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First Vero Beach Wine And Film Festival Ready To Kick Off June 9, And The Lineup Even Includes A Sundance Award-Winning Film

When the films are rolling, wine will be flowing at this inaugural event. 

From June 9 to June 12, talented filmmakers, wine-connoisseurs and moviegoers will head to Vero Beach to enjoy the first Vero Beach Wine and Film Festival

Taking place in shops and restaurants across town, the festival will highlight independent films and fine wine, a pair that festival founder Jerusha Stewart said she believes goes hand in hand. 

After moving to Vero Beach three years ago, Stewart discovered the town’s philanthropy, appreciation for arts and culture, and taste for wine. She said she thought a film festival would be the perfect fit for her new hometown. 

“It’s the intersection of three things that are central to the lifestyle here," she said. “[A]nd the size of the town is great because most of our venues are walkable.”

Among many things, Stewart is also a board member of the Suncoast Mental Health Association, the event’s beneficiary and the driving force behind the festival’s theme, “A Life Worth Living." The theme ties into the more than 45 featured films at the festival, Stewart said. 

One of the most talked about screenings of the festival is "Between Sea and Land," a narrative feature directed by Carlos del Castillo. The film, which won this year’s Sundance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award, tells the story of a man with a neurological disorder who dreams of one day visiting the ocean.

Local filmmakers will also get their time to shine: "Stunning," a short written and directed by Vero Beach’s Dominic Traverzo, for example, will be featured at the festival. Traverzo's works have been shown at festivals including the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival and Indie Memphis. 

There will be a Vero Visions category for Vero-based filmmakers, as well as a student film competition, called “Next Up”, which features films from students across Florida. 

With more than 1,000 tickets already sold, Stewart said VBWFF is expected to have a considerable economic impact on the small town—a big reason why the event was scheduled during the city's “off-season." 

This may be one reason local businesses have been so eager to participate, she said. Ten different venues are set to host screenings throughout the weekend, including the Vero Beach Museum of Art and the Heritage Center. Various parties will be held at Blue Star Wine Bar and Orchid Island Brewery.

Vela Wines, Chateau Montelena Winery and 4 Winds Winery will also be providing tastings throughout the festival. 

“It’s an opportunity to taste, see and savor film and wine that you might not otherwise get a chance to, so that’s why I say ‘come drink it all in,’” she said. 

Festival passes start at $95. For more information on pricing and packages, visit VBWFF's website

Bonus: We're giving away two A-lister passes to the film festival. The winner will receive access to parties, special event tastings, film screenings and more. Enter here for your chance to win. 

Stuart Magazine is a sponsor of this event. 

(Lead image adapted via Flickr/CCFoodTravel.com; accompanying images courtesy Jerusha Stewart)
Note: The number of films scheduled for the festival has been updated to reflect the most recent information.