Robot, Dark Horse and African Skies to Highlight SFF

The Sarasota Film Festival just announced the three movies that will serve as the tent-pole films for this year’s event. Jake Schreier’s Robot and Frank will open the festival on April 13. Todd Solondz’s Dark Horse will be the centerpiece film and Joe Berlinger’s Under African Skies will close the event out on April 22.

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In that picture above, you may recognize Frank Langella (left) from his Oscar-nominated turn as Richard Nixon in the 2008 biopic Frost/NixonYou may think you recognize the other star (right) from Radio Shack, but your wrong. The film, which SFF officials saw at Sundance, is a sci-fi-buddy-heist film about a budding friendship between a retired thief and his robotic caretaker, voiced by Peter Sarsgaard. After its initial festival screenings earlier this year, the film earned rave reviews. The Hollywood Reporter suggested the film’s odd premise still produced a touching storyline. “Any distributor that can’t sell a crowd-pleaser like this is in the wrong business,” write critic John DeFore. And we are sure all those Unscripted fans out there will be excited to learn Langella will attend SFF this year, as will director Schreier.

The 2011 film Dark Horse will bring director Solondz to SFF for the first time. The movie follows Abe (Jordan Gelber) as he tries to rise above a life in real estate to find love with Miranda (Selma Blair). Considered a more mainstream outing for the emotion-inducing director, the film has drawn attention during its own run around the festival circuit.

And then there is Under African Skies. This film, an A&E Indie Films Release, takes an unusual look at singing legend Paul Simon’s 1985 sojourn into South Africa to record the classic album Graceland. His trip at the time was seen by many as a violation of an international boycott of South Africa over apartheid, even though the album helped introduce world music to the masses.

A complete line-up of films for this year’s festival will be announced later this month. Keep following SRQ Mag Backlot for all the complete news on the festival.

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