A riveting documentary about the Fall of Saigon. A story of a Native American outlaw on the run starring and directed by a rising talent. And one of the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s last works before his untimely death. The line-up for this year’s Sarasota Film Festival includes a variety of films already receiving raves out of such festivals as Sundance and South By Southwest, not to mention quite a few promising premieres already earning industry buzz. The complete line-up of for the 2014 festival, which runs April 4-13, was announced shortly before a special event at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, and organizers for the coming event were confident the 252 films being screened here will challenge and entertain audiences. “I’m really impressed we secured many of these films,” said SFF Chairman Mark Famiglio.
Rory Kennedy, whose documentary Ethel took the audience award for Best Documentary home from Sarasota in 2012, will rerun to Sarasota for a screening of Last Days In Vietnam at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall on the opening night of the festival. The work is one SFF staffers came home from Sundance raving about, and it plays perfectly with a partnership with The Patterson Foundation’s Legacy of Valor campaign.
“The film itself is a perfect fit for our partnership with Legacy Of Valor and our focus on veterans this year,” said SFF Director Tom Hall, “so we knew once we saw it that it would be a perfect Opening Night movie for 2014. Rory Kennedy has been a friend and champion of the festival since attending with Ethel and I know her previous experiences here made that invitation a lot easier for us to send.”
Other tentpole films include: Closing Night film The One I Love, directed by Charles McDowell and starring Elizabeth Moss and Mark Duplass; Centerpiece feature God’s Pocket, starring Hoffman and directed by John Slattery; and Centerpiece documentary Ivory Tower, by director Andrew Rossi.
Another director sure to grab headlines in Jason Momoa, best known for his acting work in Conan the Barbarian and on Game of Thrones. He comes to Sarasota with his directorial debut, Road to Paloma (pictured above), which is also serving as a Spotlight Film.
But throughout the program are gems for a wide range of film audiences. Frank, a Michael Fassbender film now exciting audiences at SXSW, was included as a Spotlight Film. Dangerous Acts, a documentary about The Unstable Elements if Belarus, will surely excite Ringling International Arts Festival goers who saw the group this year. And Supermensch, a documentary directed by comedian Mike Myers, explores the life of rock manager Shep Gordon.