Recognized by Guinness World Records as the world's longest film festival, the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary this year with a robust schedule of special events and a plethora of pictures spanning numerous genres. Starting with pre-festival screenings, which begin on September 27, a lineup of more than 150 movies from more than 80 countries gives pass possessors the visual stimulation of an all-you-can-watch film binge without the distraction of Hollywood's enormous signage and carnivorous palm trees. The on-screen fare ranges from documentaries to foreign films and kids' flicks to 30-minute-and-under shorts; some of the works are also designated as "competition films" and considered for Oscar-style awards. In addition to viewing privileges, pass-holders are also entitled to admission at an agenda-busting array of special events—such as the Opening Night Film and Gala and the Chairman's Cruise and Brunch—many of which include free drinks, snacks, and the chance to rub elbows, knock foreheads, and intertwine phalanges with celebrities and filmsmiths.
The Women's International Film & Arts Festival is a nonprofit organization that features the work of talented females each year during women's history month. With women representing only 7% of film directors, this creative collaboration exposes unheard artists by showing 50 films over the course of five days. Pull at your heartstrings by attaching a puppeteer to your body or by catching Forget Me Not, a modern-day love story about a free-spirited woman and a passionate musician with a tragic secret. The gripping tale of In The Name of Freedom, by Isabel Cueva, chronicles the tale of an American soldier in captivity who's life changes forever after meeting another prisoner. This women-centric film festival is sure to send visitors on an artistic rollycoaster that's infinitely preferable to the abstract rollycoasters featured at avant-garde amusement parks, which are mostly just picnic tables.
The Museum of Discovery and Science ensures that adults as well as children have opportunities to explore diverse fields in the natural and physical sciences. Museum visitors who prefer to experience action on the big screen can drop into the AutoNation IMAX 3D Theater, which boasts a 15,000 watt, 42-speaker digital surround sound system. Opened in 1992, the 300-seat theater dazzles audiences via a five-story screen that features both 2-D and 3-D films. Crowds view the latter using lightweight XR 3-D glasses for highly evolved thrills.
At CinéBistro, a luxurious dining theater, patrons settle into wide cushioned seats as they watch the latest action flicks and comedies flicker on the silver screen. Viewing companions alternate drawing buttery, salty puffed maize out of a shared tub of popcorn, hoping to find Gene Hackman's golden business card buried somewhere inside. Although not included with this Groupon, CinéBistro serves seated cinema aficionados a wide menu of appetizers, entrees, and desserts to complement their popcorn, from a caesar salad for a light meal ($10.75) to a pan-seared Atlantic salmon cooked to order ($19.50). Dessert indulgences include a deconstructed peanut-butter pie ($8), and liquid indulgences proffer a wine list full of international vintages to guzzle during foreign movies, as well as domestic and imported beers, martinis, and cocktails.
For anyone interested in enjoying a meal at the movies, rather than snacking on boxed candies and stale popcorn, there’s Cobb Theatres – Cinebistro. This upscale movie theater experience is specifically designed to offer an upscale dining experience, all while watching a recently released movie. Guests are served individually in comfortable high-back leather chairs, from an extensive menu with meals that range from gourmet hamburgers to New York strip steak, Caesar salads and yellowfin tuna tacos. Select a glass of wine or pull from the premium cocktail menu to complete the meal – that is, unless you have a sweet tooth. Dessert options go well beyond the usual peanut M&M’s (though you can snack on those as well), rounding out a truly decadent movie-going experience. Just make sure to show up at least 30 minutes before the film starts, and leave the children at home; only drinking-age adults are allowed inside.