A Filmmaker’s Journal

Tree Hugging in Florida

Notzilla posterWe 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.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Humor, Memoir, Movies and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

67 Responses to A Filmmaker’s Journal

  1. Wow – you won a whole table full of prizes: Good work!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. barbara runck says:

    Oh Mitch! congratulations on your success! So very proud of you! It looks like you had a great trip too. So sorry to have missed the possible celebration last night at our writer,s meeting or were you even back yet?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Teressa says:


    Liked by 2 people

  4. atimetoshare.me says:

    You are a rock star, Mitch 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  5. theburningheart says:

    Best Feature Film, along with Best Actress for our leading lady Tifani Ahrens Davis!

    Pretty good, keep the good work. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Kathleen Ellerman says:

    Congrats on the awards for our favorite monster, Notzilla! Envious of the chance to walk in the sand!😎🌴🌴

    Liked by 1 person

  7. boromax says:


    Liked by 1 person

  8. JOY journal says:

    Congrats, Mitch and Mrs. Mitch!!! What a nice perk location, too. We, too, are trapped in endless gray drizzle. But, spring is coming.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Mark Brady says:

    Congratulations Mitch. I’m so excited for you, and I can’t wait to see Notzilla at a theater near me! You have worked so hard on your dream, with patients and passion. Now enjoy your success. Could this just be the precursor for, “and the Oscar goes to…”?

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Cindy Dawson says:

    Congrats, Mitch! Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Congratulations, Mitch! Nice timing, too, leaving the big reveal for the end!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Awww is not the first thing I think when I spot a Man of War, but they are strangely pretty. Congrats on your great success!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Precious One says:

    Yeah!!! Congrats Mr. Bigshot Filmmaker 👏🏽👏🏽 May the Lord continue to prosper your endeavors and give you success.
    By the way, I think you and your walking partner should consider dating 😂😉

    Liked by 1 person

  14. So much celebrate! Congratulations Mitch. I love good news. Your photos and description brings me to Boca in my imagination. Thank you for sharing your sunshine! 🙏☀️

    Liked by 1 person

  15. delphini510 says:

    Congratultions Mitch, brilliant work. So much interesting info and beautiful pictures.
    You and Trudy look so good together. 🌼.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Alien Resort says:

    The film festival sounds like a great time. Congratulations on the awards.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Heidi Viars says:

    Congrats, Mitch!!!! … and thank for sharing part of your travel journal with us… who car staying back in the cold (how about packing a little guilt in that luggage 🤣)

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Heidi Viars says:

    Congrats, Mitch!!!! … and thank for sharing part of your travel journal with us… who car staying back in the cold (how about packing a little guilt in that luggage 🤣)

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Congrats Mitch, nice trip, nice recognition, nice Pics. Now if you can get the Reds going and start some KRP reruns perhaps your town can get back on the map. Let’s bring Les Nessman back! Safe travels my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Cheryl Schaeffner says:

    CONGRATULATIONS MITCH! I can hardly wait to see the movie! Thanks for the photos of your trip. Loved being reminded of the beauty of Florida where Jim and I spent so much time. You and Trudy are a sweet couple, clearly still very much in love. 🙂 Have a love filled Valentine’s Day.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. So happy for you and Congratulations! Looks like it was a great trip!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Congratulations, Mitch! Can’t wait to see the movie – soon, I hope!
    (“Tourist Tree,” lol.)

    Liked by 1 person

    Best Feature Film and Best Actress?! YAAAAAAAAY!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Congratulations! Awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Looked like a great trip, and fruitful as well. We missed you at the Oscars. Next year.
    Miami is great in the winter.
    Good job.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Congrats on the awards for *Notzilla* (and on making FL appeal to an old Yankee who can’t stand heat and humidity).  The final note about the Oscars is good fun also.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Congratulations on the award and the good time

    Liked by 1 person

  28. carhicks says:

    Congratulations Mitch! Sounds like a great mini-vacation with all the trimmings.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. cazehner says:

    Woo Hoo!!! Congratulations! I’m looking forward to watching your prize-winning movie. And yes, I agree you should date her. She sounds like a keeper! 🙂 God’s continued blessings, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Nancy Ruegg says:

    Kudos, Mitch and team! WELL DONE! However, I’m not the least bit surprised. You always produce stellar work! P.S. Loved the FL photos–what a perfect spot for a winter film festival!

    Liked by 1 person

  31. shobhna says:


    Liked by 1 person

  32. alishaliker says:

    That’ great. Glad i found your blog’s. Very interesting life you got. God bless!!


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