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Narrative Feature

2023 Oscar®️ Nominated Live Action Short Films

Sarasota Film Festival 2024

Just off the heels of the Oscars…the Sarasota Film Festival is thrilled to bring the 2023 Academy Award© nominated Live Action short films to our festival goers. Join us, for the first time in Florida, for a special afternoon showcase featuring all five Oscar nominated films including the winner The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, directed by Wes Anderson who created films like The Royal Tenenbaums, Rushmore, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, and many more. This big screen presentation will include an introduction by Patrick Harrison, a 22-year veteran of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and a post screening conversation with filmmakers, subject to availability. You will also be able to participate in some fun Oscar trivia, cocktails and treats.


The Films

The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar – WINNER

Wes Anderson and Steven Rales


The After

Misan Harriman and Nicky Bentham


Invincible

Vincent René-Lortie and Samuel Caron


Knight of Fortune

Lasse Lyskjær Noer and Christian Norlyk


Red, White and Blue

Nazrin Choudhury and Sara McFarlane


Patrick Harrison served at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as Vice President, Member Relations and Global Outreach in charge of designing and implementing all Academy programs and outreach initiatives on the East Coast, Midwest and South including retrospectives, tributes, member engagement activities and Oscar Night. Prior to the Academy, Patrick worked at Miramax Films where he managed awards campaigns and events including award winning titles like Il Postino, The Cider House Rules, The English Patient, Shakespeare In Love and Chocolat. In 2023, Patrick joined Frank Awards as partner, building the agency’s awards division.


Film elements provided by ShortsTV.


Bull Street

Sarasota Film Festival 2024

East Coast Premiere. Bull Street follows LouEster Sadie Gibbs (played by newcomer Malynda Hale), a 39-year-old small-town personal injury lawyer whose mother died in childbirth. Her grandmother, Mrs. Big-Gal (Loretta Devine), has raised her in their humble family home with love and a rich spiritual tradition. When an entitled Ivy League lawyer questions their ownership of the homeand its surrounding land, the stage is set for a clash of privilege against family. Judge Motley(Amy Madigan) must determine whether LouEster’s lifelong home really is her birthright or if the handshake transfer of land doesn’t hold up in court. From the Biblical roots of land ownership tao the contemporary struggle, preserving generational wealth is imperative. This stirring Southern drama is both a call to action and a tribute to undying determination. Never take your eyes off the prize.

In attendance Amy Madigan. Arielle Prepetit, Gary Ray Moore, Mathew Greer, Idella Johnson, Dir. Lynn Dow and Producer Wendy Tucker Tannock

Thelma

Sarasota Film Festival 2024

At once a celebration and playful subversion of the action genre and a soulful exploration of aging and autonomy, Sundance hit Thelma is a showcase for our oldest generation, those rarely centered in life let alone on-screen. When 93-year-old Thelma Post (June Squibb) gets duped by a phone scammer pretending to be her grandson, she sets out on a treacherous quest across the city, with the help of her good friend Ben (the late Richard Roundtree) to reclaim what she lost. The path to the perpetrator is anything but straight as Thelma must make an important stop or two and she encounters complications along the way. For first-time feature writer/director Josh Margolin, the film serves as a love letter to the exploits of his real-life grandmother. And after 70+ years of acting (perhaps most memorably as the henpecking wife in Nebraska) Thelma gives June Squibb, in a memorable performance, her first starring role to become the year’s oldest action hero.


In Attendance: Josh Margolin, Director; Zoë Worth, Co-Producer (April 7 only)

Curry Scent

Sarasota Film Festival 2024

World Premiere. Curry Scent is a fresh tale of a young immigrant family that comes to Florida in search of the American Dream. As they navigate the pitfalls of their new life abroad, doing menial jobs that many new immigrants find themselves forced to do, they still find humor and an overriding desire to succeed in their new life. The story focuses on Geetha, the young daughter and center of her eight-member family as she navigates the dating world in hopes of finding a suitable match to legitimize her visa. In her journey she encounters the forces it takes to understand what she loves about her country and at what price she is willing to forsake it. Told with uplifting humor and a variety of situations, from their cramped living quarters to her various excursions on which the entire family seems to participate, Curry Scent is a genuinely feel-good story about a serious topic that will resonate with people of all ages and backgrounds.

Puddysticks

Sarasota Film Festival 2024

East Coast Premiere. Puddysticks is a dark, joyously twisted comedy following Liz (Megan Seely), a workaholic at Braindead, a brutal, elite gaming company with the chance to be recruited by her gaming hero only if she’s the best at her job. One day she collapses from overwork and, despite the doctor’s warnings to take it easy, she chooses instead to join Puddysticks — a secret society that increases stamina and creativity, promising to make her the best at her work. She joins seeking a quick fix for work and instead revolutionizes her life but when she finally gains the courage to share her own deep-rooted shame, things don’t go as anticipated. Fresh, funny and smart, Puddysticks traces the odyssey of a young woman whose world turns upside down and who must find her own way to free herself of her past.


In Attendance: Megan Seely, Director

Art Thief

Sarasota Film Festival 2024

Kevin Deeley (Max Deacon) has an intense passion for art and wants nothing more than to be a painter—though he unfortunately lacks the necessary talent. Broke, he is forced to steal, grift and lie to get by. He meets and forms a relationship with Olympia (Jacqueline Emerson), a gifted painter, over their shared love of art; but after his crimes catch up with him, he is thrown into the company of a convict (Chris Lazzaro) and an underworld figure (Lenny Clarke), who involve him in what will become the biggest art theft in modern history— and threatening his relationship with Olympia, his freedom, and even his life. Inspired by the true events surrounding the 1990 robbery of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Art Thief delves into the art world in entertaining, thrilling fashion.


In Attendance: Arthur Egeli

The Nature of Love

Sarasota Film Festival 2024

Florida Premiere. Philosophy lecturer Sophia is an expert on love. She can effortlessly wield quotes from Plato and Schopenhauer, among others, on the subject. She is happily married in an amicable if passionless relationship with fellow intellectual Xavier. But her theoretical and analytical grounding in matters of the heart hasn’t prepared her for the instant, electrical connection she experiences when she meets Sylvain, the rugged building contractor she and Xavier have retained to renovate their new lake cabin. Canadian actress-tuned-director Monia Chokri establishes a rattling screwball-style dialogue pace early on, and combines cynical smarts and deceptively light handling of some undeniably mature themes to deliver a sexy, witty examination of romantic passion in a real-world environment. Sophia may know the nature of love, but there never are easy answers.

The Line

Sarasota Film Festival 2024

Ethan Berger’s feature narrative debut is an engrossing contemplation of blind adherence to tradition through the lens of a fictional college fraternity. Tom (Alex Wolff), a passionate “brother” of this fraternity, is charmed by the promises of high social status and alumni connections that open doors. But as a classmate outside of his social circle named Annabelle (Halle Bailey) enters his life, his devotion begins to falter. Once the scheduled hazing of new fraternity members, a group most notably including the manipulative Gettys O’Brien (Sarasota’s Austin Abrams) comes to a disturbing head, Tom is faced with the decision of a lifetime. In this unique dive into traditions ingrained in American culture, Berger opens up a conversation that can be applied to any example of absolute loyalty to an institution. Wolff offers a gut-wrenching performance of a young man questioning every belief that had once comprised his being. He is joined by John Malkovich and Denise Richards as the corrupt, wealthy parents of his power-hungry roommate — an earlier generation perpetuating these same traditions.––Kylie Jost-Price, Tribeca Festival

Goodbye Julia

Sarasota Film Festival 2024

Wracked by guilt after covering up a murder, Mona tries to make amends by taking in the deceased’s southern Sudanese widow Julia, and her son Daniel, into her home. Julia’s and Mona’s lives are starkly different. Julia leads a precarious existence with an otherwise happy son and husband, while Mona is childless with a controlling spouse, albeit enjoying relative luxury. As unrest breaks out, heightened racial prejudices shatter Julia’s life. She comes to be hired as Mona’s domestic worker, but even as their relationship deepens into that of confidantes, hidden guilt and secret dreams threaten to surface and unravel. Set in Khartoum during the years prior to South Sudan’s independence and beautifully shot with a soft warmth and authenticity, Goodbye Julia deftly weaves the personal into complex sociopolitical contexts, delivering a thoughtful drama at once tender and tense.

The Listener

Sarasota Film Festival 2024

Florida Premiere. Beth (Tessa Thompson, in a masterful performance) is a helpline volunteer – part of the small army that gets on the phone every night across America, fielding calls from all kinds of people feeling lonely, broken, hopeless. Over the last year the tide has become a tsunami. As Beth goes through her shift, the stakes rise: is this the night she will lose someone? Save someone? Eventually, Beth’s own story comes to light, revealing why she does it. All along we remain with her: listening, comforting, connecting – patching the world back together, one stitch at a time. Directed by veteran actor Steve Buscemi, The Listener is that rare chamber piece that is often as tense as a globe-trotting thriller. Beth not only has to talk down those who are about to end their own life, but also deal with creeps over the phone. Thompson is joined by a number of well-known voices on the other end of the line, including Rebecca Hall, Jamie Hector, and Alia Shawkat. With its emphasis on conversation, The Listener proves itself to be a stirring testament to the power of empathy.


In Attendance: Steve Buscemi

Bloom

Sarasota Film Festival 2024

East Coast Premiere. Bloom is a drama that follows the past and present life of Kate (a marvelous Kate Braun) and her poodle, Storm. Stirred by the desire to flee her small town Indiana life, this ambling Midwest tale begins with Kate in her 60s, on the eve of an impromptu vacation that quickly snowballs into an adventure across America. Driven by memories from her past, we come to learn how Kate once broke free from her hometown and toured with a band on the road. Unfortunately, this dream came to an abrupt end leaving her right back in the stagnant, small town life she so desperately yearned to escape from. With her children’s inadvertent guidance, Kate’s attempt to fulfill her freedom is met face to face with her life’s deepest regret. Surrounded by an interesting array of characters amid the changing backdrop of the Midwest, Great Plains and Southwest, Bloom takes us on a spiritual and quietly emotional journey through Kate’s open eyes and search for a new life.

The Trouble with Jessica

Sarasota Film Festival 2024

Southeastern US Premiere. Sarah and Tom are in terrible financial trouble. On the brink of losing everything, they’ve managed to find a buyer for their stylish London home. When their best friends Richard and Beth come round for a final dinner, an uninvited old friend, Jessica, tags along. What could possibly go wrong? Well, plenty. This black comedy tells the story of two couples who find themselves having to move a dead body to ensure an imminent house sale doesn’t collapse. Rufus Sewell (The Diplomat, A Knight’s Tale), Shirley Henderson (The House Across the Street, Bridget Jones’s Diary) and Olivia Williams (The Ghost Writer, The Sixth Sense) star in the uproarious effort to hide the corpse, an undertaking which features a nosy neighbor and bungling cops. A blueberry clafoutis dessert also plays a significant role.

The Old Oak

Sarasota Film Festival 2024

Florida Premiere. The Old Oak is the last pub standing in a once thriving mining village in northern England, a gathering space for a community that has fallen on hard times. There is growing anger, resentment, and a lack of hope among the residents, but the pub and its proprietor TJ are a fond presence to their customers. When a group of Syrian refugees moves into the floundering village, a decisive rift fueled by prejudices develops between the community and its newest inhabitants. The formation of an unexpected friendship between TJ and a young Syrian woman named Yara opens up new possibilities for the divided village in this deeply moving drama about loss, fear, and the difficulty of finding hope from master filmmaker Ken Loach, who at 87 announced this is his final film.

Red Rooms

Sarasota Film Festival 2024

Fashion model Kelly-Anne (played to chillingly icy perfection by Juliette Gariépy)  wakes up every morning by the courthouse to secure a seat at the high-profile trial of Ludovic Chevalier, a serial killer commanding her attention. As days go by, the young woman bonds with another groupie (Laurie Babin), which momentarily breaks her out of her loneliness. But as the

proceedings drag on and she spends more time in the courtroom with the victims’ families, Kelly-Anne finds it increasingly difficult to maintain her psychological balance and assume her morbid fixation with the killer. She will then do whatever it takes to get her hands on the final piece of the puzzle: the missing video of a murdered girl, to whom Kelly-Anne bears a disturbing resemblance. Director Pascal Plante updates the psychological horror thriller to today’s tech world and weaves a nuanced, wonderfully creepy tale of the dark web, obsession, the seamy side of social media.



Green Border

Sarasota Film Festival 2024

Florida Premiere. Urgent, clear-eyed, and helmed with incredible conviction, Green Border finds master filmmaker Agnieszka Holland training her camera on a real-life geopolitical crisis. Set on the border of Poland and Belarus, the film offers a glimpse into the lives of refugees fleeing to the European Union and the humanitarian activists working to help them reach safety. When a family of Syrian asylum seekers is left stranded in the forest, a group of Belarusian border guards shepherds them into Poland. When they encounter the Polish military, they’re forced back over into Belarus. Julia, a psychologist who lives alone near the border, witnesses this cyclical, inhumane back-and-forth and joins up with a group of activists working to rectify the situation. This harrowing, urgent drama constructs an intricate account of the contemporary global humanitarian crisis, expanding out to encompass the interconnected lives of security patrol officers, activist lawyers, and civilians who put themselves on the line for strangers. Director Agnieszka Holland reaffirms both her unyielding commitment to political filmmaking and the ability of immersive storytelling to illuminate the darkest corners of the world.

Pet Shop Days

Sarasota Film Festival 2024

Florida Premiere. In an act of desperation, impulsive black sheep Alejandro (Dario Yazbek Bernal) flees his home in Mexico. On the run from his unforgiving father, he ends up in New York City. There, he meets Jack, a pet store worker whose own, similarly wealthy family life is fracturing after his father (Willem Dafoe) betrays his mother (Emmanuelle Seigner). Together, the two young men enter a whirlwind romance, sending them into a dead-end world of passion, drugs, and depravity.With Pet Shop Days, first-time feature director Olmo Schnabel, son of artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabel, has crafted a gritty throwback to American independent cinema. (No wonder Martin Scorsese signed on as an executive producer.) Imbued with raw emotion and propulsive pacing and led by an explosive performance by Bernal (Gael’s half-brother) as the wild and wounded Alejandro, Pet Shop Days is a riveting portrait of lost young men in search of connection.

The Feeling That the Time for Doing Something Has Passed

Sarasota Film Festival 2024

Florida Premiere. In this droll, uniquely humorous, refreshingly intimate take on millennial alienation, filmmaker Joanna Arnow portrays Ann, a 30-something New Yorker suffering from aging millennial malaise with the various threads of her life each marked by a sense of discomfort and stagnancy. As she awkwardly shuffles from her low-level, corporate job – whose stated mission is to create her own obsolescence – through a series of carefully orchestrated, though just as self-effacing, submissive sexual encounters, dissociation gives way to hints of self-conscious introspection. While the introduction of her charmingly argumentative family provides context as to how relinquishing a sense of control and feeling yourself fade into non-existence might be liberating, Ann soon discovers there may be limits. With a deadpan, sardonic humor and an unabashed authenticity, Arnow’s boundary-pushing narrative debut speaks to the frustrations of a generation terrified of sincerely wanting anything.

Good Bad Things

Sarasota Film Festival 2024

Grand Jury and Audience Award Winner, 2024 Slamdance Film Festival. Danny, a young man with muscular dystrophy who is disillusioned by failed relationships, steps out of his comfort zone and into the world of online dating. An unexpected match with Madi, an enigmatic photographer, challenges him to be vulnerable and sparks a profound journey of self-acceptance, discovering the extraordinary beauty of his unique body. Lead actor Danny Kurtzman, a physically disabled actor, model, entrepreneur, and advocate for the disabled community who was diagnosed with a muscular dystrophy at a young age, plays the fictional Danny and has never let his disability stop him from doing anything he put his mind to. Today his passion lies in making this world a more powerful place for all disabled individuals. Danny uses his platform to spread his disability pride and tell the world that despite being physically disabled that he says “there’s nothing wrong with my body. It is perfect.”


In Attendance: Executive Producer Steve Way (April 7 only)

The Man In The White Van

Sarasota Film Festival 2024

East Coast Premiere. Inspired by a true story, The Man in the White Van delves into the eerie underbelly of a seemingly idyllic 1974 Florida town and follows the harrowing experience of young Annie Williams (Madison Wolfe), a spirited girl whose carefree existence is turned upside down as she becomes stalked by an ominous man in a white van. The tranquility of Annie’s world, from her love of horseback riding to her leisurely strolls home from school in the nearby woods, begins to crumble as the menacing van inches closer and closer. As her parents’ skepticism increasingly grows, Annie finds herself psychologically isolated, and on Halloween night her worst fears materialize. Headed by a stellar cast, the feature debut of director Warren Skeels is a gripping exploration of terror, paranoia, and the fragility of security in a place where darkness lurks beneath the surface. Based on actual events of the serial killer Billy Mansfield Jr., the film captures a bone-chilling story of a young girl’s unimaginable horrors and every parent’s worst nightmare.

Maka

Sarasota Film Festival 2024

Florida Premiere. In her book Reversing the Gaze, Cameroon-born, Italian resident and noted author Geneviéve Makaping comments on the embedded racism of contemporary Italy, emphasizing the way in race, color, gender and class intersect and perpetuate inequalities. In Maka, Makaping talks of her life in Italy and her perilous migration journey which led to her becoming the first Black news editor in that country. Through her story Maka speaks out against the media representation of immigrants and offers an evocative examination of the intersection between sexism and racism in the western world while introducing us to the diverse community to which she belongs, a microcosm that is a model of a multicultural society, albeit with its contradictions and idiosyncrasies.


Introduced by Patrizia La Trecchia, USF Professor and Advisor

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