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Join us in bringing visionary film to Tampa!

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More about FLEX

The Florida Experimental Film/Video Festival (FLEX) is an annual multi-day short film festival that takes place in February each year and at various venues around Tampa, FL. Since its founding in 2004 by Roger Beebe in Gainesville, FL, FLEX quickly became and has remained one of the premiere showcases for visionary short films in North America. It is the only significant festival of its kind in the Southeast.

In 2019, the festival relocated to Tampa, FL, under the direction of filmmaker and educator, Warren Cockerham. The competitive festival took place February 6-10 at various indoor and outdoor arts venues around Tampa. In six short weeks, there were over 750 entries from 52 countries! Programming included 81 short films in 9 competition programs, 2 programs of expanded cinema, and 3 programs of juror selections! An average of 70 audience members enjoyed each of the 14 programs and more than 30 filmmakers were featured throughout the five-day festival.

While so-called independent films have a home in almost every town in the U.S. now (with both festivals and multiplexes or art houses), experimental film and video remains largely the province of major cities, often in their most significant museums and galleries. Bringing this kind of work to Florida serves the very important purpose of alerting those in the region to the very existence of this kind of filmmaking, which is in essence the “high art” of cinema. FLEX works to legitimize the film culture of Florida in the eyes of a cosmopolitan culture that often dismisses the state as a cultural vacuum.

Given a modest budget, FLEX offers incredible “bang for the buck.” Unlike other film festivals in Florida, which largely aspire to be “regional Sundances” and thus have a fair degree of consistency from fest to fest, FLEX is unique in the region, and is thus likely to serve all counties in the state (and indeed all states in the Southeast region). FLEX attendance figures have grown each year, selling out bigger and bigger venues, a trend that is anticipated to continue in Tampa.

From the vantage point of artists served, the submissions for the competitive festival have more than doubled every two years, reflecting its value in the artistic community. FLEX also strives to reach a diverse community—experimental film is an incredibly important medium for highlighting identity-based work by marginalized individuals who may struggle to access financing to produce independent films. FLEX continues to work each year to reach deeper and deeper into these communities. Besides the annual festival, FLEX aims to provide regular community programming and educational workshops throughout the year.

The 2022 FLEX festival will be held February 24-27, 2022 in Tampa, FL at Tempus Projects and FLEX HQ. FLEX is completely volunteer run and this year, is partnering with Tempus Projects as a fiscal sponsor to make all donations to FLEX tax deductible. FLEX made a promise to the independent film community two years ago: to pay all exhibiting artists. The large majority of donations will go right back to the artists. Learn more at www.flexfest.org.

~Warren Cockerham, FLEX programmer and artistic director