Naples film festival returns in person to the delight of filmmakers

The Naples community coming together to watch movies. The Naples International Film Festival kicked off Thursday night in person after the pandemic moved the event online last year.

WINK News partner Gulfshore Life is a sponsor of this year’s event.

In all 13 years of the Naples film festival, this year is the first time five short films have kicked off the event. It is the result of COVID-19 making feature-length films harder to produce.

But working around those challenges is what these filmmakers love about the art.

“So covid hit us pretty hard when you’re in the middle of production,” said Robin Hauser, director of ‘$avvy’.

Hauser had a few interviews shot and a long way to go. She directed a feature film titled ‘$avvy’. “Savvy is a film about women, money and freedom. And it’s a film about how women need to start abdicating financial decisions to somebody else,” said Hauser.

She shares three real stories, but during the pandemic, it couldn’t be done without a little creativity and the internet that stretched outside the box.

Hauser said, “I worked on the film for 22 months and I’ve never met my editor in person. She was stuck in Honolulu, I was stuck in California, we had all sorts of plans to get together to work on the film together and we’ve never met in person.”

Meeting in person is something most of these artists didn’t get to do. Johnn Gann and Cheri Gaulke made a short film together. This week was the first time they saw each other face to face.

“Cheri and I have never met until yesterday, we made this entire film bicoastal via facetime and text messaging and email,” said Producer John Gann.

From coast to coast they brought to life ‘Miss Alma Thomas: A Life in Color.’

“She was the first woman to graduate to Howard University with a fine arts degree she was the first woman, black woman to have a exhibit at the Whitney Museum and she was the first black woman whose art was hung in the White House,” said Producer John Gann.

A lot of firsts in their film, and Thursday evening, a lot of firsts hello’s that won’t be the last.

Producer John Gann said, “to be in person, with a massive audience and a red carpet, it’s like the old times. And it makes me feel really great. It gives me confidence that we’re coming back.”

The film festival runs from Oct. 21-24. Friday’s films will be shown at the Silver Spot in Naples. Then on Sunday, the last night of the festival, the awards ceremony will be held at the Baker Museum along with the grand finale; a showing of Back to the Future.

Tickets are still available and you can get them here or by visiting

Reporter:Gail Levy
Writer:Matthew Seaver
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