Walking the red carpet on Friday for the world premiere of Walt Before Mickey at the inaugural Skyway Film Festival, director Khoa Le seemed at ease, despite his feature-length debut only moments from opening in the Land of Disney itself. Written by Arthur Bernstein and Armando Gutierrez (who also stars) and from the book of the same name by Timothy Susanin, Walt Before Mickey chronicles the early struggles of the visionary artist and his initial forays into animation fraught with pitfalls and potholes. And like the subject, the film, starring Thomas Ian Nicholas (American Pie) as Disney and Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite) as older brother, Roy, had its own rocky start, but nothing Le says his team couldn’t overcome. Continue reading Director Khoa Le Talks Disney, Vision and ‘Walt Before Mickey’
With screenings set to commence in little under two weeks time, the Skyway Film Festival this morning unveiled programming for its inaugural run, slating over 50 films, including narratives, documentaries, features and shorts for the festival’s three-day run, as well as multiple workshops led by industry professionals in the Skyway Labs series. Among the festival’s guests, director Dan Myrick will be in attendance with a special retrospective screening of his horror film-turned-phenomenon, The Blair Witch Project, followed by a Q&A session. Continue reading Skyway Film Festival Unveils Programming: Horror in the Main Slate, Keeping it Local and the Business of Showbiz
The Skyway Film Festival is kicking off its programming with some Florida flair by bringing the world premiere of Walt Before Mickey to the screen for an opening night celebration sponsored by Feld Entertainment. Shot in Florida, the film investigates the life of Walt Disney before he became a household name and animation powerhouse, Walt Before Mickey takes a closer look at his childhood growing up in Missouri and the path he took to discovering what would become his most recognizable creation. Based upon the book of the same name by Timothy S. Susanin, the film marks the feature-length debut for director Khoa Lee and stars Thomas Ian Nicholas as Disney, and Jon Heder. “There isn’t a better film to kick off our inaugural film festival,” said Joe Restaino, artistic director for Skyway, describing Disney as “one of the most impactful entertainment pioneers in the history of film.” Continue reading Skyway Film Festival Gears Up With Opening And Closing Night Films
When director Brett Haley first came to the Sarasota Film Festival five years ago, he was immediately concerned. His directorial debut, The New Year, had sold just 10 tickets, so he started hustling on the streets, begging folks to see a micro-budget shot with no recognizable actors in Pensacola, Florida. He would leave after three days—he had a paying job shooting a Levi’s commercial that took priority—so he wasn’t in town to year that his work more than paid off. The New Year won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature. “That was crazy,” he recalls. “And then that movie got a lot more traction because it won here.”
Haley was back in Sarasota this week, this time with better billing from the start. I’ll See You In My Dreams, the director’s second feature, served as the Closing Night Film for this year’s Sarasota Film Festival, bolstered by a marquis performance from Blythe Danner and solid supporting work from an all-star cast. Continue reading Haley Discusses Blythe Danner, Senior Sex and Why ‘I’ll See You In My Dreams’ Nearly Shot in SWFL
It’s safe to say it was a surprise to Ross Partridge when his film, Lamb, won the Independent Visions competition at the Sarasota Film Festival on Friday. You could tell just from his seat in the theater. A more confident director might have seated himself near the front of the theater, at least the ground floor. But Partridge situated himself in the balcony near the back of the Sarasota Opera House, far from the stairway to go on stage.
From the world of James Bond the wild west around Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, Jane Seymour has stayed active on screen bringing characters to life. In Bereave, a Spotlight film at this year’s Sarasota Film Festival, she played opposite Malcolm McDowell in a film that explores a couple facing the prospect of death. Seymour spoke with SRQ about bringing this picture to Sarasota. Continue reading Jane Seymour Believes ‘Bereave’ Work Among Her Best
On this last big day, there are once again some tough choices to make. There are some enticing movie choices to catch though the day—Results, starring Colbie Smulders, at 10:15 at Regal, Tyke Elephant Outlaw at 12:15 at the Opera House, Select(Ed) at 1:30 at Regal and Radiator at 2:45 at the Opera House all stand out to us. But today we will walk you through the special opportunities to mingle with some of Hollywood’s most important talents and professionals.
12:00 — Tea By The Sea An incredible venue for an “In Conversation…” installment, this lunch with legendary actress Blythe Danner will be hosted at the Ritz-Carlton Beach Club overlooking the beachfront at Lido Key. enjoy a two-course meal and Meet (one of) The Parents—see what we did there?
2:45 — In Conversation with Tom Browne While we have to admit the star-stalker in us is excited to see special guest and Academy Award-winning actress Rachel Weisz, this writer-director is the mind behind Radiator, one of the buzziest films at the festival this year and is picking up the Emerging World Cinema Auteur Award in Sarasota, so expect a meaty and fascinating talk. The event is at Florida Studio Theater.
4:00 — In Conversation with Lynda Obst Don’t recognize Obst by name? No matter. You have almost certainly seen work. A producer who helped bring to screen Intersteller, The Fisher King and Flashdance, among many others, Obst is one of the most accomplished filmmakers in town this weekend with plenty to say for the cinephile or budding film professional. Hear her at Florida Studio Theater.
6:00 — Closing Night The festival culminates tonight in an awards ceremony that starts at 6pm, then a screening of I’ll See You In My Dreams, starring Danner, at 7pm, all at the Sarasota Opera House. This truly is the moment many filmmakers have been waiting for all week, and will be a time when all the stars in town gather with all the rising cinematic minds in one place.
11:37 — 1137 Unwrap Party This anything-but-stodgy affair gives the chance to unwind. Yes, we know there is technically one more day of films and festival programming, but this evening event has historically served as the last great hurrah for a weeklong series of creative indulgence. Head to the Starlite Room on Cocoanut.