Attendance Rockets For Sarasota Film Festival in 2015

Ticket sales at the Sarasota Film Festival this year were up by approximately 16 percent over last year, organizers said, as the event spread into venues with higher seating capacity and attracted more out-of-town guests to the region. The festival this year ran from April 9-19 with appearances by stars including Rachel Weicz, Jane Seymour, Ben Vereen, Blythe Danner and Syesha Mercado. “It has garnered a lot of national and international recognition that has only built up over the years, this year being no exception,” said SFF President Mark Famiglio, pictured above with Mercado. Festival officials revealed total attendance figures of approximately 58,000. By comparison, total attendance came in around 50,000. Costs were also up this year but Famiglio said the festival remains financially healthy. Organizers say the guests saw increases in both in-town and out-of-town guests. The festival this year screened more than a dozen films in the Sarasota Opera House, a venue once only used for tentpole screenings, and also incorporated event venues such as Florida Studio Theatre and McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre. While the majority of screenings still took place in regular movie theaters at the Regal Hollywood 20, high attendance led to more numbers of screenings there as well. In the end, Famiglio said, the festival hosted just under 300 separate screenings, as well as five panels and four “In Conversation…” events. The Florida festival hosts 38 world premieres of films this year, and programed 33 Florida-based films. There were 237 out-of-area filmmakers hosted by the festival.

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