Falafel, farm life, and the Florida Film Festival. Heartfelt congratulations go out to FFF veterans Ari Sandel and Ali Selim for their award-winning ways this past weekend. Ari's hilarious WEST BANK STORY, a musical comedy about dueling falafel stands and the love between an Israeli soldier and a Palestinian fast-food cashier, had its East Coast Premiere at our 2005 event. How a short from 2005 wins the Oscar for Best Short Film in 2007 I'm not really sure, but the film is a delightful crowd pleaser and as intelligently composed as was his acceptance speech.
The night before Ari's glorious moment at the Academy Awards, Ali Selim's SWEET LAND won Best First Feature at this year's Independent Spirit Awards. This beautiful love story/period piece, about a German immigrant mail-order bride in the American Midwest of the 1920s, had its Southeast Premiere at the 2006 FFF and ended up winning the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature. It also came back to Enzian for a special Meet the Filmmaker event sponsored by Rollins College back in November. We couldn't be more proud that these films were first exposed to Central Florida audiences at the Festival and have gone on to such esteem and honors.