Do This: Bradenton's new Skyway Film Festival

Up-and-coming directors, a Walt Disney biopic and a kooky rom-com starring Mad Men's Allison Brie highlight the four-day event.

The Skyway Film Festival is a new Bradenton-based film festival with a focus on storytelling along with showcasing the craft of filmmaking and advocating the work of filmmakers, screenwriters and other artists in the medium.

Joe Restaino, known for his work with the Gasparilla International Film Festival and other local film industry coups, is in charge of the inaugural movie happening.

The four-day event offers workshops, visiting filmmakers and industry artists at the Manatee Performing Arts Center, 302 W. Third St. Click here for the fest schedule.

Two promising films by young new directors bookend the fest. It all kicks off Thursday night with the world premiere of Walt Before Mickey, directed by  Khoa Le in his first major feature. 

The film stars another largely unknown, breakout actor, Thomas Ian Nicholas along with Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite), David Henrie and Jodie Sweetin. It chronicles the life of Walt Disney from his childhood in Missouri to his career as an animator, based on the book by Timothy S. Susanna.

Skyway's closing night on Sunday  features the Florida premiere of No Stranger to Love. The offbeat, surreal comedy takes viewers on a rendezvous between lovable Lucy Sherrington (Allison Brie, Trudy from Mad Men and Annie from Community) and Clint (The Good Guys, Roswell), the married coach of the high school football team. Just as they are about to begin their affair, the coach disappears down a hole that opens up in Lucy’s living room floor — an inter-dimensional, one-way hole of infinite darkness that leaves Clint stranded and floating in oblivion. Lucy must rescue Clint and keep their love affair a secret, while avoiding a dark stranger who has just arrived in town (Justin Chatwin, Orphan Black). The film is directed by another young, on the rise auteur, Nick Werthem.

Follow the festival on Twitter, @skywayfilm; Instagram: @skywayfilmfestival.

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