The 2017 ​Key​ ​West​ ​Film​ ​Festival​ ​kicked off last night with a screening of Guillermo del Toro‘s The Shape of Water​ at the San Carlos Institute. It was preceded by a slightly out-of-focus Skype message from GDT. Critics Kenny Turan and Joshua Rothkopf offered some post-screening analysis and introspection. An after-party happened at the Audobon House, and then a follow-up gathering at the Green Parrot for the truly hardcore.

Southern Florida has been slowly recovering from the devastating effects of Hurricane Irma, but so far I haven’t noticed much structural damage to Key West homes and businesses. Yesterday I spotted two homes on Simonton Street that are having their siding replaced [below], but not much else. Maybe there’s been a more vigorous clean-up effort here. During yesterday’s southward drive I noticed much more damage in Big Pine Key and Marathon.

This year’s Centerpiece film will be Luca Guadagnino​’s Call Me By Your Name​ (Friday at 5:30 pm, San Carlos Institute), featuring a discussion with Rothkopf, Turan, Brian Brooks and Eugene Hernandez of the Film Society of Lincoln Center. The closing night film, selected by Rothkopf, is Richard Linklater‘s Last Flag Flying (Saturday at 6 pm, Sam Carlos Institute).

Other critics in attendance: Eric Kohn ​of IndieWire, Alison Willmore of BuzzFeed News, Rolling Stone‘s David Fear, myself, ​Shirrel Rhodes ​of the Key West Citizen and and Steve Dollar​.

The KWFF is also showing I,​ ​Tonya​, Borg/McEnroe​, The​ ​Leisure​ ​Seeker​, The Square, Spettacolo, Lucky​, Dog Years and The Fabulous Allan Carr (Saturday, 11.18 at 3:30) among many others.

The Key West climate, as you might expect, is quite warm and humid. When it rains around here it does so briefly. Thanks to KWFF for putting me up in The Gardens, an especially beautiful and fragrant environment with a nice pool, a large brick patio, an outdoor bar, a gazebo and an abundance of large trees and bushes and potted plants.