Venice

Summer 2015

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As Broward County celebrates its 100th anniversary, this summer the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival turns a spotlight on the movies that have filmed here. BY SKIP SHEFFIELD 162 Venice hile countless historical events have happened in Broward County since its creation 100 years ago, the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival is commemorating one specific high-profile aspect: movies made in Broward County. A handpicked selection of Broward County-made feature films will be screened July 9-16 at Cinema Paradiso. "Many of the films played here during my 27 years at FLIFF," says Gregory von Hausch, executive director of Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLIFF). "'Cape Fear' was shooting here in 1990 and [Martin] Scorsese came to our fest the night before he began shooting. 'Bart Got a Room' was our closer in 2008." Perhaps Hollywood's infatuation with Fort Lauderdale began with pioneering film titan D.W. Griffith. He fell in love with the area, checking in to the newly constructed Broward Hotel in 1919. His film "The Idol Dancer" was produced in 1920, followed by "The Love Flower" and then "The White Rose" in 1923. Griffith became disenchanted with the development of Fort Lauderdale and South Florida in general, but his own era passed with the introduction of "talkies." All filmmaking in Florida went on hiatus after Miami's 1926 hurricane, which caused extensive destruction in South Florida, followed by an economic crash. One of Fort Lauderdale's most beloved films took place generations ago. "Where the Boys Are" is in a class by itself as hit movie, song and cultural phenomenon in 1960. Though set on the famous public beach of Fort Lauderdale amid iconic locations such as the Elbo Room, it was filmed in a number of other scenic locations all over South Florida. MGM and producer Joe Pasternak noted the growing youth market for movies, and Glendon Swarthout's novel, which put angst-filled Midwestern college students on break in Fort Lauderdale, seemed ideally suited for that market. It was. The movie and its theme song by Connie Francis (now a Florida resident) were a huge hit, firing the spring break mania to the point the City of Fort Lauderdale moved to discourage the bacchanal by the mid-1980s. Unfortunately, "Porky's" (1982) and "Spring Break" (1983), two comedies with notable college humor, weren't exactly what the Chamber of Commerce was looking for. Though panned by critics, Jerry Lewis's 1980 film "Hardly Working" was good for a few laughs, and it gave work to many South Florida actors and technicians as well as ordinary people as extras. Similarly, "Caddyshack" had everyone and their brother and sister as extras, starring a young Bill Murray as a mumbling golf course greenskeeper. (Rolling Hills in Davie was a principal location, but Boca Raton Resort & Club was also used.) Even to this day, "Caddyshack" remains a cult favorite. "Body Heat" was filmed all over South Florida in 1981 and achieved critical acclaim as a modern "film noir" and box office success for its steamy scenes with a young Kathleen Turner as femme fatale Matty Walker and William Hurt as her weak-willed husband. Another movie, "Bully," hit close to home. Released in 2001, the movie starred Brad Renfro and Nick Stahl, and unveiled the true-life events that led to the murder of South Broward High School student Bobby Kent. Filming locations included Fort Lauderdale, Lauderhill, Cooper City, Hollywood and Miramar. "Revenge of the Nerds II" was hardly a masterpiece, but it took advantage of its Fort Lauderdale locations, which included the 1920s Fort Lauderdale Hotel recast as the seedy "Royal Flamingo Hotel." Not long after the 1986 filming, the hotel was destroyed by a suspicious fire. Independent filmmaker Victor Nunez filmed "Ruby in Paradise" on Florida's "Redneck Riviera" near Pensacola in 1993. Star Ashley Judd was dispatched to LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION! W

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