ManaSota Films Marches On, Searching For Venue

Allaying concerns raised by the sudden cancellation of October’s monthly ManaSota Films Meet-Up at Lakewood Ranch Cinemas, founder Mark Troy reported the organization is in fine shape, but will be looking for a new home.

Lakewood Ranch Cinemas, by virtue of the Sarasota Film Society, has housed the group of area filmmakers and cinephiles for one Wednesday a month, free of charge, for the past two and a half years, providing a venue and a screen for local films. Now, without hard feelings or drama, Troy said that ManaSota Films and Lakewood Ranch Cinemas will part ways, but that ManaSota continues in its mission.

“We had a great time there,” Troy said, “but we’re going to have to explore some options with other venues moving forward.” Seemingly decided on the Lakewood Ranch Cinemas side, Troy said the decision “was a surprise,” but that perhaps his group “took it for granted,” having such a space. Reserving a screen for ManaSota free of charge every Wednesday means lost revenue for the theater, and Troy always encouraged attendees to patronize the concession stand, but he suspects the decision was financial in nature. When contacted, a representative for the Sarasota Film Society said, “It’s just something that didn’t work out.”

But the ManaSota meet-ups will continue, said Troy, taking a month to reorganize and plan for a triumphant return in November, when the group will celebrate its three-year anniversary with a special gathering and ‘Best Of’ reel highlighting outstanding ManaSota entries over its tenure. “We’ve got a lot of good stuff to pick from,” said Troy, “and everyone’s going to have a great time.”

Currently searching for a new venue, talks have been “extremely constructive,” said Troy. “The community is fine and growing,” he continued. “It’s just a matter of venue.”

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