The Fabulous Independent Film Festival this week announced its full line-up of films.

The event runs September 30 through October 2. The festival has moved out from the auspices of the Sarasota Film Society and under the oversight of the Harvey Milk Festival, but the spirit in true independence, both in the sense of film and of the individual, remains clear in the festival’s programming. Festival founder Magda Diouri promises the event this year will showcase self-discovery. “I don’t start with a theme in mind,” Diouri says. “It appears throughout the selection process. This year’s theme is ‘finding oneself.”

The LGBT-themed event will open with a screening of Closet Monster, starring True Crime’s Connor Jessup. The movie won Best Canadian Feature Film at the Toronto International Film Festival. There will also be a special beachfront screening Real Boy. An exact location for the screening has yet to be announced. Other films will screen at Burns Court Cinema. An Opening Night Party will be held September 30 at Made, starting at 10pm.

This will be the fifth year of the event since it relaunched as the Fabulous Independent Film Festival. Last year, Diouri turned the independent event, itself an offshoot of the Film Society’s Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.

Read the Sept. 8 edition of SRQ Daily to learn more about the event.

Closet Monster, 7:30pm, 9/30


The film follows the emotionally scarred life of Oscar (True Crime’s Connor Jessup), a gay Canadian teen guided by his ‘spirit animal’ Buffy the hamster (voiced by Isabella Rossellini) during his first tumultuous boyfriend experience. The film has won numerous awards including Best Canadian Feature Film at The Toronto International Film Festival.

Where Are You Going Habibi?, 1pm, 10/1

Ibrahim, a young German of Turkish Descent, leads a dual life: he lives with his tradition-bound family, but outside home he is a confident gay man looking to find love and a job. 

Me, Myself and Her, 3:30pm, 10/1

An Italian comedic-drama exploring the dynamics between two mature women, Marina and Frederica. Marina is a once popular and loved actress, confident about her sexuality, whereas Frederica, a divorced architect is in a her first ever relationship with a woman.

Lazy Eye, 6pm, 10/1

Passions reignite and secrets are revealed when a graphic designer reconnects with the great, lost love of his life for a weekend tryst at a house in the desert near Joshua Tree.

Real Boy, 8:30p, 10/1, beach screening, location TBD

The documentary, which won the Audience Award at Frameline Film Festival, offers an intimate glimpse into the family life of a transgender adolescent male dealing with family conflict as he works on becoming a musician. Featured image above.

Love is All You Need?, 2:30pm, 10/2

When a female quarterback falls in love with a male journalist, they are harassed after their relationship becomes public in an overwhelmingly homosexual world where heterosexuality is publicly reviled. Based on the multi-award winning short film of the same name.

Hunky Dory, 5pm, 10/2

Sidney’s constant search for cash, drugs, and sex (with men and women) is interrupted when he finds his 11-year-old son Georgie in his apartment, dropped off by Sidney’s ex who has left town without warning or an explanation. Winner of Best Narrative at Slamdance Film Festival.

Tony Ahedo Brings Aspiring Serial Killer To Life

Sarasota filmmaker and Ringling College graduate Tony Ahedo heads to St. Petersburg today, where the pilot episode of his new web-series, Barry Baker: Aspiring Serial Killer, will premiere as an Official Selection of the Sunscreen Film Festival. Written and directed by Ahedo and starring Peter Konowicz, the planned series follows the bloody and comedic escapades of an earnest but inept Barry Baker as he struggles to find the courage and faculty to brutalize his officemates. Says Ahedo, “Nobody starts as a professional.” Continue reading Tony Ahedo Brings Aspiring Serial Killer To Life

Castille Landon directing Burt Reynolds, Amy Smart in Palmetto production

From memorable roles in films like Sex Ed and Paradise, FL and in television series like The Ghost Whisperer, Castille Landon has kept busy as an actress for close to a decade. But as she embarks on directing her second feature, which will be filmed entirely in the Palmetto area, Landon now sees a long future behind the lens. “As an actor, so much of your job is sitting by the phone waiting for a call that probably isn’t coming,” she tells SRQ. “I was working a lot, doing about three movies a year, but that still totals 20 to 30 days a year working. That was frustrating and I felt out of control of my own life.”

Now, Landon’s attentions are focused on directing And Then There Was Light, a film starring screen legend Burt Reynolds (Smokey and the Bandit)and Amy Smart (The Butterfly Effect, Road Trip) and written by Landon. The movie, about a young girl who begins to lose her eyesight after a horse riding accident, will be shot largely at the Southeastern Guide Dogs campus in Palmetto, as well as a nearby horse farm and other local spots. Continue reading Castille Landon directing Burt Reynolds, Amy Smart in Palmetto production

Treat Williams Explores Politics in ‘The Congressman,’ ‘Confirmation’

Politics has provided a backdrop to Treat Williams’ acting career dating back to his breakout role as anti-war hippie Berger in Hair. Now, Williams appears on-screen in this election year portraying members of the elected class—both historic and fictional—in a pair of films exploring divisive discourse in Washington, D.C.

In The Congressman, the Closing Night Film for the Sarasota Film Festival, Williams portrays principled Congressman Charlie Winship, a politician who finds himself in a public relations nightmare after declining to recite the Pledge of Allegiance to start the workday. Sarasota cinephiles saw the only festival screening of the comedy on April 9 at the Sarasota Opera House. The film will open in New York and Los Angeles on April 29. But before that, Williams fans can see the actor portray the late Sen. Ted Kennedy in Confirmation, a film exploring the controversial Clarence Thomas confirmation to the Supreme Court that premieres on HBO this Saturday, April 16. We spoke with Williams at the Longboat Key Club Resort about both roles. Continue reading Treat Williams Explores Politics in ‘The Congressman,’ ‘Confirmation’

Leslie Glass Wins National Award for Recovery Doc

Leslie Glass

Like many families throughout the nation, Leslie Glass has seen the challenges of addiction unfold in her own family. But even if her children had never experimented with drugs and alcohol, she had a pretty good idea of what substance abuse could do to people. “Everybody knows what addiction looks like,” Glass said. “We have all seen that produced in movies and television series.” But as she led her daughter Lindsey through recovery, Glass hungered for different imagery, and when she didn’t find it, she made a documentary herself, the 2011 film The Secret World of Recovery.

The film, shot as Leslie and Lindsey traveled the country speaking with people about the recovery process, will be honored on Saturday by the American Society of Addiction Medicine with the organization’s annual Media Award. After its debut five years ago at the Van bezel Performing Arts Hall, the documentary has become a widely viewed film among others seeking recovery.

Glass figures the film also has earned the attention of the medical community now in large part to her and Lindsey’s other work for recovering addicts. Glass serves today as the founding CEO for the Sarasota-based Reach Out Recovery, the largest nonprofit recovery portal on the internet. The website shares personal stories of recovery and directs users to resources for fighting addiction.

But while the personal honor gratifies Glass, she most appreciates that more professionals identify substance abuse not simply as a social problem but a public health matter. She notes startling statistics, such as the 38,000 annual deaths from opiate abuse, a mere 11 percent of identified addicts undergoing treatment “Addiction is the No. 1 health issue in America, and it has been for a long time,” she said. “I think the press, the media and the world is beginning to understand and does not want to tolerate the number of deaths we have.”

The award will be given to Glass at the ASAM Annual Conference in Baltimore, Maryland this Saturday.

‘Men & Chicken,”Cameraperson,’ ‘Ma’ Big Winners at Sarasota Film Festival

The Sarasota Film Festival announced winners in its major juried categories for 2016. Men & Chicken won the Narrative Feature Jury Prize, while Cameraperson won the Documentary Jury Prize. Meanwhile, Ma took the Independent Visions Award, which comes with a distribution deal from Factory 25. The top award for Animated Shorts went to The Itching, Killer won Narrative Short and My Aleppo won Documentary Short.

Read a full list of awards, including special jury awards, audience awards and other recognitions, below the fold: Continue reading ‘Men & Chicken,”Cameraperson,’ ‘Ma’ Big Winners at Sarasota Film Festival

Your peek behind the scenes of Sarasota, Florida's growing film industry

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