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Saturday, May 28, 2022


Andrew Kenneth Gay didn't want to be a father. He didn't get along with kids and figured if he and his wife, Angelyn, ever had children, they might be adopted.

So when his wife's stomachache became a pregnancy scare, Gay wasn't sure how to handle the looming possibility.

It turned out to be just a scare. But it was also a seminal moment in Gay's life: It set the stage for his feature film, "A Beautiful Belly."

"The film is very personal," he said. "It started as a very different idea."

The 92-minute film will be featured along with a slew of other screenings premiering at the 20th annual Florida Film Festival. The festival takes place in Central Florida - including Maitland, Winter Garden and Winter Park - from April 8 to April 17.

Gay, a University of Central Florida and Flagler College alum, chose "A Beautiful Belly" as the creative thesis for his MFA. The fact his creation will be unveiled in Florida syncs with his experiences in the state.

"I consider myself a Florida filmmaker," said Gay, who has spent the majority of his life in the Sunshine State. "I've sort of grown up as a filmmaker with the Florida Film Festival."

Even though much of the film takes place in a bare house that was repainted and furnished, he said it has a Florida feel.

He cited how location shooting racks up the budget.

"We had to beg, borrow and steal to get it made," he said.

While he admitted it would be nice for the movie to become a sleeper hit or receive accolades, all Gay really wants is for someone with resources to see the movie and take a chance on his making another movie.

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Having spent four years on this project, he's ready to move onto something else.

One of the most noticeable films at this year's Florida Film Festival is the opening night feature, "Project Nim." Directed by Academy-Award winner James Marsh, Project Nim follows a chimpanzee in the 1970s that was raised and nurtured like a human child to communicate through sign language.

Tickets are available for film, film and food, or party packages, and may be purchased online or in person at the Enzian theater at 1300 S. Orlando Ave.

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