If there is one get that SFF Director Tom Hall seems especially excited by, it is a visit this year by documentarian Barbara Kopple, who comes to town with the Centerpiece Documentary Running From Crazy. The Academy Award-winning director has been on Hall’s invite list for years, but 2013 marks the first time where everything worked out for her to come to Sarasota. Kopple will be here to accept the festival’s Director’s Award, the first non-fiction director to ever receive the honor.
Hall says Kopple’s 1976 doc Harlan County USA sparked his love of documentary film, and he has loved all her work from social commentary to rock-doc. “She is very adaptable to her subject matter,” Hall says.
She comes to town with Running from Crazy, a retrospective at the Hemingway family through the eyes and life of actress Mariel Hemingway. The actress, who worked steadily in TV and film since the late 1970s, will also be on hand to accept the festival’s Impact Award.
Hemingway is being honored for her work in suicide prevention, and of course her family is as almost as famous for its personal tragedies as for its contributions to literature and cinema. Most famously, legendary writer Ernest Hemingway, Mariel’s grandfather, killed himself in 1961, but suicide claimed many other lives in the family, including Mariel’s sister Margaux.
As for the line-up at the festival, Hall said there will be a clear balance between docs and narrative features. He is pleased that everybody announced so far for an award will be at the festival with a film screening here. That seems especially noteworthy given just how manay award are being given out. The Tribune luncheon will honor five filmmakers in various capacities, including both Kopple and Hemingway.