In 2013 a group of citizens of Bonita Springs decided to organize a film festival designed to promote, not only film making in our area, but to raise awareness to the natural assets our City has to offer to its residents, and to visitors from all over the world. And so, the 1st Bonita Springs Film Festival was born, to promote and bring people to discover the beautiful Bonita Nature Place, on Kent Road. We invited filmmakers of all ages and expertise to go to the Bonita Nature Place and shoot a G-rated film between 5 and 15 minutes, throughout 2014.
Entries were screened to meet technical and general guidelines’ requirements as per our rules and regulations. We were expecting 5 or 6 films…we got 20. And so in November of 2014 we hosted a Red-Carpet Gala at the Prado Stadium 12 Theaters in Bonita Springs, which showcased the winning entries. It was a tremendous success, not just because we increased the walking traffic at the Bonita Nature Place 10-fold, but we also packed the Prado Stadium-12 theater with a full house of contestants, families and friends excited with the event. In fact, it was such a tremendous success that, at the request of the 200 plus people who filled the the theater, the support of our amazing community, and the excitement it generated, the small but valiant group of volunteers decided to give continuity to the project. We turned the Festival into an official short film festival, and established that the festival’s mission would be not only to showcase the beautiful in the City of Bonita Springs, but also to foster environmental education. In 2015 the theme was The “IMPERIAL RIVER”, in 2016 our pristine beaches were featured in “BONITA BEACHES”, and last year we re-discovered our City’s history with ‘HISTORIC BONITA’.
In 2018 we were pleasantly surprised with the creativity on display under ‘Bonita Loves’. This year the theme is “SECRETS OF BONITA” . We are asking film makers to use their imagination and tell a story about what secrets may be hidden in Bonita Springs. Maybe there was a great mystery that was never solved, a love story that was never told, waterways and parked waiting to be re-discovered, monsters lurking under the Gulf of Mexico or the Imperial river, a pirate’s treasure looking to be discovered, etc. Let your imagination be your guide. Just remember that a significant portion of your short film must be recorded in the City of Bonita Springs.
Through the magic of film making, storytelling, and the invaluable spirit of community awareness our City is famous for, the Bonita Springs Short Film Festival encourages film makers of all ages and levels of skill to explore our city’s wonders, and create beautiful film postcards for the whole world to see, and to ask themselves, What Secrets does Bonita have ?
And, as always, the Festival’s organization offers the tools, the know-how, and the one-on-one support everyone needs to make film magic. And year after year, the festival fills our community with joy, excitement, and an unparalleled pride which permeates throughout our community. Starting in July we’ll be offering monthly workshops to help you making your film come true. Look for dates and times on our social media.
Bonita Springs Film Festival Director