The inaugural Skyway Film Festival will be held June 12-14 in Bradenton, Fla. The fest, which will take place at the Manatee Performing Arts Center, is backed by a multi-year commitment from the Bradenton Area Film Commission.
The festival, which is currently accepting submissions through May 1, plans to screen about 50 films, both shorts and features, over the weekend while also hosting several panel discussions dubbed Skyway Labs. The initial lineup of the Labs includes: A masters acting workshop with Andre Holland (Selma, The Knick) and Ryan O'Nan (The Blacklist, Ray Donovan); a women in film panel with Heather Rae (Frozen River); and a film financing workshop with Lee Broda of Jeff Rice Films.
"Starting a film festival from the ground floor is an exciting opportunity and even more enriched by the community's full support from the beginning. The vision of the festival will be to always focus on the story, the story of each filmmaker, from etching out their script, to raising financing, to casting, through production and post-production, and the final viewing of their work of art," Joe Restaino, the festival's artistic director, said in announcing the film.
"By partnering with the Skyway Film Festival, we see this as the start of a long-term commitment to support the arts community and ultimately support an economic driver for local businesses. Skyway supports our local film incentive, and we look forward to showcasing our community to the film industry; our waterfront locations, beautiful beaches, quaint, vibrant downtown along with old Florida architecture, and the friendly people of the county are our best assets," Debbie Meihls, Bradenton Area Film Commissioner, added.
Juried and audience awards will be presented in the following categories: Narrative feature; documentary feature; Florida films; short film and student short film. The winners of the best U.A. and International shorts will receive distribution with IndiePix Films through their digital platform. Skyway will also feature a teleplay competition, where original TV pilot scripts of any genre can be submitted and the winner will have their script read as part of a table read by professional actor. Leslie Cohen, HBO VP of film programming will lead the teleplay competition jury.