Key West Film Festival is a cinephile’s delight

Movies for Key West Film Festival.

As the saying goes, “If you build it, they will come.” Local native and filmmaker Quincy Perkins is experiencing this firsthand as the director of development with The Key West Film Festival. Key West is fast becoming a mecca of the arts whether it’s music, literature or now film. This November will be the sixth annual Key West Film Festival, “Passion meets Paradise,” and the organization is gaining recognition both locally and nationally.

Now in his third year with the festival, Perkins admits, “We didn’t have the best relationship with the locals at first, and I don’t think our ideas came across those first couple of years. Now we are so inclusive, we want everyone’s input and everyone to enjoy it.” Last year, residents certainly took notice when Burt Reynolds walked on the stage at the San Carlos, so expect more A-list celebrity appearances in the future (Hint: Oscar A-list if all goes well). Perkins, who has worked with the Toronto and Sundance film festivals, is a creative force in the industry, implementing different ideas with Key West’s festival.

“We decided to attract the critics first (Los Angeles Times’ Kenneth Turan, Rolling Stone’s David Fear and MTV’s Amy Nicholson will be attending) and that draws the publicists and big studio productions,” he said. “Films can be made or broken by one article.” Drawing top-tier movies is one goal, but another is to bring Key West, Perkins’ own hometown, amazing entertainment.

The festival opens with a family-friendly swashbuckling pirate movie at the amphitheater. A three-man orchestra will play 20 instruments narrating Douglas Fairbanks’ silent movie “The Black Pirate,” a first for Key West. Also, during the festival, movies will be projected on Key West buildings throughout Old Town purely for fun. The Festival itself will play over 35 features films and 50 shorts at The Key West Theater, The Studios Of Key West, the San Carlos, and the Tropic Cinema (which pulled out of previous years but is happy to be involved again).

The festival now is now playing films year-round and membership is up for grabs – and the swag bag is a cinephile’s delight. Seven types of membership offer anywhere from discounted tickets, free tickets to free advertising, VIP exclusives and front row to just about everything. The festival has started “pop up events” and is bringing one major movie a month. This month, San Francisco, Sundance and Seattle Festival winner “Dolores” will be playing at the Key West Theater. The actual Key West Film Festival will take place November 15-19. See for details and membership.

And just to tease, Perkins is also working on a Key West Photography Festival for February.



This documentary tells the story of Dolores Huerta, whose activist life, fighting for racial and labor justice, traces back to work alongside Cesar Chavez. “‘Dolores’ is one of the hardest films to get right now – so it shows we are in this caliber now,” said Quincy Perkins about Key West Film Festival’s pop-up event.

Monday, Aug. 28, 8 p.m.

Key West Theater

Hays Blinckmann is an oil painter, author of the novel “In The Salt,” lover of all things German including husband, children and Bundesliga. She spends her free time developing a font for sarcasm, testing foreign wines and failing miserably at home cooking.