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.
Partridge, who also stars in the film, said the win was important for the future of the film. While festival organizers had regularly talked the movie, about a man who lost his father and tried to rediscover the goodness in himself after connecting with an 11-year-old girl, was among the best in the 250-plus line-up of films, it was far from expected that a jury would give the award normally given to the best of cutting edge cinema projected on Sarasota screens in a given year.
“It’s not just exciting to win something,” Partridge said. “This is a very challenging movie.” He said the award will help in the trajectory of the work. The filmmaker still did not have a distributor signed to a deal. At the very least, this award comes with the chance for distribution with Factory 25.
From here, Lamb goes to the Montclair Film Festival, incidentally the festival that former SFF Director Tom Hall left Sarasota to run. Like Hall, Lamb now arrives in New Jersey with a strong endorsement from Florida’s Suncoast.