Michael Dunaway offers glimpse of SFF gems

As programmers for the Sarasota Film Festival narrowed down the list of documentaries that would be included in this year’s line-up, Programming Director Michael Dunaway says a problem arose. With only so many slots for competition films, Spotlight events and Centerpiece showcases, the festival had nearly twice as many movies to choose from as it has prestigious honors to bestow. “In the universe of films, this is an especially strong year for documentaries,” he laments with a smile.

So we asked Dunaway which films deserved some special attention, and he offered this crib list for anyone who can’t decide which ticket to buy: Continue reading Michael Dunaway offers glimpse of SFF gems

Sarasota Film Festival: Thomas Nudi Spotlights Florida Filmmaking With ‘Monty Comes Back’

“I told myself when I was 18 years old that if I didn’t make my first feature film by 27, I was going to kill myself,” said Bradenton writer/director Thomas Nudi, whose first feature-length film, the semi-autobiographical comedy Monty Comes Back, premieres at the 2016 Sarasota Film Festival. “That sounds dark, but it’s a promise that I wouldn’t let myself down.” Continue reading Sarasota Film Festival: Thomas Nudi Spotlights Florida Filmmaking With ‘Monty Comes Back’

Olympia Dukakis, George Hamilton, Rosie Perez, Matthew Modine all attending Sarasota Film Festival

HamiltonThe Sarasota Film Festival announced a line-up including actors Olympia Dukakis, George Hamilton, Rosie Perez and Matthew Modine, all of whom will do Q&As sometime during the 10-day event in April.

The festival runs from April 1-10 this year, a day after the festival brings Sophia Loren in for an award-event on March 31.

Other People, a film starring Molly Shannon and Bradley Whitford that earned rave reviews at Sundance, will open this year’s festival at an April 1 event, while The Congressman, a movie penned by real U.S. Rep. Robert Mrazek, will help close the festival the following weekend. The latter film brings with it stars George Hamilton and Treat Williams.

PerezActress Rosie Perez, in town with Narrative Centerpiece Five Nights in Maine, will participate in another In Conversation event, and actor Matthew Modine, who narrates the Closing Weekend Documentary The Brainwashing of my Dad, will attend a special screening of the war classic Full Metal Jacket.

The festival for 2016 will unveil a new nonfiction honor, the D.A. Pennebaker/Chris Hegedus Award. “These are some of the greatest living documentary filmmakers,” said Programming Director Michael Dunaway. The two will be in attendance with the Documentary Centerpiece Unlocking The Cage, which follows an attorney’s efforts to give trapped animals personhood rights. And beloved documentarian Barbara Kopple will come to town to present the pair with their namesake award.

Josh Radnor will also be in attendance with a special screening of Liberal Arts while actress Rutanya Alda comes to town for a special screening of cult classic Mommie Dearest.


Sophia Loren to Recieve Legend Award from Sarasota Film Festival

The Sarasota Film Festival this year will kick off with a visit by Sophia Loren, who will be presented with the 2016 Legend Award at a special event at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall on March 31. Loren won an Academy Award for her performance in La Ciociara an an honorary Oscar in 1991 recognizing her entire body of work.

“What an honor it is for the Sarasota Film Festival to bestow our Legend Award to the incredible, world -renowned talent, Sophia Loren,” said Mark Famiglio, President of the Sarasota Film Festival.  “Sophia’s legacy and work is a true representation of the arts and culture that we strive to bring to this community year after year. As we enter our 18th festival, there is no better way to celebrate than to recognize the iconic Ms. Loren.”

Mary Bensel, executive director of the Van Wezel, said the move to hold the event on the eve of the 10-day festival’s kickoff showed the strong relationship between the venue and the festival. “We are delighted that the SFF will be honoring one of the film world’s greatest living legends, Ms. Sophia Loren. In the past we have collaborated on bringing some of the screen world’s biggest legends to the Hall.”

The Sarasota Film Festival official runs April 1-10.

Ringling Grads Feel Joy of Oscar win for ‘Inside Out’

Thirteen Ringling College graduates and five personified emotions all can lay some claim to this year’s Academy Award winner for Best Animated Feature. Inside Out, Pixar Studios’ most recent feature film, won the Oscar Sunday night and officials at the Sarasota College have basked in joy ever since.

“We are proud and impressed with the continual achievements of our graduates,” said Jim McCampbell, Ringling College Computer Animation department head. “We applaud their recognition by the Academy and congratulate them and Pixar on the worldwide acknowledgement Inside Out has received.” Continue reading Ringling Grads Feel Joy of Oscar win for ‘Inside Out’