Memberships, sponsor and volunteer opportunities are all available now!
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This year the Sarasota Film Festival received a record number of submissions. Director Tom Hall and Programmer Magida Diouri would like to thank everyone who submitted. Submissions remain open for Young Filmmakers Showcase (local Florida student films) and Young Filmmakers Digital Showcase (international student films) until March 1st!
Keep watching this space for more announcements!
The Sarasota Flim Festival's 2012 Audience Award winner for Best Documentary, Ethel, is the feature-lenth documentary about the remarkable life of Ethel Kennedy, told by those who knew her best: her family.
The film will premiere on HBO on October 18th at 9:00 pm.
The Sarasota Film Festival is thrilled to support award-winning filmmaker Rory Kennedy, who was an honored guest at the festival this past April and to share our appreciation for her film as it premieres nationwide tomorrow on HBO. We hope that those of you who enjoyed Ethel with us earlier this year will tune in to experience it all over again and are so excited that those of you who did not see the film at the festival will be able to enjoy the film now. Please help spread the word and be sure to tune in to this remarkable film.
Catch Ethel on HBO tomorrow night
October 18th, at 9pm/8C
HBOGO October, 18th
OnDemand October 19th
Welcome, filmmakers, to one of the most exciting times of the year!
The 2013 Sarasota Film Festival (oh yeah, you know us) is now taking submissions. So, submit! ;D
Sure, I can tell you how awesome we are, how Variety hailed our festival as the acme of regional film fests, how both highly established and acclaimed filmmakers and rising independent superstars flock to SFF each year, how we provide one of the most astonishingly supportive experiences you’ll ever find from our staff, volunteers, and most importantly, the passionate 50,000+ film lovers who come here worldwide to immerse themselves in your work.
I could mention how we played over 230 films in 2012 and how we’ve been embraced by IFC, Sony Pictures Classics, First Run Features, Fortissimo Films, Cinetic and Participant Media, USA Today, GQ Magazine, Vanity Fair, Variety, IndieWIRE, Filmmaker Magazine, The Huffington Post and Screen International. How David Carr of the New York Times told me he loved this festival so much he’d come down just to pass out flyers if we asked him.
Ask your peers about us. Ask filmmakers like Oren Moverman and Todd Solondz, ask Lena Dunham and Craig Zobel.
Most importantly, ask yourself if you are interested in having your work considered for a festival held on the sparkling suncoast of Florida where dreams and destinies meet, where you may forge friendships and partnerships for life, and where your work will screen alongside that of the greatest talents in the industry.Read more ...
Save the date for SFF 2013: April 5-14!
In the film Moulin Rouge the extraordinary stage show meant to top all that had come before was called the SPECTACULAR SPECTACULAR! For me, that was this year at the festival. A dazzling high wire act complete with pyrotechnics as the Flying Wallenda Family performed at our Cinema Tropicale celebration at the glorious Sarasota Yacht Club (followed by an encore at our President's Dinner inside the Sarasota Opera House)! Amazing breakdancing "robots" tearing it up at our opening night party at the Van Wezel in honor of the truly amazing ROBOT & FRANK. WWE Superstar wrestlers Rey Mysterio and Kelly Kelly walking the red carpet for THE DAY (did you see the little boy dressed like Rey, complete with mask and championship belt?) Frank Langella signing books and kissing babies at Bookstore1 as if he were running for office. (And you know what I've been saying from day one of the festival, I think he will be competing early next year in the Oscar race for his incredibly nuanced and touching performance in Robot & Frank, just like Christopher Plummer who was here with Beginners then went on to take the award! We had Dominic Monaghan from LOST and LORD OF THE RINGS, Ashley Bell, Jena Malone, Jess Weixler, the wonderful and gracious Jordan Gelber (star of Todd Solondz's Dark Horse)... the list goes on and on.
The most spectacular aspect of all from this year's festival was the emphasis on FILMS and FILMMAKERS. With over 235 films to choose from
Saturday Night's Filmmaker Awards ceremony at the Sarasota Opera House (followed by our triumphant screening of Joe Berlinger's Paul Simon documentary Under African Skies) was a rousing success. The entire evening was enchanting and uplifting and perhaps never more so than when Allison Koehler brought out her youthFEST award winners to take the stage and take a well-deserved bow. These are the filmmakers of tomorrow here today and it will be a thrill to see what each of them does next. I had the pleasure of interviewing many of the filmmakers who won awards Saturday night and can tell you first hand the level of passion, committment and brilliance each and every one of our nominees and winners brings to their work. A big round of applause for everyone and without further ado, here are the winners!
Photo by Becky Bolletti
Elena wins this year’s
Sarasota Film Festival Narrative Feature prize
Big Boys Gone Bananas!* wins Documentary Feature
The Independent Visions Prize awarded to
The Unspeakable Act
Sarasota, Florida – April 21st – The 2012 Sarasota Film Festival announced this year’s jury and audience award winners at the historic Sarasota Opera House in downtown Sarasota. Elena directed by Andrei Zvyagintsev took home this year’s Narrative Feature Jury prize. Big Boys Gone Bananas!* by director Fredrik Gertten was the Documentary Jury Prize winner. Two special jury prizes were awarded; in the Narrative category Alps directed by Giorgos Lanthimos took
In the final years of World War II, many of the children who had survived the Jewish ghetto and time in the Nazi camps were sent to the Buchenwald concentration camp, where they were housed together in Kinderblock 66. In his profoundly moving film, executive producer Steven Moskovic joins his father Alex and several other survivors on a journey to reunite at Buchenwald for a commemoration of the liberation of the camp by Allied forces. The stories of the men who survived the camp cover a wide range of experiences, providing an important reminder that survival is only the beginning of a new story.
I had the great pleasure of speaking with Steven Moskovic, executive producer of this amazing film and very personal film. He told me, “This is a story about survival. We follow the lives of four men who, as adolescents, were incarcerated in Nazi concentration camps. We talk about their journey, how they were saved by the communist underground and how they were reborn on April 11, 1945 and started new lives.”
The film tells their stories from those early harrowing experiences to the present. “My father was one of those boys,” Steven reveals. “I knew very little of the details until June of 2009 when I visited Buchenwald for the first time. There I learned about this barrack where they housed boys, segregating them from the general population of the camp. This protected the boys from the harsh German winters; most of them didn’t have shoes or proper clothing. But the
RED ALERT REMINDER: This is the Big Show, everyone, and at all happens at the Sarasota Opera House! See our stars and filmmakers on the red carpet. Enjoy an amazing and fun presentation honoring our top liners! See a spectacular screening of Joe Berlinger's documentary UNDER AFRICAN SKIES detailing the epic journey of Paul Simon to South African for the creation of Graceland, his biggest release, which helped shine a light on the very culture that apartheid sought to wipe out and his emotional and thoughtful return 25 years later to revisit this land to sit with one of his harshest critics and regroup with the performers who helped him usher in what would become the World Music Movement for a triumphant concert that will have you laughing, applauding and singing along.
This is a night that will live in your heart forever. Don't miss it!
Two for Tuesdays! For the first time ever, buy one ticket for any Sarasota Film Festival Tuesday screening and receive a second ticket of equal value free. Premium platinum value! Titanic savings! (No, you don't get into that movie, you have to see one of ours!) Such the deal!
OFFER GOOD ON TUESDAY SCREENINGS ONLY. Must redeem in person at the Box Office at Regal Cinemas Hollywood 20, 1993 Main St., Sarasota.
MATINEE MADNES continues! All screenings before 5:00 PM today are only 8 bucks. (And yes, they are two for one as well! Yow! SHAZAM!!!)
Okay, let me catch my breath here and get back to the business of giving you the head's up about some great films we're showing today.
Our spotlight goes to I AM A GOOD PERSON, I AM A BAD PERSON by the very talented Ingrid Veninger. Her first screening is today at 5:00 PM. Ingrid is a SFF mainstay. I'd tell you how many times she's been here, but she does such a great job of getting that (and so much more) across that I'm going to let her take it away. CLICK THE GREEN BUTTON to hear Ingrid tell you all about her work and her last est film!
I AM A GOOD PERSON, I AM A BAD PERSON also plays Friday at 7:30 PM at the Neal Auditorium!
So what else do we have for you? Well, since you asked so nicely...
FILMMAKER IN ATTENDANCE
SHORTS 5: SHORT SLICES OF LIFE
* ABUELAS | Afarin Eghbal 2011
* AQUADETTES | Drea Cooper & Zackary Canepari
* CATCAM | Seth Keal
Jenn (Jenn Harris) and Matt (Matthew Wilkas) are childhood friends facing an age old dilemma; neither of them is having much success finding a boyfriend and Jenn's biological clock is relentlessly, incessantly ticking. And so, the pair decide to act upon an old agreement; they decide to make a baby together. The old fashioned way. In Jonathan Lisecki's hilarious GAYBY, the problems of modern living are front and center, allowing a real tenderness to emerge between the laughs. A film for lovers of comedy, GAYBY is filled with characters who are equally adept at baring their claws as they are baring their souls.
GAYBY SCREENS THURDAY, APRIL 19, 8:00 PM AND ENCORES SATURDAY, APRIL 21, 4:30 PM!
CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS NOW!
I also strongly suggest grabbing tickets (while they last) for Ira Sach's stunning LGBT-interest drama KEEP THE LIGHTS ON! You'll see an interview with Ira shortly about the film. In the meantime, CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS NOW!
THE INSIDER: What is Gayby about?
JONATHAN LISECKI: Gayby is about two best friends from college-a straight woman and a gay man-who decide to fulfill an old promise to have a child together. Because of some absurd mix of nostalgia, phobia, and feeling dared, they decide to actually have sex. Once the seriousness of impending parenthood starts creeping in, they try to get their lives together in time for the arrival of their gayby. It's an often hilarious comedy with a huge heart and amazing performances. I guarantee a goodRead more ...
From January through April, more than 5,000 students participated in 12 education programs covering all aspects of filmmaking—from film critique and review to screenwriting and production. Last Night was a celebration of many of those participants and the amazing work they have accomplished through our programs. The Sarasota Film Festival is distinguished in its commitment to accessibility and affordability and we are extremely proud to be able to offer all of our Education programs at absolutely no cost to the thousands of participants.
(Photo by Becky Bolletti)
The 2012 SFF Young Filmmakers Showcase PROMISING YOUNG FILMMAKER AWARD (Best Film) goes to Gaby Connor and Colton Bazenas for RAGE (Booker High School)
The 2012 SFF Young Filmmakers Showcase Honorable Mention goes to THE GOOD KIDS by Benjamin Edelman, Sidney Wright, Levi Waxler, and Samantha Harris (Inspired Minds)
The 2012 SFF Reel Life Studio BEST FILM Award goes to Colton Bazenas, Sebastian Gottwald, Keishen Lloyd, and Pearce Rouwhorst (Booker High School)
The 2012 SFF Reel Life Studio Audience Choice Award goes to Cindy Allen, Madelaine Perruso, Adele Streissguth, and Alyssa Vanwagner (Booker High School)
From Booker Middle School: CORNELIUS STEPHENS
From St. Stephen’s Episcopal School: JULIA WOODSON
From Pineview School: CONNOR FLAHERTY
From Sarasota School of Arts and Sciences: MICAH GALLAGHER
Classroom Critic is
DON'T FORGET, all films today before 5:00 PM are only 8 bucks! Today we have a great audio interview with Peter Sanders, director of Altina, co-hosted by morning drive radio superstar Robyn Davis from WWPR 1490 AM's Henry Raines Show! Listen to Henry's show for more great talk and some SFF surprises!
And tonight's the night for Rory Kennedy's IN CONVERSATION at the Sarasota High School at 5:30 PM! This is your chance to see history come alive as Rory discusses her film ETHEL (all about the extraordinary life of her mother Ethel Kennedy, wife of Robert Kennedy.) CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS NOW!
SPOTLIGHT FILM WITH FILMMAKER IN ATTENDANCE: ALTINA DIRECTED BY PETER SANDERS
A sheltered heiress who grew up cloistered in one of New York City's most richly-historied mansions, kept, along with her sisters and beautiful young mother under lock and key by a well-meaning but domineering, old world tycoon father, Altina Schinasi Miranda (1907-1999), a pre-feminist visionary, broke wildly free of her constraints and forged a free-spirited, civically active, and creatively prolific life.
Altina screens at 5:45 PM today. CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS NOW!
CLICK THE GREEN "PLAY" BUTTON TO HEAR THE DIRECTOR DISCUSS HIS FILM!
ALSO TODAY WITH FILMMAKERS IN ATTENDANCE (Click on the titles to buy tickets!)
NOT WAVING BUT DROWNING
NOT WAVING BUT DROWNING examines Adele, a young woman dying to escape Bartow, FL. Driven by the
The big day is here! In just a second we’re going to talk MOVIES MOVIES MOVIES! But first, tonight we have ROBOT & FRANK, our Opening Night Film at 7:00 PM starring FRANK LANGELLA (who will be in attendance with director Jake Schreier) PLUS our stupendous OPENING NIGHT PARTY at 9:00 PM! Both are at the always incredible VAN WEZEL PERFORMING ARTS CENTER! Woo-Hoo! Tomorrow Mr. Langella signs his flat-out fantastic memoir DROPPED NAMES: FAMOUS MEN AND WOMEN AS I KNEW THEM at 11:00 AM at BOOKSTORE1 on Main Street (only books purchased from Bookstore1 will be signed) and at 1:00 PM he will be at Sarasota High School for his sure-to-be riveting IN CONVERSATION moderated by New York Magazine and IN CONVERSATION moderated by New York Magazine and NPR’s Fresh Air contributor DAVID EDELSTEIN! (Click on any of those titles to buy tickets now! And if you are a theater enthusiast, you will definitely want to see Mr. Langella live. He's a three time Tony-Award winner!)
Now I’d like to shine a light on two incredible attractions that SFF offers on many of our films. First up, you may see the phrase FILMMAKERS IN ATTENDANCE in our flyers or Morning Buzz Newsletters (go to our home page and enter your e-mail and zip code under SFF News to subscribe). Here’s what that’s all about: We not only have big name film stars attend the festival, we also have dozens and dozens of amazing independent filmmakers come here to promote their screenings.
Think about that. When you come to one
Amy Seimetz is a multi-talented artist who has appeared at SFF many times in recent years. As an actor you will recognize her from SFF's acclaimed THE MYTH OF THE AMERICAN SLEEPOVER & TINY FURNITURE (and, of course, last year's wonderful film by Megan Griffiths' THE OFF HOURS.) She also appeared in the SFF film THE JONESTOWN DEFENSE and A HORRIBLE WAY TO DIE from V/H/S wraparound director Adam Wingard!
This year Amy is here in support of her feature film directorial debut, SUN DON'T SHINE. This is a magnificent achievement, a film rich in atmosphere, nuance and tension filled with outstanding performances and shot in and around St. Petersburg and Bradenton! SUN DON'T SHINE screens THIS SATURDAY at 7:00 PM and encores Thursday, April 19 at 6:00 PM. Amy will be here for Q&As after both screenings! Click here to buy tickets now!
Before we talk to Amy, a few recommendations of great films at SFF 2012 from other returning alums! Click on the titles to buy tickets! They're going fast!
LEAVE ME LIKE YOU FOUND ME: The directorial debut of Adele Romanski who produced SFF alums MYTH OF THE AMERICAN SLEEPOVER and THE FREEBIE! Adele will be here for Q&As after her screenings! Friday, April 20, 6:15 PM, encores Sunday, April 22, 7:00 PM.
ATOMIC STATES OF AMERICA: Part of our Documentary Feature Competition, an amazing exploration of nuclear power plant communities and more from Don Argott and Sheena M. Joyce (ROCK SCHOOL, LAST DAYS HERE, ART OF THE STEAL.) Don and Sheena will be
HOT LIST FILM RECOMMENDATIONS: SOME FOR THIS WEEKEND!
Last year's THROUGH THE TUNNEL told a remarkably moving story that engaged a huge audience and illuminated an important part of African American history that unfolded in our area. This year VETERANS OF COLOR does all that and more. This is a must-see documentary telling the stories of what African American veterans faced upon returning home after their service in WWII, Korea and Viet Nam. And all the subjects live in our area. These are the amazing stories of your neighbors and you must hear them firsthand. This is a movie everyone will be talking about this weekend, so get your tickets now! Filmmaker Mark Parry is scheduled to appear for after screening Q&As!
VETERANS OF COLOR screens this Saturday at 7:15 PM and encores Tuesday, April 17th at 5:30 PM.
Coming up in just a moment is an exclusive interview with VETERANS OF COLOR director Mark Parry. Before that, take a quick look at—
ALL ME: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF WINFRED REMBERT
GIMME THE LOOT
RHYTHM OF STRUCTURE: BOWERY AND BEYOND
WELCOME TO PINE HILL
Activist turned filmmaker Eliaichi Kimaro, goes in search of her identity and discovers long held family secrets.
In the 1960’s, a lynch mob in a small Georgia town confronted a young man named Winfred Rembert during a civil rights march....
Malcolm and Sofia are graffiti loving teenagers on a mission; they want to tag the ultimate New
Florida film school graduates represent! Both the director and producer of Not Waving But Drowning graduated from the Film School at Florida State University and portions of the film were shot here in Florida. So what's this one about?
Not Waving But Drowning is a chronological look at growing up, formed from two different stories. The first is based on the short story The Most Girl Part of You by the acclaimed American author, Amy Hempel. In the days after his mother commits suicide, Big Guy and his best friend, Amy, begin to see each other in new ways. Dark yet sweet, the story brings rushing back the excitement of those moments when you know childhood is gone and your real life is just about to begin. The second story is less about growing up and more about growing out. Growing out of old friendships, growing out of your skin and growing out of who you thought you wanted to be.
The stories are connected by the characters common discovery of the American dilemma: the tear between longing for the past and the desire to explore.
NOT WAVING BUT DROWNING screens Monday, April 16 at 6:00 PM and Wedneday, April 18 at 5:00 PM with Director Devyn Waitt and Producer Nicole Emanuele scheduled to attend after-screening Q&As.
THE INSIDER: What inspired you to tell this story?
DEVYN WAITT: A lot of experiences and ideas that felt unique and urgent followed by a time of feeling really lost and needing to take up space. As the project gained traction I think I came up with
Debra Zimmerman, Executive Director of Women Make Movies is the recipient of the SFF 2012 IMPACT AWARD, which will be presented by UN Women US National Committee Board Member Carol Poteat Buchanan at the Filmmaker Tribute, Saturday, April 21st at 6:00 PM at the Sarasota Opera House. And as part of our SFF&SCF program, Debra will appear as a panelist in our free In Conversation with Women in Film. This panel discussion will be held Friday, April 20 at 5:30 PM at the Neel Performing Arts Center on the campus of The State College of Florida.
Zimmerman tells us, "Women Make Movies is celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year and we are excited to be partnering again with the Sarasota Film Festival and Through Women's Eyes on such great programming and with the Side by Side mentorship program. This program is one of 40 worldwide events spanning the globe that will celebrate the organization's work in transforming the landscape for independent women's films and filmmakers."
Would you like an A-Z for Women Make Movies and recommendations of five great films SFF 2012 is showing in honor of WMM and Debra's achievements? Well, then, you've come to the right place!
THE INSIDER: When was Women Make Movies founded?
DEBRA ZIMMERMAN: 1972.
THE INSIDER: Why was it established?
DEBRA ZIMMERMAN: WMM was founded by Ariel Dougherty and Sheila Page in 1972 with a very specific mission: to put cameras into the hands of women who wanted to learn how to make films. Back then, very few women
In 1985, after hearing a cassette tape of an instrumental song called "Gumboots", performed by the South African band Boyoyo Boys, the singer-songwriter Paul Simon set out to South Africa to record with local musicians who could help him emulate the sound with which he had fallen in love. The result of that collaboration was the 1986 album Graceland, which went on to not only become Simon's most successful album, but also launched the "world music" genre of the 1980's. But not everyone was happy; by recording in South Africa and touring with a band of South African musicians, Simon was accused of violating the cultural boycott of South Africa, erected in an attempt to help bring down the nation's racist apartheid regime. Joe Berlinger's Under African Skies is the story of Graceland, from its inception to the political uproar it created. Filled with footage of the recording sessions, live performances and the incredible music of Simon's legendary album, Under African Skies is a triumphant story of the power of music to transcend our differences and bring the world together in song. The Sarasota Film Festival is proud to present Under African Skies as our 2012 Closing Night Film.
Under African Skies screens with our FILMMAKER TRIBUTE AWARDS Saturday, April 21 at 6:00 PM at the Sarasota Opera House.
SARASOTA FILM FESTIVAL: What were your feelings twenty-five years ago when you first heard Graceland and witnessed the controversy surrounding the record and tour?
Frank Langella's Dropped Names: Famous Men and Women as I Knew Them is a fantastic and fun memoir that indeed drops the names (and delivers amazingly juicy dish) on celebrities ranging from Rita Hayworth, Elizabeth Taylor and Bette Davis to Noel Coward, George C. Scott and Roger Vadim (and dozens and dozens more). On Saturday, April 14th from 11:00 AM to Noon, you can meet Mr. Langella and have him sign a copy of his book at Bookstore1! (Please Note: Only copies of the book purchased from Bookstore1 will be signed.)
Click here for a rave review from USA Today!
And if that's not enough Frank Langella for you (and how could it be, the man is endlessly fascinating) he will be booking it (see what I did there?) right from his signing to Sarasota High School for his In Conversation chat at 1:00 PM. That Inside The Actor's Studio-style chat will be moderated by New York Magazine and NPR's Fresh Air contributor David Edelstein!
And one last plug (gotta do it) be sure to see our Opening Night Film, the moving and wonderful Robot and Frank on Friday, April 13th at 7:00 PM at the illustrious Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall! Frank Langella is a consummate actor at the height of his power and he shines brighter than ever in Robot & Frank. This Oscar-nominated and Tony award-winning actor was Dracula, Sherlock Holmes and Richard Nixon. Remember what happened with Christopher Plummer and Beginners after last year's SFF? I'll betcha the same thing happens in 2013 for Mr. Langella
Each year the always incredible Allison Koehler, our dynamic Director of Education, offers the unique opportunity to students throughout our community to submit competing reviews of a few of our outstanding youthFEST films. This year's winners of our Classroom Critics competition follow. The first two reviews have been published in The Observer. The following pair will see publication next week. Congratulations to all the winners!
A SHADOW OF BLUE
Saint Stephen's Episcopal School
A gaunt little girl sits on a park bench and allows her imagination to wander. Director Carlos Lascano brings together emotional music and characters in an adventurous story. A Shadow of Blue is a touching story full of adventure.
A little girl fills her time on a park bench creating a majestic blue paper butterfly. The butterfly comes to life, along with the girl's shadow. She imagines enthralling adventures with her shadow in the lead. There are suspenseful twists as her shadow skips and jumps, reaching for the butterfly. A nasty crow acts as an antagonist and plots to scare the little girl away. The actions are expressive and the music adds eerie suspense. Everything is not as it seems as the plot develops.
Since there is no dialogue, the actions are clear and expressive. The actions are dramatic and the little girl's leaps and jumps are expressed through flailing arms; crying with the heaves of the little girl's shoulders. Even in shadow, actions
Sarasota Film Festival, Inc. is a nonprofit organization under Federal Tax Code 501(c)(3). A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE (800-435-7352) WITHIN THE STATE. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE.