Wait, what exactly is the International Vegan Film Festival premiering in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday?

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Yup, vegan movies are an actual thing.

And if you doubt it, then check out the debut of the International Vegan Film Festival at Savor Cinema in downtown Fort Lauderdale on Saturday, July 30.

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Over the course of two hours, 12 short films will be screened, all with vegan/sustainable/cruelty-free themes running through them. Some of the movies are just under three minutes in length, with the longest clocking in at about 28 minutes.

There will be two receptions in Savor’s courtyard bookending the opening and closing of the event, plus presentations, panels and vendor booths. An after-party will be at Leaves & Roots Lounge, which bills itself as Florida’s “only all-vegan kava and kratom bar,” and is just off of the revitalized Northeast 13th Street enclave.

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The festival is a local film franchise of the Canada-based International Vegan Film Festival, which also does a world tour. Here in South Florida, the event is being produced by SoFlo Vegans, an advocacy group that stages regional events and provides resources for the vegan lifestyle and plant-based cuisine.

“I’m always looking for new concepts to bring to the community ever since I’ve started actively doing this since around 2017,” says SoFlo Vegans’ founder, Sean Russell. “When I heard about this … I knew it was something I wanted to do.”

The group had begun work to launch the festival in December 2020, but the pandemic put a pause on those plans until now. Russell says that they were committed to doing the festival because it fits in with their overall mission.

“We support any organization that is moving veganism forward, restaurants, nonprofits, veg-friendly restaurants [those with plant-based dishes, but not totally vegan],” he explains.

“We know how overwhelming and daunting it can be for some people when going vegan. Our focus is to be that organization that is welcoming everyone to the fold. I’m releasing a book on that day [of the festival] titled ‘Pre-Vegans,’ which is … just inspirational stories from the biggest names in the vegan community.”

The list of movies being shown includes:

“Save Ralph” “Moving Animals” “Source” “Dear Tilly” “Hide” “There Was A Killing” “The Story of Two Vegan Bodybuilders – Robert Cheeke & Vanessa Espinoza” “Climate Crisis, and Why We Should Panic” “Food & Free Speech: Debating Labeling Regulation” “Golden Retriever Burgers Trending?! #CatchOnToCarnism” “Extinction Emergency, and Why We Must Act Now” “Freedom Farm Sanctuary”

Also keeping it short — 10-minute presentations — will be speakers, including:

Susan Hargreaves (author, founder of AnimalHeroKids.org)Dr. Sy Woon (vegan veterinarian, founder of PetParentsPro)Wayne Hsiung (attorney, cofounder of Direct Action Everywhere)

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Closing the program will be a 30-minute panel.

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“The idea of the panel is that the films raise awareness of a lot of different topics from the environment to animal abuse. We wanted to close it out with some actions people can take,” Russell says.

WHAT: International Vegan Film Festival

WHEN: Screenings start at noon Saturday, July 30, 2022

WHERE: Savor Cinema, 503 SE 6th St., Fort Lauderdale

COST: $25 for general admission; $45 for VIP

INFORMATION: SoFloVegans.com or Eventbrite.com

 

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