Fashion film director extraordinaire, Frédéric Tcheng (DIOR AND I, VALENTINO: THE LAST EMPEROR), returns with HALSTON, an homage and analysis of the revolutionary fashion mogul Roy Halston Frowick. Charting the life of the man who created the look that defined the 1970s, this Sundance selection features extensive archival footage as well as interviews that lived and worked most intimately with this indelible icon of fashion history.
When Chinese billionaire purchases a closed General Motors factory in post-industrial Dayton Ohio and opens a Fuyao factory, hopes run high as thousands of hard-working locals are once again back on the job. However, hope wanes as cultural tensions rise in this duly buzz-worthy Sundance selection by legendary directors Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar.
In most American towns, and especially Flint Michigan, the senior prom is a big deal. It’s a rite of passage and night to commemorate the past as well as celebrate the future. MIDNIGHT IN PARIS is a thorough and thoroughly honest depiction of a senior class as they prepare for a Parisian themed prom in Flint.
Macedonian documentarians Ljubomir Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska paint an intimate portrait in brilliant detail of Hatidze Muratova, perhaps the last remaining rural female beekeepers in Europe. Hatidze lives with her ailing mother in an off-grid Macedonian mountain settlement, embracing the graceful simplicity of her fulfilling life in nature alongside the bees, following a golden rule of always leaving half the honey for their nourishment. Her way of life is threatened, however, when modern farmers began to take over the landscape.
MIDNIGHT FAMILY is a white-knuckle journey into the heart of Mexico City’s private ambulance business. Enter a world where EMT’s compete for access to the scenes of accidents, corruption runs rampant in law enforcement, and there is no guarantee at the end of the day that anyone will get what they need to survive.
Highly acclaimed director of THE PRISON IN TWELVE LANDSCAPES, Brett Story, returns with this portrait of collective anxiety. Told as a series of vignette interviews during a single month in NYC where hurricanes, wildfires, and heatwaves are ravaging the country, this True/False selection selection provides a perfect snapshot of the current moment, where so much about the future of the planet seems unclear.
Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida speak out against the national gun-violence epidemic after a mass shooting at their school kills 17 people.
In the shadows of the bright lights of Las Vegas, it’s last call for a beloved dive bar known as the Roaring 20s. Its regulars, a cross section of American life, form a community—tight-knit yet forged in happenstance, teetering between dignity and debauchery, reckoning with the past as they face an uncertain future. That’s the premise, at least; the reality is as unreal as the world they’re escaping from. Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets is a mosaic of disparate lives adrift in a failed society—disillusioned and reeling, singing while their ship goes down.
In The Philippines, women get deployed abroad to work as domestic workers or nannies. To do so, they frequently leave their own children behind, before embracing this big unknown. In a learning center dedicated to the domestic work, several candidates prepare themselves for homesickness and for the abuses that they will possibly endure. In role playing exercises, they play the worker’s role as well as the one of the employer. The documentary Overseas brings to light the question of domestic slavery in our globalized world, while emphasizing those women’s determination, their sisterhood, and the strategies they find to face the obstacles that awaits them in the near future.
Pier Kids is a verité documentary that’s inspired by Marlon Riggs’s Black is Black Ain’t and the Maysles brothers Gray Gardens, and Field Niggas by Khalik Allah. The film was made in the moment run and gun guerilla style. The interviews are often on the go to reflect the transience experienced by the characters. Like the work of Marlon Riggs, Elegance the film’s director is character on and off screen. The viewer is offered a type of access that’s rare in documentary films. It’s goal is to shrink the distance between the concepts of racial/gender marginalization by making the experience personal and specific. The film asserts that the individual experience of black queer life is not complete without engaging the community at large. The film is also an act of resistance to traditional storytelling forms. The director wanted to make a film in a visual language that mimics the way the people on screen speak and share knowledge with each other. People appear in this film, form a meaningful connection, and disappear without any explanation. It means so much that the audience experience the sense of loss in a way as similar as possible to what the Pier Kids experience. This is the only way to make their plight palpable so that viewers can no longer play innocent. The film is also about the value of public space for brown and black queer bodies to become their most realized versions of themselves. The film is mostly shot outdoors on purpose. It sees the presence of these bodies in this space as natural and necessary. Pier Kids is directed by the truth of the experience of coming of age outside.
Sarasota Film Festival is devoted to supporting the art and elevating the craft of cinema.