Perhaps the testiest moments of an SFF town hall this month came when Dayle Hoffman, a local director and the force behind the Creative Minds Soirees, asked that better participation occur between the local filmmaking community and the Sarasota Film Festival.
“How can they (SFF) say the want better partnerships but the film commission isn’t an entity?,” Hoffman asked.
Of course, various camps within both SFF and the Film and Entertainment Office of Sarasota County, commonly called the film commission, get a bit defensive about such a characterization. SFF Director Tom Hall noted the organizations do have different ends. “Our mission is not to make film; it is to showcase film,” Hall said.
Jeanne Corcoran, director of the commission, also jumped on this blog to make it clear her office loves having the festival in town. “Our film commission continues to be an active supporter as always (although we had to miss the Town Hall due to a scheduling conflict, much to our chagrin!),” she wrote in a message. “With its uninterrupted sponsorship for the last five years, again in 2012, the film commission is as always at the disposal of the festival to be of help in any way they can put us to good use.”
But SFF Chairman Mark Famiglio also threw in his two cents at the town hall, noting the film commission does not directly advertise the festival on its website. Famiglio went so far as to suggest everyone at the town hall email Corcoran and call for further involvement. “Demand further coverage,” he said. Update: Famiglio said he contacted Corcoran immediately after this happened and that the film commission was very cooperative, and now has a click-through to the festival on its website. A link is now prominent on the FilmSarasota.com site.
Hoffman said the groups, and for that matter the entire local film community, should work cooperatively to promote local filmmakers to those film industry officials who come to Sarasota only for the Sarasota Film Festival. She would like to see special areas set up to expose industry visitors all of the talent in the area and share everything from head shots for local actors to short films created by local directors.
Hall did seem amenable to that idea. “We’ve seen film production grow in this town,” he said. And of course, Hall also noted the festival would still have Florida-focused events and screenings such as the Cinema Tropicale event and a shorts presentation spotlighting local filmmakers.