Tree Hugging in Florida
We aren’t snowbirds; my wife and I like the four seasons. But when our executive producer offered a trip to the Florida Comedy Film Festival for the screening of our movie Notzilla, we jumped (well, flew, actually).
We left just as a slushy mix of rain and snow was moving into Cincinnati.
It was as if we’d flown to June. With temps in the 80s, we walked barefoot in the surf near Boca Raton (the festival site), stepping over little plastic bags full of blue goo—which turned out to be baby Portuguese Man-O-War jellyfish. I know, you’re thinking, “Awww, what could be cuter,” right?
The next day we toured a spectacular Italian villa with native Floridian flair (coral stone, seahorses), and then walked along Miami Beach’s iconic Art Deco oceanfront. Have I mentioned we love long walks together? Maybe we should consider dating.
Day three brought an unseasonal downpour. No worries: we were tucked into the Willow Theater for a barrage of comedies, long and short, from multiple countries, ending with Notzilla. Practically everyone present was a New York transplant, and our little monster comedy was right up their Big Apple alley.
Day four, between screenings, we squeezed in a visit to the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, named for a native tree, also sometimes called “the Tourist Tree,” due to its peeling red bark. Besides Gumbo Limbo trees, we saw Strangler Figs, named for their habit of hugging other trees to death, especially palm trees. Hey, love hurts. On the other hand, the far-ranging stranglers provide homes for whole colonies of other exotic flora and fauna.
Along with lush forest and beach vistas and a teeming butterfly garden, the Nature Center provides loving rehab for sea turtles of all shapes and sizes. We couldn’t help but choke up at the care given these magnificent creatures.
Day five brought a final round of screenings, followed by the Awards Gala. After dozens of gem-themed awards were handed out (diamond, ruby, emerald), we figured we’d be lucky to win Cubic Zirconium. Instead, we had to settle for Best Feature Film, along with Best Actress for our leading lady Tifani Ahrens Davis!
We topped off the evening by watching a similar but less important event on television called the “Oscars,” presumably named for some native California tree.