The 5th Annual Wellington Film Festival

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The 5th Annual Wellington Film Festival

An Interview with Festival Director Jean Michel Millien

By Krista Martinelli

With the Wellington Film Festival coming up November 5-7 and November 12-14, I had the opportunity to sit down with Film Festival Director Jean Michel Millien.  With 35 films and 12 hours of programming, Millien has quite an offering of independent films this year, the 5th year of the Wellington Film Festival.

“It’s diverse from the standpoint of different genres of film.  Also we received films from a 9th grader at Wellington High School, a film student from Brooklyn, NY and several others – both students and experienced film makers.  We have films that bring to light the issue of violence against women in a few of the films this year.  In addition to local entries, the festival has managed to be quite international.  We have had entries from many far-away places including Germany, Iran, U.K., Australia and Syria.”  He also says that the festival is diverse in the help he’s received and he’s very thankful for that support. 

According to Millien, some of the highlights include a film called “Irumbu,” a Title Nine story and a film called “April 10th.”  the fact that there are so many new people coming in, the excitement that builds around that.  He says, “Irumbu reminds me of Slum Dog Millionaire in the way that it’s raw, but it also introduces us to people who are trying to find fairness for women in their indigenous society.  It’s all about opposing the mistreatment of women.”

With three sisters, Millien considers himself a feminist.  “Anything that furthers the cause of women, I’m all for it.”  He also points out that a film about Title Nine is very enlightening.

And the film April 10th is “an amazing film about a little girl who’s taking care of a neighbor who has Covid. Without really any words, it’s such a nice expression of love.” 

In addition there are a few films dealing with suicide prevention and the ability to help those in need with a simple phone call.  “We are our brothers’ keepers.  There’s so much good we can do,” says Millien.  One particular film on this subject is called “The Call for Help” by 9th grade Wellington High School film maker Ellie Symons. 

Another local highlight is “The Blob Blob Fish: A Journey Through Obesity” by Wellington film director Andrew Mossop, featuring the wellness work of local doctors Dr. Vincent Apicella and Dr. Mariaclara Bago and their work with three patients.

On a lighter note, there’s a film about stickball in Wellington, “The Wycliffe Stiffs” by film maker Monica Kallas.  These self-proclaimed “geezer jocks” have an amazing camaraderie as they play their childhood sport. 

The film festival has a couple of well-known honorary judges, who might not necessarily be on the premises of the festival but are rating the films from afar.  One is Edwidge Danticat, best-selling author and Haitian-American novelist.  The other is comedian and actor Sarah J. Halstead. 

The shortest film is 41 seconds, titled “Again and Again.”  The longest films are Irumbu (from India) and Map of Latin American (from Argentina), both about 90 minutes, so feature length films.

At least 5 of the 35 films are produced by students. 

A ticket for one night of the film festival is just $6.  “I’d like children to be able to take out their parents,” says Millien.  A pass for the whole 6 nights of the festival is $30. 

Millien says they are planning two different Meet and Greet events for the film makers, the first night at the Movies of Lake Worth and the first night at the Movies at Wellington. 

Additionally, there will be two awards ceremonies, one each weekend. 

I asked why he chose Wellington for the film festival. 

“It’s very diverse.  It seems like it is a natural for it to exist.  So many different families here from different nations.  Each with a distinct and different story, all pulling together to make this a great place.”

I was surprised to find that Jean Michel Millien is a great fan of films, but not a film maker himself.  He laughs, “My background in film is just sitting in the audience appreciating it and being bedazzled by the many talents of writers, directors and film makers.” 

Millien is a Palm Beach Lakes High School science teacher.  The whole idea for a film festival originally came from a desire for his students to use their cell phones for something productive, instead of hiding them under their desks. 

In the upcoming years, he would like students to take a more active role as content providers and really express themselves through film. 

“I’m very thankful to all who helped us this year, including SharpShooter Marketing Group, AroundWellington.com, our major sponsors Mark & Son Construction and Trustbridge and sponsors Premier Family Health and Fix It Pros.” 

See below for the schedule of films.

For more information about the event, call (561) 250-2764 or visit WellingtonFilmFestival.com. 

Wellington Film Festival Schedule of Films*

FRIDAY NOV. 5th 7:30PM

  • Movies of Lake Worth
  • 7:40PM    The Wycliffe Stiffs                       USA (FL)          8 min 37 sec
  • 7:50PM     The Page Turner                        Germany        2 min 11 sec 
  • 7:53PM    The Right Words                         USA (FL)         4 min 55 sec 
  • 7:58PM    On the Sidelines                          USA (FL)         8 min 04 sec 
  • 8:06PM    Transformation                           AUS                1 min 57 sec 
  • 8:10PM    Story of the G.O.T.S. Seed         Belgium          7 min 01 sec 
  • 8:17PM    Heroes for Change  MSD           USA (FL)          3 min 07 sec 
  • 8:20PM    The Call for Help                         USA (FL)           2 min 34 sec 
  • 8:25PM    Blob Blob Fish                              USA (FL)   1 h 12 Feature Film 

SATURDAY NOV. 6th 7:30PM 

Movies at Wellington

  • Breadfight (anim. student)                          USA (ID)        3 min 40 sec
  • Breakfast in Northport    (doc)                    USA (FL)        2 min 21 sec
  • Brave by Edris (music)                                  CAN (BC)       5 min 20 sec
  • Meaning of My Love (music video)              USA (FL)       3 min 40 sec
  • Rever – Nath Wilburm Director                     USA (CA)      2 min 30 sec
  • Turbulence – Nath Wilburm Director           USA (CA)      4 min 04 sec
  • April 10th                                                          USA/HAI       4 min 47 sec
  • The Wycliffe Stiffs                                             USA (FL)       8 min 37 sec
  • Forbidden to see us scream                           IRAN             7 min 57 sec
  • Yongoan Ballad (Musical)                                CHINA       15 min 08 sec
  • Lamont’s Lament                                              USA (NY)      4 min 13 sec

SUNDAY NOV. 7th 7:00PM 

Movies at Wellington

  • G-D Doesn’t Play Dice                                   FRANCE      13 min 31 sec 
  • Brave by Edris (music)                                  CAN (BC)        5 min 20 sec
  • Mustard Seed                                                USA (FL)        8 min 33 sec
  • Rotten Mangoes                                            USA (CA)      30 min 01 sec
  • Blob Blob Fish                                                USA (FL)   1h 12 min (feat.) 
  • Gus’s Diesel Garage Door Opener              USA (FL)         3 min 59 sec

FRIDAY NOV. 12th 7:00PM

Movies at Wellington

  • Breadfight (anim. student)                          USA (ID)       3 min 40 sec
  • Breakfast in Northport    (doc)                    USA (FL)       2 min 21 sec
  • Brave by Edris (music)                                  CAN (BC)     5 min 20 sec
  • Meaning of My Love (music video)             USA (FL)     3 min 40 sec
  • Rever – Nath Wilburm Director                   USA (CA)     2 min 30 sec
  • Turbulence – Nath Wilburm Director         USA (CA)     4 min 04 sec
  • April 10th                                                        USA/HAI     4 min 47 sec
  • The Page Turner                                            Germany       2 min 11 sec 
  • On the Sidelines                                             USA (FL)      8 min 04 sec
  • The Call for Help                                            USA (FL)      2 min 34 sec
  • Map of Latin America                                    Argentina 1H 30 Min 00 sec
     
     

SATURDAY NOV. 13th 8:00pm

Movies of Lake Worth

  • 8:00PM    Nights in Greenwich                                        1 min 37 sec
  • 8:02PM    Pieter Kohnstam: A Holocaust story             5 min 05 sec
  • 8:08PM    Colonia        (English subtitles)                        9 min 22 sec 
  • 8:18PM    Forbidden to See Us Scream in Tehran      17 min 57 sec 
  • 8:36PM    Maria                                                                   5 min 38 sec 
  • 8:42PM    April 10th                                                            4 min 47 sec
  • 8:47PM    G-D Doesn’t Play Dice                                      13 min 31 sec 
  • 9:00PM    Irumbu         (Full Feature Film)                         1 hour 20 min 17 sec 



SUNDAY NOV. 14th 7:00PM

Movies at Wellington

  • The Page Turner                             GERMANY               2 min 53 sec
  • Colonia        (English subtitles)        FRANCE                  9 min 22 sec 
  • Irumbu                                          INDIA                    1 H  20 min 40 sec
  • The Story of Cuba                           USA                         2 min 14 sec
  • The End                                         HUNGARY               1 min 31 sec
  • * Film Festival schedule subject to slight changes/ possible additions. Check back daily.