Take 5 With FLIFF President Gregory Von Hausch

It was an inside joke: FLIFF, an acronym for the Fort Lauderdale Worldwide Movie Pageant, additionally stood for Florida’s Longest Worldwide Movie Pageant. The occasion simply stored going, for as much as 4 weeks of 1 premiere after one other.

“The longest it ran was 38 days; my employees wished to kill me,” remembers Gregory Von Hausch, the competition’s president since 1989. “Final yr we had been at 18 days. … Preventing towards streaming, we didn’t need to create an animal that was so costly, whose margins had been so skinny. … I’m thrilled with it.”

This yr’s Thirty seventh-annual competition runs Nov. 4-13, a cool 10 days, proper in keeping with the size of business leaders Cannes and Sundance. High quality is predicted to compensate for sheer amount, although FLIFF will nonetheless debut about 200 options, documentaries and shorts. Along with the competition, Von Hausch packages year-round Savor Cinema in Fort Lauderdale and Cinema Paradiso in Hollywood, capturing a lot of the arthouse market in Broward County.

What do you search for when screening movies for consideration for FLIFF?

I take into account my viewers first. There could also be movies I like, but when they’re not going to love them, there’s no sense of me going after them. I discover issues which are very eclectic. There are particular genres that I keep away from. I do know my viewers doesn’t like gratuitous violence, [which I share]. My viewers gravitates towards overseas movie. I’m going to these greater than American independents.

How diverse is the standard management on the submissions you obtain?

The standard management is just a little up and down, and the variety of movies we watch can vary into the 1000’s over the course of the yr. Once I was youthful, I felt like I had a fiduciary duty to those filmmakers to observe each second, however you quickly notice that a number of the stuff that involves you has no advantage, and no redeeming worth. You’re doing disservice to the opposite respectable ones behind you; you don’t need your programmer you with bleary eyes.

How do you retain the competition vitality alive all year long at your theaters?

We nonetheless do a number of occasions. We had a paleontologist for “Jurassic World Dominion.” “Minions” had a Minion there. We had the ushers in flight fits for “High Gun.” For “Downton Abbey,” we had the ushers in interval costumes.

Do you will have a memorable story from a earlier FLIFF?

[In 1995] Michael Caine and Roger Moore got here to FLIFF collectively. They had been greatest mates. One evening, I had organized a meet-and-greet on the Colony Resort in Palm Seaside. Michael was with us for a few week, and I took him as many locations as I may; Roger needed to come later, in a distinct automotive.

Michael and I are in a limousine going as much as the Colony. We get there, and we go into this ballroom state of affairs, and instantly, followers are coming after him, actually pushing him up towards a wall. I’m on the skin of this embryo, attempting to be the sperm and pressure my means into it, and he’s getting all these ladies with cocktails of their fingers, firing inquiries to him, and reaching out and touching him. He appears at me, and I’m actually pulling him to this door. He simply needed to escape. And as quickly as we obtained outdoors the door and we’re leaving these individuals trailing after us, there have been a bunch of tabloid reporters asking him questions on his restaurant, and the way he treats his workers. And actually, he obtained so pink, I assumed he was going to hit this man.

The limousine was there, we get into it, and he began cursing like a sailor, and calling up the opposite limo [with Roger Moore] and telling them to show round and go away.

Loads has been written concerning the demise of film theaters, particularly since COVID, with extra titles than ever opening direct to streaming. Ought to we be writing the obituary for cinemas?

I’m deeply involved about it. We’ve got to make a lot cash, and the audiences nonetheless aren’t coming again. I’ve been attempting arduous to interrupt into the 18-to-34-year-old group. There’s a number of competitors for them on the market. I understand how simple and cozy it’s to observe issues at residence. Throughout the pandemic, we turned TV junkies. We don’t have an enormous TV—it’s 48 inches—nevertheless it’s good for us.


WHAT: Fort Lauderdale Worldwide Movie Pageant

WHERE: Savor Cinema and Cinema Paradiso

WHEN: Nov. 4-13

CONTACT: Go to fliff.com in October for full competition schedule

This text is from the September/October 2022 problem of Boca journal. For extra like this, click on right here to subscribe to the journal.