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FLIFF 2014: It's Jason Alexander, by George!

The 29th Annual Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival will open on Nov. 7 with a zany musical comedy, “Lucky Stiff,” and an appearance by its star, former “Seinfeld” foil Jason Alexander.

The opening-night screening, which has in recent years occurred at  Cinema Paradiso in Fort Lauderdale and at the Miniaci Performing Arts Center at Nova Southeastern University in Davie, is scheduled for the newly remodeled Amaturo Theater at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.  Alexander’s co-star, Pamela Shaw, will be among those in attendance.

FLIFF is scheduled to screen at least 200 films Nov. 7–23 at its two art-house theaters, Cinema Paradiso Fort Lauderdale and Cinema Paradiso Hollywood, as well as the Amaturo Theater, the Sunrise Civic Theatre and the Miramar Cultural Center. 

 “Lucky Stiff” marks the first time FLIFF opens with a musical comedy. Recent opening-night films have included Anna Paquin’s powerful Fort Lauderdale-set drama  “Free Ride” (2013), the Motown-era musical “The Sapphires” (2012) and Best Picture Academy Award winner “The Artist” (2011).

“Lucky Stiff,” based on the hit 1988 off-Broadway farce, follows the plight of a sad-sack British shoe salesman who will inherit $6 million if he can fulfill the last wish of his dead American uncle: Take him on a weeklong trip to Monte Carlo. Even if he is a corpse. The cast also includes former Royal Shakespeare Company actor Dominic Marsh, Tony Award winner Nikki M. James (Nabulungi in “The Book of Mormon”), and the late, great character actor Dennis Farina.

In addition to his appearance on opening night, Alexander will receive a career achievement award during the festival, joining other 2014 FLIFF honorees George Hamilton (lifetime achievement award) and actor-director Daniel Baldwin (brother of Alec and Stephen), who will be recognized with FLIFF’s Renaissance Award for writing, directing and starring in “The Wisdom to Know the Difference.”

Another filmmaker with celebrity lineage in attendance will be Clara Mamet, receiving the annual Star on the Horizon Award for her debut film “Two Bit Waltz.” Mamet, daughter of playwright David Mamet and actress Rebecca Pidgeon, also plays the lead role in her autobiographical film about a young woman’s struggle to become a writer. The cast includes Pidgeon and William H. Macy as Mamet’s gruff father.

Emmy nominee Henry Ian Cusick (“Lost”) and actress Ever Carradine, daughter of actor Robert Carradine, will attend a screening of their bittersweet comedy “Frank vs. God.” Cusick plays a man whose insurance company refuses to cover the “act of God” destruction of his home by a tornado, so he decides to serve God with a lawsuit.

More details about this year’s Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival will be shared 6-8 p.m. Tuesday during the annual poster-unveiling party at the Riverside Hotel (620 E Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale).  Admission is $15 (members $10), with  hors d'oeuvres and cocktails (your first drink is free). For more information,  call 954-525-3456 or visit FLIFF.com.

Get daily updates on South Florida entertainment and things to do at SouthFlorida.com, on Twitter at @BenCrandell and Instagram /BenCrandell. Email: bcrandell@southflorida.com.

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