The Temptation of St. Anthony,” a nightmarish depiction of supernatural horrors on par with the works of Hieronymus Bosch and Salvador Dali?

So if Ungerer was such a genius, why did he disappear in the early 1970s, at the height of his fame? Was he simply “crushed by his ideas,” as Ungerer describes it, or was there something more sinister afoot? That’s the question writer-director Brad Bernstein answers, and he does so with intelligence, style, a great interview with Ungerer himself, and some superb animation that gives renewed life and meaning to the artist’s drawings. – CM

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FIRST COMES LOVE

★★

Most directors cut their film teeth on their own home movies. Nina Davenport has never stopped cutting.
Davenport is one of the most prominent autobiographical documentarians, and she clearly has a knack for turning the seemingly mundane into decent cinema. Her latest effort, First Comes Love, chronicles her quest, at age 41, to have a baby though artificial insemination, while dealing with romantic and familial relationships.

“Seemingly everyone on earth has managed to marry and procreate except me,” she says early in the documentary. That’s a frank admission of what most single 40-somethings feel, including, quite frankly, me. However, that’s the extent to which I bonded with Davenport while watching her film because she spends most of it self-indulgently perusing the minutiae of her life. The minutiae include the dating habits of her friends and her strained relationship with her father, who clearly has issues of his own – enough to form a pretty good short film, in fact.

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