Film Celebration Includes the Premiere of 'Dead by Friday'

The 16th Annual Valencia Film Celebration rolls out April 1-2 at 7:30 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center at Valencia College’s East Campus.

This year’s showcase of student-produced films features a variety of award-winning shorts as well as a preview of two full-length films, “Dead by Friday” and “Red Tide.”

Each year Valencia’s Film Celebration showcases feature-length and short subject films produced by film program students in collaboration with industry professionals.

In January, Valencia’s film program was cited among the nation’s “super six” of cinema education by International Cinematographers Guild (ICG) Magazine, along with Brigham Young University, Howard University, Ithaca College, Savannah College of Art and Design and the University of Kansas.

The celebration kicks off Friday, April 1 with the screening of short films and a television pilot called “Last Stop.” Following the shorts will be the feature film, “Dead by Friday,” which tells the story of four lifelong friends who are wannabe mobsters. When they finally get their chance at becoming made men, one small misstep turns their lives upside down and forces them into an impossible decision. The film stars Richard Hatch who is best remembered from the TV series “Battlestar Galactica”—both the original and the remake—and Justin Smith, a native Central Floridian who had a small role in “As the World Turns” in 2008 and more recently has had guest appearances in the TV series “Vampire Diaries” and “Drop Dead Diva.”

On Saturday, April 2, featured shorts will include a documentary about Central Care Mission, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program for homeless men, and “Star Knights,” a television pilot trailer. Next up is the dramatic feature, “Red Tide,” which follows the life of Alex Nikoladis, a man who returns home from prison to find that his older brother is involved in a life of drugs and lies. Alex faces several obstacles while discovering that his only hope for redemption is to rescue his brother and the family trade of sponge diving.

“Red Tide” is the project of UCF graduate film student Dino Gallina. Shot in Central Florida, the film stars Michele Feren (“The Glades,” “Burn Notice”) and introduces actor Adrian Mancinelli. Students and faculty from Valencia’s film program partnered with UCF film students to make the movie, providing sweat equity and film equipment for the low-budget film.

General admission tickets are $5 per evening. Area high school and college students are admitted for $3 with a valid school ID, and Valencia students, staff and faculty are admitted free.

This year the celebration features a VIP (Very Important Patron) Pass that includes reserved seating for two, plus Film Celebration T-shirts, popcorn and beverages. The pass is valid for both nights and costs $25. All proceeds will go to the Valencia Film Program to help fund independent films.

To purchase tickets by phone, contact the Performing Arts Center Box Office at 407-582-2900.  The East Campus Performing Arts Center is located at 701 North Econlockhatchee Trail in Orlando.

For further details, call the Film Production office at 407-582-2413. Trailers for the films can be viewed online at

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