Marco Island film fest expects to reel in 10,000 attendees

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MARCO ISLAND, Fla. -- The fourth annual Marco Island Film Festival, which could draw as many as 10,000 attendees, is set for Oct. 17 to 21.

A highlight of this year's festivities will be the Oct. 20 presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award to actress Jane Russell at a venue to be decided.

Afterward, a party will be held at the Opus restaurant in north Naples.

Also being honored at the festival are lyricist Tim Rice and actresses Celeste Holm and the late Gwen Verdon.

The Saturday-evening fete honoring Russell will include a reception and screening of two of her films, "Macao" and "Underwater," as well as a montage of other screen roles.

Following this, the actress will field audience questions.

The first film showing, Oct. 17, will occur during the annual opening night event -- Sandals and Cinema -- a free screening to be held on the beach at Cape Marco, Marco Island.

Also free will be the Oct. 18 Classics in the Park outdoor screening of a film at the Cambier Park Bandshell, Naples.

Other film showings will take place at the Regal Cinemas Hollywood 20 Theater in Naples and the Marco Movies at Marco Walk, Marco Island.

The festival draws filmmakers, celebrities and devotees from around the world.

Besides screenings, there are workshops, panel discussions, informal chat sessions and parties.

The weekend after the festival, Oct. 26 to 28, the Cinema Spring Creek 12 in Bonita Springs will show films rated the previous week as the "Best of the Fest," according to a festival spokeswoman.

In conjunction with the festival, the Hotel Escalante, Naples, is offering commissionable rates starting from $150 per night from Oct. 17 to 21.

The rates cover breakfast and a glass of champagne on arrival.

Also offered is a commissionable, three-night Film Festival Spa package, available from Sept. 30 to Dec. 20.

Priced at $675 per couple, the spa package features a parlor room with a garden view, champagne on arrival, turndown service, daily breakfast, a one-hour spa treatment of choice, use of the sauna and a hand-and-feet wax paraffin treatment.

For additional information or to book, call (877) 485-3466.

The Hilton Marco Beach Resort extends rates from $119 per night.

For information or reservations, call (800) HILTONS or (941) 394-5000.

The Marriott Marco Island Resort is offering a $125 Festival rate. To book, call (800) 228-9290 or (941) 394-2511.

The Radisson Suite Beach resort offers rooms from $159 to $219. To book, call (800) 333-3333 or (941) 394-4100.

The Inn on Fifth, Naples, is offering an $89 per night room rate.

To book, call (888) 403-8778.

Festival tickets cost $8 per person, per screening.

A festival spokeswoman said she did not believe that group rates would be available.

Passes for access to film screenings are available. The $100 Silver Pass is good for five days of priority seating to all screenings and the $50 Bronze Pass is valid for access to all screenings, with one day of priority seating.

The $250 Gold Pass includes priority seating for five days' worth of screenings and one pass to opening and closing events.

The $1,000 Platinum VIP Pass covers two guests and includes priority seating at all screenings and admission to opening and closing events and behind-the-scenes parties and press events.

Among festival sponsors are the Collier County Tourist Development Council and the Hotel Escalante.

For more details on tickets or the festival, contact the Marco Island Film Festival, Box 2002, Marco Island, Fla. 34145; phone (941) 642-3378 or visit www.marcoislandfilmfest.com.

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