FloArts presents “Film Festival 2024”

FloArts students Lillian Johnson and Lamontiaz Slocumb run through a scene for the short film “Only Death Will Part Us” – one of four films to debut during the 2024 FloArts Film Festival.

FloArts acting instructor Kevin Kelly films students Jo Fletcher and E. Noah Perez for the film “Buried Secrets” – one of four films to debut during the 2024 FloArts Film Festival.

Florida School of the Art’s latest storytelling experience, “Film Festival 2024,” continues with its third year of student-produced short films. The Festival runs March 29 & 30 at 7:30 p.m. in the main stage theatre at the St. Johns River State College Palatka Campus. Admission is $10. The festival contains adult language and content. Tickets can be purchased online in advance or at the box office one hour before showtime.

With the goal of building the presence of screen performances at FloArts, festival director and acting professor Kevin Kelly explained that the process provides students with more skills, experience and confidence in front of the camera. “It’s all about encouraging young artists to explore, grow and gain experiences that they wouldn’t be able to gain otherwise,” said Kelly. “That’s why the School is here.”

FloArts students have filmed four short films that make up the main content of the festival. The films were shot using various locations throughout the city of Palatka. "We've had great support from the community and local businesses who have supplied us with locations in which to film. It's been very rewarding to have such enthusiastic encouragement from local supporters," Kelly said.

The films are:
Dirty Laundry - a quick comedy about a couple caught in a moment of jealousy and bickering. The film features Rae Edwards and James Lopez.

Buried Secrets - a suspenseful short about a young man uncovering a forgotten event from his past, featuring Jo Fletcher and E. Noah Perez.

Only Death Will Part Us dramatizes a young woman caught in an abusive relationship and a chance she takes to change her future. The film features Lillian Johnson, Lamontiaz Slocumb, Christi Arnold and Maggie Rashaw.

The Option is a sweet romance about a young couple that just keeps missing each other, featuring Zachary Petron, Alexis Brockway and Javier Pinto.

The festival also includes the “Weekend Film Challenge,” a competition inviting high school and middle school students throughout the state to submit three-minute films. The teams were assigned specific genres while incorporating the use of five similar elements. Audience members can enjoy free popcorn and vote for their favorite entries during the festival. Winners will be announced at the end of the final screening on March 30.

According to Kelly, the student teams competed to create the winning film in their respective categories in one weekend. “It makes it an adventure. It makes it a team sport. It makes it a lot of fun,” said Kelly. “It’s a great team building exercise. They explore, learn and experiment.”

Kelly said what he enjoys most about teaching at FloArts is helping the students become the engines of their own creativity and education. “These film projects are a great way to help them take charge and help them work as a team and to not wait around for others to tell them what to do,” Kelly said. “We're pushing our students to reach beyond what they think they are capable of and to think of themselves as better all-around storytellers. We’re looking forward to seeing what everybody puts together and to the community coming out and seeing their efforts.”

Florida School of the Arts is located on the Palatka campus of St. Johns River State College.

FloArts is part of the academic and administrative structure of SJR State and awards associate degrees in acting, dance performance, musical theater, stage management, theater technology, graphic design/new media and studio art. For more information, call (386) 312-4300 or visit FloArts.