FLAGLER FILM FESTIVAL: Inaugural Flagler Film Festival a hit with audiences By DANIELLE ANDERSON Correspondent Published: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 5:30 a.m.

Inaugural Flager Film FestivalHal Hershfelt checks out the “Ghostbusters” replica car during the Flagler Film Festival at the Hilton Garden Inn in Palm Coast.

The first-ever Flagler Film Festival opened Friday to a near-full house for “Wave of Winter,” a surfing documentary and one of many independent productions screened over three days at the Hilton Garden Inn.

Created by former Flagler resident Mike Cianciulli, who now lives in Los Angeles, “Wave of Winter” was billed as a fundraiser for the Tommy Tant Memorial Foundation and drew members of the Tant family. It also raised $132 in donations for the Foundation.

“I thought it was a great reflection of the respect and pride of surfing,” said Barbara Tant, Tommy’s mother, after seeing the documentary. “Everyone who surfs wants to surf pipeline, and he (Cianciulli) presented it in such a positive way. It was nice of Mike to tie it in to the Tommy Tant Memorial Foundation.”

Heart-pumping music and ferocious waves, peppered with commentary from legendary surfers, kept viewers riveted. And when it was over, no one waited long for more entertainment as the screening transitioned to the comedic block.

“Things My Father Never Taught Me” conveyed the story of a quiet 4-year-old on a hapless journey in search of love through the playground of girls. His father, offering “advice,” struck out more often than a baseball player on a bad day and eventually realized his son was more in tune than he ever could be. A funny lesson for would-be Casanovas everywhere, the father soon realized things his own father never taught him — he was learning from his son. The five-minute flick had the audience laughing through the entire film.

The equally amusing “Mama Needs A Ride,” featuring a surprise ending, and “Wingman, Inc.,” rounded out the comedy entries and kept the giggles coming.

The horror block that followed took viewers back to the days of “Friday the 13th” with “The Beach House,” featuring a disturbed writer and the frightening murderer, Scarecrow. Surprised audience members jumped in their seats as events played out. Filmed in Flagler County, many landmarks in the film were recognizable to the seasoned eye.

Barbara and Gordon Carpenter loved “Wingman, Inc.”

“It was an excellent evening. The comedy was great,” she said, still giggling from the movie.

Saturday was filled with documentaries, dramas and romance, followed by a special screening of “Serena and the Ratts” from director Kevin Barry. The psychological thriller left audience members guessing as they processed the storyline. Barry held a Q & A session to answer questions afterwards. The film was shot in nine months, during Barry’s senior year in college, and featured volunteer actors and friends. Filmmakers themselves heavily attended Sunday’s screenings, which ended with the black-and-white silent film “The Yellow Pill,” submitted from Singapore. An encore featuring festival co-founder Orion Christy’s “Decadere (The Decay),” stayed in line with the zombie craze.

“It’s great to have a local showcase,” said Rich Gold, winner of Best Documentary for “In the Footsteps of Willie Sutton.”

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