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19th Annual Melbourne Independent Filmmakers Festival showcases local talent

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Red carpet

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Sue Dontell and Terry Cronin

Going to the movies usually means sitting through a film that lasts about two hours. What if you could fit a dozen or more films into that same timeframe?

That’s part of the experience of the Melbourne Independent Filmmakers Festival. The 19th annual festival happening Oct. 19-21 at Premiere Theaters Oaks 10 will showcase the short films of local filmmakers plus some submitted from around the country and the world. Hundreds get submitted each year, the best are chosen to be shown over the three-day event.

“This year is going to be a MIFF like no other,” said Terry Cronin, filmmaker and festival organizer. “One of the missions of MIFF is to promote Florida filmmakers and especially our Brevard filmmaking community.”

MIFF is a short-film festival — the finished products just a few minutes long. A few feature-length films are invited, though, and one being shown this year, “Women Who Kill,” was directed by Palm Bay native Ingrid Jungermann. She also stars in the film, which won the Jury Award for Best Screenplay at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival and was recommended in the New York Times.

Sue Dontell has had a film shown at the MIFF each of its 19 years. She’s also been a volunteer and judge, providing feedback.  

“What’s great about the film festival is that it gives the local independent filmmakers an opportunity to see their film on the big screen,” Dontell said. “As independent filmmakers, it’s hard to get your films distributed, especially short films.”

“Short films are exciting calling cards for directors and are innovative ways to tell stories,” Cronin said. “Make your film 5 minutes or less and you can get into festivals anywhere.”

The MIFF celebrates that short-form artistic expression.

“The storyline in a short film has to be tighter and have all the elements of a feature film in terms of a plot and subplot,” Dontell said. “You’ve got to catch your audience in the beginning and keep them engaged throughout.”

This year’s MIFF will have special guest Brian O’Halloran, star of Kevin Smith’s groundbreaking indie hit “Clerks.” He’ll be honored with the Indie Pioneer Award, and festival attendees will be able to see the new behind-the-scenes documentary “Shooting Clerks.”

The Saturday morning Florida Filmmakers Matinee allows attendees to view local talent on the big screen and meet local creators. Other aspects of the MIFF include a food-tasting reception celebrating the premiere of Real Food Real Kitchens on Amazon Prime, a comedic program hosted by homegrown professional comedian Frankie Paul, horror/sci-fi Friday and the VIP red carpet awards and after-party Saturday night.

All of the funds raised by the festival go to charity. This year’s proceeds will support No Limits Academy, a private school for the disabled.

For information and MIFF schedule, visit

For MIFF tickets, visit


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