Florida has some 1,200 miles of coastline, and about 60 of those miles on the state's eastern shore are known as the Treasure Coast. Spanish treasure ships had a habit of crashing there back in the 1700s, hence the nickname. Now the people of St. Lucie County, a sunny spot on the Treasure Coast, hope to strike gold themselves with the first Treasure Coast International Film Festival, to be held Feb. 1-3.

The fest is the work of the St. Lucie Film Society, which just formed in March but has already been very active in sponsoring screenings and producing a film about early-20th-century novelist Zora Neale Hurston (author of Oprah-approved Their Eyes Were Watching God). The group has issued a formal call for entries, offering this basic mission statement:

"The Treasure Coast International Film Festival's mission is to shine the spotlight on the sun-kissed Treasure Coast film industry. Brain child of the St. Lucie Film Society and dream of the Treasure Coast community, the Treasure Coast International Film Festival will showcase independent films in a variety of venues on the Treasure Coast."

Apart from using the phrase "Treasure Coast" five times in just 54 words, that mission statement seems ordinary enough. They're seeking narrative films, documentaries, features, and shorts from independent filmmakers everywhere.

For many filmmakers, small, new fests like this one are a great way to get your foot in the door. Sure, a few first-timers manage to get accepted at Sundance or Toronto -- but not many. The vast majority start out at smaller festivals and build buzz that way. So if you've been sitting on the film you've made, trying to figure out where to get it screened, a trip to the Treasure Coast in February might be just the thing.
categories Cinematical