Annual Fort Myers Film Festival officially underway

Reporter: Jacquelyn Kisic
Published: Updated:

The Fort Myers Film Festival opened their 14th annual edition in Downtown Fort Myers on Wednesday night, featuring 92 films within the next four days.

The annual festival will roll through Tuesday and features an array of original independent films.

The excitement kicks off with a red carpet event on Wednesday for the opening film “Hellbent on Boogie,” featuring 12 international films and 92 films overall.

For the past 19 years, one local filmmaker, Curtis Collins, said he has made many personal connections through his films. A few of his films are featured on Amazon and Netflix.

Collins’ independent film, “Silence,” which will be featured in the film festival, is based on true events in Florida, such as children left unattended in hot vehicles.

“It’s just a really tragic story. But it’s a true story and happens living in Florida. It happens down here all the time,” said Collins. “So we wanted to expose that.”

According to Eric Raddatz, the founder of the Film Festival and president of the Sidney & Berner Davis Arts Center, one of the biggest films featured in the festival this season is based on the resilience of those after Hurricane Ian, called the “Spirt of Recovery.”

“Because after the hurricane, suddenly all those people It didn’t matter what your age, race or socio-economic background was,” said Raddatz. “You were either being helped or helping pretty much.”

Sheriff Carmine Marceno received the Best Community Protector Award at the 14th Annual Fort Myers Film Festival.

The opening event was held at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center. Sheriff Marceno had the honor of being featured in two films during the festival—both of these films involving Hurricane Ian coverage.

“The film festival of arts is amazing. What they have done here is amazing. They have my full support,” said Sheriff Marceno. “Literally, it’s such an honor to just attend, let alone be recognized.”

The film festival will be held in multiple venues throughout Fort Myers, including the Sidney and Berne Davis Art Center, IMAG, Alliance for the Arts, the Broadway Palm Theater, BIG ARTS, Babcock Ranch, The Luminary Hotel and the Banyan Hotel.

During the film festival, organizers included an auction to raise money for several local nonprofits throughout the Southwest Florida Region.

Raddatz said that having a strong arts community, such as events like the Fort Myers Film Festival, brings artists and filmmakers a chance to showcase their work.

“It’s super important because we’re adding the value of the culture of independent film,” said Raddatz. “So people have come to expect greatness from the Fort Myers Film Festival, and I plan to deliver it.”

Individual tickets are available for purchase here.

Click here to submit a film for the 2025 Fort Myers Film Festival.

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