Last Sunday, January 13, 2013, writer and director Jen Ackerman, won first place in the Enzian FilmSlam, by the vote of the audience being the best out of eight other submissions. A display of justice, Insights to Strengths, was about coming out to world from the perspective of the gay/lesbian story. This short film by Ackerman was a definition of freedom, about being you no matter what.
Valerie Burgos, a local student at Full Sail University, was in attendance at the FilmSlam. I asked her about her reaction to the first place winning short film. “Being different is okay,” she said. “It’s not how it was back then.” Burgos went on to talk about how she could relate to this film from her own life. She came out to her mother about being in a relationship with a woman a little more than a year ago. “It made me feel happy because when I came out to my mom it was rough. And its people out there that had it rough too,” she stated.
The crowd was alive with fervor and excitement with about 50 people in attendance. Mostly, there were the families of the directors in the audience. There were eight films submitted to the FilmSlam festival in total. The voting was done on an audience-based system, with five stars being the best and one star being the worst. Coming in second place was Crushed, bywriter and director Paolo Ariza. Third place was Coopetal, by director Alica Haberman. The show lasted about an hour long, with a cheap entry fee of only five dollars, also including a Q&A session at the competition’s end. The Enzian has been hosting the FilmSlam for six years, after it moved from the UCF’s Downtown Media Arts Center, which closed in 2006. FilmSlam winners with submissions that are ten minutes or less in length are guaranteed a spot in the 2013 Brouhaha Film & Video Showcase.