Artis—Naples Announces Official Selections for the 2022 Naples International Film Festival


As Southwest Florida contends with the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, Artis—Naples announced today that the Naples International Film Festival will take place as planned October 27-30, and also announced the film lineup. “Artis—Naples is a reflection of our community – resilient and focused on helping those affected by the storm. We recognize the restorative power of the arts and the role of our mission to help our community recover,” said CEO and President Kathleen van Bergen. “In the upcoming weeks and months, we will continue presenting visual and performing arts programming—including NIFF—that we hope will bring solace, inspiration and even laughter to our community. This year, more than ever, we look forward to bringing film lovers and filmmakers together again to share in four days that promise to deliver the best in independent film across a variety of genres—shorts, Florida films, student films and documentary and narrative features.”

The film festival begins with a red-carpet Opening Night event highlighted by a screening of Bradford Thomason and Brett Whitcomb’s festival favorite documentary Butterfly in the Sky. NIFF will close with a special presentation of Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park featuring a live performance of John Williams’ classic score by the Naples Philharmonic, conducted by Principal Pops Conductor Jack Everly.

On Friday and Saturday night, Artis—Naples will present its popular “Screenings Under the Stars” in Norris Garden on the Artis—Naples Kimberly K. Querrey and Louis A. Simpson Cultural Campus. NIFF alumnus Bryan Storkel will return with his and Amy Bandlien Storkel’s The Pez Outlaw on Friday night, and Nate Boyer’s MVP will screen on Saturday night.

The festival will include 64 films (13 narrative features, 9 documentary features and 42 short films) from 17 countries. All screenings will be in-person at Hayes Hall, Norris Garden or Silverspot Cinema.

“Our goal always is to bring films, filmmakers and audiences together in order to provide a rich cinematic experience that highlights the many facets of independent film—all in this uniquely beautiful setting,” said David Filner, executive vice president, artistic operations. “Whether we are screening films that feature art and artists who have graced our exhibition walls and performance stages, or we are simply sharing powerful and though-provoking independent films from filmmakers all over the world, NIFF provides a unique opportunity for filmmakers and our whole cinema-loving community to experience the multidisciplinary approach to the arts that is at the heart of Artis—Naples.”

Festival Producer Shannon Franklin adds that NIFF maintains a great reputation with filmmakers because they know it is an environment where they can share their work, connect and exchange ideas—all while having a great time. “NIFF reaches engaged, enthusiastic audiences who genuinely appreciate the work they are seeing on screen,” Franklin said. “Year after year, festival filmmakers and attendees give rave reviews of the fun-in-the-sun NIFF experience.”

On Thursday, October 27, the Opening Night film at Hayes Hall (5833 Pelican Bay Blvd) will be Bradford Thomason and Brett Whitcomb’s Butterfly in the Sky in its Florida premiere. The film, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festvial, has charmed audiences across the nation as it looks at the history and influence of the beloved Reading Rainbow series and one of the most adored television hosts of all time, LeVar Burton.

Hayes Hall will also be the location for the special presentation of Spielberg’s original thrilling “rollercoaster ride” through the land of dinosaurs, Jurassic Park (1993) on Closing Night on Sunday, October 30, appropriately on the eve of Halloween. The Naples Philharmonic, led by Principal Pops Conductor Jack Everly, will perform John Williams’ classic score live with the film.

Since 2020, the Naples International Film Festival has included its popular “Screenings Under the Stars” events with films shown on a large outdoor screen in Norris Garden on the Artis─Naples Kimberly K. Querrey and Louis A. Simpson Cultural Campus. This years’ screenings include The Pez Outlaw and Nate Boyer’s MVP. Boyer, a former college football player and United State Army Green Beret, stars and directs this film about veterans and retired football players finding purpose and satisfaction after the uniforms come off.

Films in the Naples International Film Festival’s competition categories will be vying for more than $10,000 in prizes, including the Audience Awards for Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary Feature and Best Short as well as the Focus on the Arts Award, given to a Narrative or Documentary film with an emphasis on one or more of the visual or performing arts. For the fourth consecutive year, there will also be juried awards in the Narrative and Documentary features categories.

The Narrative Features Juried Competition slate includes the Florida Premiere of Alex Lehman’s Acidman, about a young woman who tracks down her reclusive UFO-obsessed father to share some news with him that may shake him out of his rut. Brett Wagner’s The Big Bend will also make its Florida premiere at NIFF. The film focuses on two families who come together for a highly fraught reunion in the remote West Texas desert and will need to overcome a lot of history and drama in order to survive the experience. Anna Baumgarten’s Disfluency has won several awards on the film festival circuit. The film follows a promising scholar who returns home without graduating as she deals with the PTSD resulting from the incident that sent her spiraling.

Three Florida premieres make up NIFF’s Documentary Features Juried Competition, including Alysa Nahmias’ Art & Krimes by Krimes. The film chronicles the mind-boggling six-year-long process that artist Jesse Krimes secretly went through while incarcerated to create his art, smuggling out mural panels from prison, piece-by-piece, with the help of fellow artists. Husband and wife filmmakers Amy Bandlien Storkel and Bryan Storkel’s The Pez Outlaw offers an entertaining look at a man who spent a decade during the 90s making millions by smuggling Pez dispensers into the country from Eastern Europe—until his archrival decided to destroy him. Allison Otto’s The Thief Collector looks at one of the most infamous art heists on record: the theft of Willem de Kooning’s Woman-Ochre. Stolen in 1985, the trail led to an unlikely place more than 30 years later.

Additional highlights among the festival’s narrative feature selections include Balbinka Korzeniowska’s Playing Through, which tells the story of Ann Gregory. Dubbed the Queen of Negro Golf, Gregory was the first woman of color to enter the USGA Women’s Amateur. Her match with Babs Whatling, a privileged white woman from the South, forever changed both them and the game itself. Johanna Putnam’s Shudderbugs will make its world premiere at NIFF. The film follows a woman’s pursuit of the mysteries that abound in her childhood home after her mother suddenly dies. Laura Lehmus’ Sweet Disaster recently won Best Narrative Film at the Lake Travis Film Festival. This German film follows a woman who, upon getting unexpectedly pregnant, is promptly left by the father of her child as he reunites with his ex. While she deals with serious health problems caused by the late pregnancy, she tries to get him back with the help of absurd, exaggerated and sometimes hilarious methods.

Additional documentary feature highlights include The Long Rider. Directed by another NIFF alumnus, Sean Cisterna, the film follows the near impossible—and at times beyond-harrowing—journey from Canada to South America by a man on horseback. Eric Bendick’s Path of the Panther focuses on a photographer who finds himself on the front lines of the destructive forces that threaten the total collapse of the Florida Everglades. Martin Shore’s Take Me to the River New Orleans celebrates the rich musical history, the heritage, legacy, culture and influence of New Orleans and Louisiana. The film will make its Florida premiere at NIFF.

The Naples International Film Festival’s themes for the curated short film programs include Passion for the Arts,The World Around Us, Lessons Learned, A Sense of Place, Risks and Rewards, Point of View and the Student Filmmaker Showcase. NIFF’s Filmmaker Panels hosted by Elaine Newton will include Florida in Focus: Filmmaking in the Sunshine State (Friday, October 28). In this panel, Newton discuss making movies in the Sunshine State with industry experts and some of our visiting filmmakers. On Saturday, October 29, Newton will host Adventures in Filmmaking in which some of our visiting filmmakers will share their candid and comical behind-the-scenes stories of what it really takes to make a movie.

Tickets for all screenings and activities at Silverspot Cinema and Daniels Pavilion go on sale September 30. Tickets for the Opening Night Film and Party, the Closing Night Awards Ceremony, Film and Wrap Party and Jurassic Park in Concert are currently on sale. For more information, visit

We extend our deep gratitude to Festival Presenting Sponsors Dr. Richard Lublin and Christine Stahl Lublin. Generous support is also provided by the Collier County Tourist Development Council.

Sincere thanks to Opening Night Film and Party Sponsors Roger and Kathy Marino, Closing Night Event Sponsors Rick and Gayle Landuyt, Filmmaker Lounge Sponsors Stan and Sarann Kraushaar, and Theater Sponsors Damien M. Drab Sr., Bobbi and David Drobis, Vincent and Debra Maffeo and Entech. We are pleased to partner with Gulfshore Life and Naples Dailey News as our exclusive Media Sponsors.
The 2022 Naples International Film Festival (NIFF) Official Selections:



Butterfly in the Sky                                                                                       Florida Premiere
Directors: Bradford Thomason, Brett Whitcomb
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 86 minutes
Butterfly in the Sky tells the story of the beloved PBS children’s series Reading Rainbow, its iconic host LeVar Burton, and the challenges its creators faced in cultivating a love of reading through television.


Jurassic Park (1993)
Director: Steven Spielberg
Country: U.S., Running Time: 127 min
A pragmatic paleontologist touring an almost-complete theme park on an island in Central America is tasked with protecting a couple of kids after a power failure allows the park’s cloned dinosaurs to run loose.


Acidman                                                                                                         Florida Premiere
Director: Alex Lehmann
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 90 minutes
Maggie tracks down her estranged and reclusive father, Lloyd (Thomas Haden Church), who lives in the middle of nowhere searching for UFOs—an obsession that has taken over his life. Struggling to accept who her father has become, Maggie searches for a new way to connect with her dad so she can share a life-changing secret of her own with him.

The Big Bend                                                                                                Florida Premiere
Director: Brett Wagner
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 104 minutes
Two families meet for a long overdue reunion in the remote West Texas desert, and events quickly don’t go as planned. Harboring secrets and facing private crises, they explore one of the wildest places in America, testing the boundaries of marriage, friendship, and parenthood—and doing their best to survive the experience.

Director: Anna Baumgarten
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 93 minutes
After failing her final college class, Jane returns home to her family’s lake house and comes to terms with the confusing drama that derailed her senior year.

Dear Zoe                                                                                                        Florida Premiere
Director: Gren Wells
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 94 minutes
A powerful coming-of-age story of love, loss, grief and resilience in which teenage Tess enlists the support of her biological father—a lovable slacker—and the charming juvenile delinquent next door in the aftermath of the death of her little sister, Zoe.

Food and Romance
Director: Annika Appelin
Country: Sweden; Running Time: 102 minutes
A sudden change forces Karin to reevaluate her life. With the help of friends, food and passion, she refuses to accept that life has an expiration date and takes the second chance she is given.

The Forger                                                                                                     Florida Premiere
Director: Maggie Peren
Country: Germany; Running Time: 116 minutes
Based on a true story of bravery in the face of evil, The Forger stars Louis Hofmann (Netflix’s Dark) as an audacious young man who poses as a marine officer and forges documents to help fellow Jews escape Nazi Germany.

Hard Shell, Soft Shell
Director: Emma Benestan
Countries: France/Algeria; Running Time: 100 minutes
Loved-up oyster farmer Az thinks he’s made it. But when an elaborate proposal goes awry and his girlfriend Jess breaks his heart, Az is forced to confront his understanding of what happiness really looks like—both hers and his own.

Director: Marvin Samel
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 102 minutes
Sean Astin stars as Marvin is an ambitious cigar maker trying to support his own family while still being there for his aging parents, Mordecai (Judd Hirsch) and Fela (Carol Kane). When Mordecai’s ancient flip phone breaks, he starts to take lessons on his new iPhone, opening him up to all kinds of novel experiences and adventures, making him feel like a kid again.

Director: Nate Boyer
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 112 minutes
Based on a true story of combat veterans and former pro athletes finding purpose and identity after the uniform comes off.

Playing Through
Director: Balbinka Korzeniowska
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 91 minutes
Late in her career, Ann Gregory, dubbed the Queen of Negro Golf, finds the courage to be the first woman of color to enter the USGA Women’s Amateur. She collides with Babs Whatling, a privileged white woman from the South who is searching for her own identity. This highly publicized match forever changes both them and the game.

Róise & Frank                                                                                               Florida Premiere
Directors: Rachael Moriarty, Peter Murphy
Country: Ireland; Running Time: 84 minutes
It has been two years since Róise lost the love of her life: her husband, Frank. She is now isolated in grief, cut off from family and community. The arrival of a mysterious dog, who seems intent on connecting with Róise, heralds huge change… but is it for the better?

Shudderbugs                                                                                                World Premiere
Director: Johanna Putnam
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 106 minutes
Samantha Cole returns to her childhood home when her mother suddenly passes. In place of familiar spaces and memories, Sam finds only uneasiness and confusion. Things are missing, the environment seems unnatural and the neighbor, Noah, who discovered her mom’s body is suspiciously obtuse. Isolated with these mysteries, Sam wrestles with her sanity and certainties.

Sweet Disaster
Director: Laura Lehmus
Country: Germany; Running Time: 92 minutes
Frida unexpectedly falls pregnant, and Felix, the father of her child, breaks up with her to reunite with his ex. Although some serious health problems caused by the late pregnancy force Frida to rest, she still tries to get Felix back, using methods that are absurd, exaggerated and sometimes hilarious.


Art & Krimes by Krimes                                                                               Florida Premiere
Director: Alysa Nahmias
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 84 minutes
While locked up for six years in federal prison, artist Jesse Krimes secretly creates monumental works of art—including an astonishing 30-foot mural made with prison bed sheets, hair gel and newspaper. He smuggles out each panel, piece-by-piece, with the help of fellow artists, only seeing the mural in totality upon coming home.

The Pez Outlaw                                                                                             Florida Premiere
Directors: Amy Bandlien Storkel, Bryan Storkel
Country: U.S./Austria; Running Time: 87 minutes
In the 1990s, Pez dispensers were worth more, gram for gram, than cocaine or even gold. Steve Glew, from rural Michigan, spent 10 years smuggling Pez dispensers into the U.S. from Eastern Europe, making millions of dollars. It was all magical until it wasn’t when his archnemesis, the Pezident, decided to destroy him.

The Thief Collector                                                                                       Florida Premiere
Director: Allison Otto
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 89 minutes
In 1985, Willem de Kooning’s Woman-Ochre, one of the most valuable paintings of the 20th century, was cut from its frame at the University of Arizona Museum of Art. More than 32 years later, the painting is rediscovered in the unlikeliest of places. The Thief Collector unravels the layers of this infamous heist.

Director: David Petersen
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 87 minutes
Lift shines a spotlight on the invisible story of homelessness in America through the eyes of a group of young home-insecure ballet dancers in New York City and the mentor who inspires them.

The Long Rider
Director: Sean Cisterna
Country: Canada; Running Time: 96 minutes
When Filipe Leite leaves his adoptive home of Canada, the aspiring journalist embarks on an epic quest to ride the length of the Americas from north to south—entirely on horseback—to return to home his family in South America.

Path of the Panther
Director: Eric Bendick
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 89 minutes
Drawn in by the haunting specter of the Florida panther, a photographer finds himself on the front lines of an accelerating battle between forces of renewal and destruction that have pushed the Everglades to the brink of ecological collapse.

Still Working 9 to 5                                                                                       Florida Premiere
Directors: Camille Hardman, Gary Lane
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 91 minutes
Still Working 9 to 5 explores what has and hasn’t changed for women over the last 40 years since the release of the hilarious 1980 workplace comedy 9 to 5.
Take Me to the River New Orleans                                                             Florida Premiere
Director: Martin Shore
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 115 minutes
Take Me to the River New Orleans celebrates the rich musical history, the heritage, legacy, culture and influence of New Orleans and Louisiana. A true collaboration and melting pot of influences from around the world.


Chihuly: Roll the Dice                                                                                  East Coast Premiere
Director: Peter West
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 27 minutes
World-renowned artist Dale Chihuly pursues an idea that will push glass to its physical limits.

Conducting Life
Director: Diane Moore
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 31 minutes
The remarkable journey of Roderick Cox as he pursues his dream: To secure a top conducting position with a major orchestra.

Identity: The Andrew Nemr Story                                                               Florida Premiere
Director: Jon Cipiti
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 23 minutes
Follow international tap dance artist Andrew Nemr on his unique journey.

A Very Fragile Thing                                                                                    Florida Premiere
Directors: Selah Eshetu, Ryan De Franco
Country: Ethiopia/U.S.; Running Time: 14 minutes
A first-person journey into the collapse of democracy and the rise of a civil war that has claimed the lives of half a million Ethiopians since 2020.

The Bathtub
Director: Sergi Marti
Country: Spain; Running Time: 19 minutes
A man is taking a bath when his cell phone suddenly rings. On the other side of the line is Clara, a girl who insistently tries to sell him a life insurance policy that will change his life.

Mamma                                                                                                          Florida Premiere
Director: Aslak Danbold
Country: Norway; Running Time: 15 minutes
On Christmas Eve, a mother searches for her drug-addicted daughter in a desolate cityscape.

Director: Feifei Zhong
Country: China; Running Time: 14 minutes
A woman struggles between her career and family after finding her unexpected pregnancy.

Rodrigue in Love                                                                                          U.S. Premiere
Director: Johann Dionnet
Country: France; Running Time: 24 minutes
During the Avignon Festival, one of the most important theater festivals in the world, a comedic actor tries to seduce a beautiful dramatic actress by pretending to play Rodrigue in Le Cid.

Black Slide
Director: Uri Lotan
Country: Israel/U.K.; Running Time: 11 minutes
A young and timid kid learns a helpful life lesson on the scariest ride at the water park.

Cycle Vérité                                                                                                   Florida Premiere
Director: Adam J. Graves
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 15 minutes
When Don sets out to recover his stolen bicycle, he finds himself drawn into a cycle of truth and deception and is forced to reconsider the meaning of forgiveness.

Frank & Emmett
Director: Carlos F. Puertolas
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 13 minutes
Two lifelong friends finally have a much-needed conversation about the only thing they’ve never talked about: One of them is a puppet.

Make Your Soul Grow                                                                                  Florida Premiere
Director: KC Connolly
Country: Ireland; Running Time: 13 minutes
The true story of Kurt Vonnegut’s final letter of inspiration.

Melons                                                                                                           Florida Premiere
Director: Matt MacDonald
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 15 minutes
A jolly but meek grocery store manager must learn to stand up for himself after a misunderstanding brands him as public enemy No. 1.

The Interview                                                                                                 Florida Premiere
Director: Inga Moren Tapias
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 9 minutes
An interview between two women at opposite ends of their careers turns into a therapy session… but who is interviewing whom?

An Irish Goodbye                                                                                         Florida Premiere
Directors: Tom Berkeley, Ross White
Country: Ireland; Running Time: 23 minutes
In rural Northern Ireland, a pair of estranged brothers reunite following the untimely death of their mother.

The Desert King                                                                                            East Coast Premiere
Director: Lev Mergian
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 16 minutes
A young woman hikes into the quirky kingdom of an eccentric recluse and joins him on his adventures.

Ousmane                                                                                                       Florida Premiere
Director: Jorge Camarotti
Country: Canada; Running Time: 25 minutes
A newly arrived immigrant in Montreal faces a challenging situation when he meets an elderly disoriented lady at the end of his workday.

Out of Tune                                                                                                   Florida Premiere
Director: Portlynn Tagavi
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 15 minutes
Stigmatized since childhood by her love of the rock band Journey, Maya finds her voice in a world where she doesn’t feel “Black enough.”

Heart Land                                                                                                     Florida Premiere
Director: Lauren Ciaravalli
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 12 minutes
When a cynical New Yorker gets stuck on a layover in Kansas, she finds a romantic spark where she least expects it—a “red” state.

Director: Christopher Boulton
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 7 minutes
A builder/designer couple traces the lineage of a mysterious object.

The Right Words                                                                                           Florida Premiere
Director: Adrian Moyse Dullin
Country: France; Running Time: 15 minutes
A sibling rivalry spills over from social media into real life when 15-year-old Kenza pressures her little brother, Madhi, to profess his love to a crush.

Shark                                                                                                              Florida Premiere
Director: Nash Edgerton
Country: Australia; Running Time: 14 minutes
A lifelong prankster may have finally met his match in his latest relationship.

Director: William Pisciotta
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 18 minutes
A closeted woman cleaning pools in South Florida is met with a risky opportunity to change her lot in life.

Volley                                                                                                             Florida Premiere
Director: Oliver DeFilippo
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 15 minutes
A casual game of tennis between friends becomes an awakening to the relationships and the lives they take for granted.

Babatoura                                                                                                      Florida Premiere
Director: Guillaume Collin
Country: Canada; Running Time: 11 minutes
Comfort food for uncomfortable times.

Bendix: Site Unseen                                                                                     Florida Premiere
Director: Anthony Scalia
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 26 minutes
A documentary about a blind waiter and single father who overcomes his disability in order to provide for his family.

Director: Pedro Blanco-Uribe
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 8 minutes
To be, or not to be: A young man reflects on his desire to take revenge on the world through a terrorist attack.

Mr. Spam Gets a New Hat                                                                            Florida Premiere
Director: William Joyce
Country: U.K.; Running Time: 14 minutes
When a man with a head full of dreams is beaten down by the foreman in the factory where he works, a woman in a polka-dot dress brings meaning, love and dreams back into his life.

The Status Quo                                                                                             U.S. Premiere
Director: Marie-Pier Diamond
Country: Canada; Running Time: 19 minutes
In the near future, humanity does not challenge the status quo anymore—until a man opposes it and seeks the truth behind an apathetic society.

Agent Stout (K-12)
Director: Joshua Vennetti
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 10 minutes
Secret agent Stout races to disarm a bombas the clock counts down to annihilation.

Café Drawing (College)
Director: Junrong Zhang
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 2 minutes
A sketch character in a sketchbook tries to save herself from a splash of coffee when the artist leaves for a while.

Funeral Fever (College)                                                                                Florida Premiere
Director: Janicel Diaz
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 4 minutes
A young woman begins planning her perfect funeral after receiving a psychic reading.

Gone (K-12)                                                                                                   Florida Premiere
Director: Kyle Ward
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 4 minutes
As development encroaches on a farming community, they struggle with the loss of their heritage and land.

Hardcore (K-12)                                                                                             East Coast Premiere
Director: Madeleine Case
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 10 minutes
When a young photographer falls in love with a drummer, she finds herself suspended between life, death, and motherhood.

The Letter (K-12)                                                                                           Florida Premiere
Director: Cameran Ford
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 2 minutes
A young woman experiences the perils of waiting until the last minute to pop the prom question.

Life with Coffee (College)
Director: Sohee Jeon
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 5 minutes
A Yemeni refugee sheltering in the U.S. finds his identity as a merchant selling coffee from his homeland.

My Cat Lucy (College)
Director: Kate Vaillant
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 2 minutes
A boy is convinced that his beloved pet cat is possessed by a demon.

Reaper (K-12)                                                                                                Florida Premiere
Director: Eva Ulreich
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 4 minutes
The Grim Reaper attempts to claim a lost soul.

Space Race (College)
Director: Shane Dioneda
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 5 minutes
Two competing astronauts race to claim the moon for themselves.

Swept Away (K-12)                                                                                       Florida Premiere
Director: Braden Webb
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 5 minutes
A man turns into his biggest fear.

The Trip (College)
Director: Alyssa Archard
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 11 minutes
Stuck in a world she can’t escape, Jesse must confront the forces in power or live in an eternal loop under someone else’s control.

Vilomah (College)                                                                                          World Premiere
Director: Tom Ingwersen
Country: U.S.; Running Time: 10 minutes
A mother celebrates her deceased daughter’s birthday… until her husband comes home.

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