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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Starting today, filmmakers from all over the world will gather in Gainesville for the 11th annual FLEXfest.

FLEXfest, The Florida Experimental Film/Video Festival, is free and will start at 7 p.m. at the Wooly, 20 N. Main St., and will continue through Sunday. 

The festival was started in 2004 by UF professor Roger Beebe and is comprised of mostly students and volunteers.

FLEX is set up by volunteers, and “the venue exposes everything,” which sets the festival apart, said Alisson Bittiker, FLEX’s managing director. The experimental-film community has grown into something much larger than the estimated 200 entries in 2004.

With almost 900 entries, only 75 films and videos of various genres were chosen to compete and be shown over four days of screenings with two to three showtimes each day. 

With different themes such as cyber fiction Friday and blue Sunday, the films are meant to appeal to the audience’s different tastes. The connection between each theme may not seem obvious at first glance, but, “Once you put (the films and videos) together, you realize they fit on a deeper level,” Bittiker said.

The festival will include a Q&A portion with some of the filmmakers. Attendees can also attend a formal closing party held at the Palomino Pool Hall at 19 SE Second Place.

Lindsey Jones, a 23-year-old UF alumna and former president of FLEX’s UF student club, said the festival gives people the opportunity to be part of something different.

“The festival provides the chance to see works outside of your typical movie theater fare.”

[A version of this story ran on page 7 on 2/19/2015 under the headline “FLEXfest returns to Gainesville"]

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