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Top 5 Things We Saw at the 2023 Florida Film Festival

May 1, 2023

Top 5 Things We Saw at the 2023 Florida Film Festival

Last week was the 2023 Florida Film Festival. 10 days of films from all over the world in all different genres. And our writer, Richard Belsan, was there for all 10 days and saw over 100 films. So we asked him to pick his five favorites, a seemingly impossible task with so many great films to choose from. So not only will these be 5 of his favorites, they’ll be a well-rounded collection of the types of films you could have seen at the fest. Without further ado, here are the Top 5 things he saw at the 2023 Florida Film Festival:

Dusty & Stones

This touching documentary features a country duo from Eswatini (or Swaziland when it was filmed). It follows their struggle to make a name for themselves in Africa and a journey to the United States to play in an international competition in Texas. A detour in Nashville to professionally record their songs features one of the most powerful moments of any documentary I saw this year at the festival.

My Love Affair with Marriage

I’m always on the lookout for great animation at the Florida Film Festival. And My Love Affair with Marriage is exactly the kind of thing I hope for (this year’s Unicorn Boy was also great). Director Signe Baumane has crafted this semi-autobiographical tale of a woman exploring the different relationships and marriages in her life, including the science behind our attractions, brilliantly blending miniature sets and various forms of animation. I knew very little about it going in and it turned out to be one of my favorite things I saw.

Shorts #1

I was originally going to use this space to talk about Donkey, a short film about a Shrek impersonator who gets called away from a gig to visit his father in the hospital. But the more I looked at this shorts program, the more I remembered how many greats were here. Two Chairs, Not One is a fun tale of a woman taking her customer service complaint to the extreme. And Cousins is about, well, two cousins coming together after a long time apart. It’d be easy to just list all seven shorts in this block because they were all great. Of the 2023 Florida Film Festival live action shorts blocks, this was easily my favorite.

Content: The Lo-Fi Man

Midnight Shorts staple Brian Lonano returns, along with co-director Blake Myers, to bring us another insane short. This time it’s about a filmmaker turned content creator just trying to talk to the audience about a movie. Typical of Lonano’s other shorts, things spiral out of control in this takedown of our current “content” era.


Since we’re on the midnight track, let’s talk about Sisu! A gold prospector in Finland crosses paths with a group of Nazis who want to steal his most recent find. Turns out they messed with the wrong man and he’s actually a highly trained, infamous fighter. Sisu is 90 minutes of gruesome carnage against Nazis that continues to find new ways to escalate. The perfect midnight movie.

That’s a Wrap!

Those were the top 5 things I saw at the 2023 Florida Film Festival. It was another great year for a variety of films and if you’ve never been, I can’t recommend it enough. I always find it so creatively energizing because getting to see so many incredible films of all scales and budgets is inspiring. And if you’re ever looking for an inspired explainer video, you can always reach us here!

Let’s Brew This!