‘Laird Hamilton,’ ‘Paris Can Wait’ to Tentpole Sarasota Film Festival

The Sarasota Film Festival today announced Rory Kennedy’s documentary Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton as its Opening Night film and Eleanor Coppola’s Paris Can Wait (pictured) starring Diane Lane as its Closing Night film. It also announced Michael Almereyda’s Marjorie Prime and Barbara Kopple’s documentary This is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous as its Centerpiece films, a special screening of Jill Campbell’s documentary Mr. Chibbs focused on the life of former NBA star Kenny Anderson produced by Coastal Transportation President Barry Greenstein, and Aisha Tyler’s Axis as part of the Independent Visions Competition.

“This year’s festival is reflective of the power and strength women around the world showcase every day, and we couldn’t be happier,” said Mark Famiglio, President of the Sarasota Film Festival. “To have iconic and talented women such as Diane Lane, Rory Kennedy, and Aisha Tyler attend the festival this year is a great honor.”

From the release:

TAKE EVERY WAVE: THE LIFE OF LAIRD HAMILTON will open the festival on at 6:30pmon Friday, March 31st at the Sarasota Opera House. This in-depth portrait of the innovative athlete Laird Hamilton explores the American icon’s journey as he changes the sport of big wave surfing forever. Director Rory Kennedy will be in attendance and will be honored with the UN Women Impact Award at this year’s Tribute Luncheon to be held onFriday, March 31st at the Sarasota Yacht Club, along with the Through Women’s Eyes collaboration.

The annual luncheon marks the festival’s ongoing mission to create a collaborative environment for women in the industry and to celebrate women who have made significant contributions to the art of film.

Academy-nominated® Diane Lane will be in attendance for the festival’s Closing Night film PARIS CAN WAIT, a romantic-comedy directed by Eleanor Coppola starring Lane and Alec Baldwin. The film will screen Saturday, April 8th at the Sarasota Opera House. Lane will be presented with the Sarasota Film Festival Award for Cinematic Excellence and will also participate in SFF’s “In Conversation with…” series on Saturday, April 8th at the Florida Studio Theatre.

Also participating in the festivals “In Conversation with…” series is Aisha Tyler (“Archer,” “The Talk,”) who will be attending at the festival with her feature-length directorial debut AXIS, slated in the festival’s Independent Visions Competition section.

The Centerpiece section will feature Michael Almereyda’s MARJORIE PRIME, based on Jordan Harrison’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated play of the same name, and Barbara Kopple’s documentary THIS IS EVERYTHING: GIGI GORGEOUS about a champion diver transitioning from male to female.

The festival will also be holding a special screening of MR. CHIBBS, a documentary about the life of former NBA star Kenny Anderson directed by Jill Campbell and produced by President of Coastal Transportation Barry Greenstein. The film will screen for students from the nearby IMG Academy and Boys & Girls Club of Sarasota County as a local initiative. Students will have the opportunity to attend motivational speaking engagements with Kenny Anderson himself.

The 19th annual Sarasota Film Festival, which will take place from March 31st to April 9th, greatly appreciates the support of its corporate sponsors, including the Amicus Foundation, The Famiglio Family, Regal Entertainment Group, Florida Design Works, Sack Family Foundation, BLVD. Sarasota, Boar’s Head, and Wallack Family Fund.



Director: Rory Kennedy

Producers: Rory Kennedy, Paul Speaker, Mark Bailey, Jack Youngelson

Big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton has always seemed like an action figure sprung to life, complete with extraordinary physical abilities, a penchant for criss-crossing the globe, and a complete lack of fear. In director Rory Kennedy’s exhilarating, careening and intimate documentary, we follow the charismatic Hamilton during a winter surf season on Hawaii’s Kauai Island, where Hamilton grew up and where an approaching El Nino storm system may now provide unprecedented waves for him to conquer. A competitive surfer since he was a teenager, Hamilton’s 30-plus years of celebrity has gone along with alongside a willingness to always challenge himself on his board. He’s dabbled in modeling and acting, introduced technical innovations into the sport, and famously rode a “wave of heaviest consequence” in Tahiti in 2000. With extraordinary images, Kennedy brings to the surface Hamilton’s story both in and out of the water, showing how both have been filled with epic moves. Dive in!



Director/ Producer: Eleanor Coppola

Cast: Diane Lane, Arnaud Viard, Alec Baldwin

Eleanor Coppola’s narrative directorial and screenwriting debut stars Academy Award® nominee Diane Lane as a Hollywood producer’s wife who unexpectedly takes a trip through France, which reawakens her sense of self and her joie de vivre. Anne (Lane) is at a crossroads in her life. Long married to a successfully driven but inattentive movie producer (Alec Baldwin), she finds herself taking a car trip from Cannes to Paris with a business associate of her husband (Arnaud Viard). What should be a seven-hour drive turns into a journey of discovery involving picturesque sights, fine food and wine, humor, wisdom, and much more.



Director: Michael Almereyda

Producer: Uri Singer

Cast: Jon Hamm, Geena Davis, Lois Smith, Tim Robbins

Can lost memories be re-learned? Marjorie (Lois Smith) sits in her quiet home, suffering from dementia, hearing about her life from a “Prime” — a hologram (Jon Hamm) in the younger form of Marjorie’s dead husband Walter. As Marjorie bonds with the unemotional would-be Walter, Marjorie’s daughter and son-in-law (Hope Davis and Tim Robbins) find that altering the past is as slippery as it seems. Director Michael Almeryda’s thoughtful drama poses questions of ethics and identity, with a terrific ensemble led by a pitch-perfect Hamm (MAD MEN).


Director: Barbara Kopple

Producers: Barbara Kopple, David Cassidy

A transgender Youtube star, Gigi Lazzarato, aka Gigi Gorgeous, tells the tale of her life, transition and fame in this intimate documentary by acclaimed Academy Award® winner Barbara Kopple (HARLAN COUNTY USA, AMERICAN DREAM, MISS SHARON JONES). Formerly a competitive diver, Gregory Lazzarato’s path to who she really was includes losing her mother to cancer, coming out as gay and living out loud to over 2.4 million Youtube subscribers. Kopple’s incisive style and Gigi’s glitzy reinvention make for a compelling study of an unforgettable journey.



Director: Jill Campbell

Producers: Jill Campbell, Barry Greenstein, Dr. Michael J. Brunetti, John Getz, Gregory Gerhard

Former NBA All-Star and New York City basketball prodigy Kenny Anderson finds himself in the midst of a mid-life crisis ten years post-retirement. Having faced both his mother’s death and subsequent DUI, Anderson is forced to confront his questionable choices and adopt the father role that he previously neglected. On his journey of rehabilitation, Chibbs visits people and arenas from his past to reflect and discover what life is like after his famous title fades away.



Director: Aisha Tyler

Producers: Aisha Tyler, Barry Sonders, Lemar Vertel Scott, R. Vaughn Gill

Cast: Emmett Hughes

Actress Aisha Tyler (TV- ARCHER, THE TALK, WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY?, CRIMINAL MINDS), in her directorial debut, shoots an entire film inside one car in Los Angeles. It’s not a great day for Tristan (Emmett Hughes, who is also the screenwriter) – his life is falling apart and everyone is abandoning him at his time of need. Taut, tense, claustrophobic, and dramatic.



Director: Max Heller

Producers: Raymond Hauserman, Max Heller, William Mahoney

Cast: Rosanna Arquette, Jay Devore, David Coussins

Lonely and frazzled New York social worker Judy (Rosanna Arquette) constantly messes up her own life. Her son Marty (Jay Devore) is trying to be creative in his advertising career and be a good boyfriend to Leslie (Keesha Sharp). When Marty’s free-spirited Aussie pal Rawl (David Coussins) shows up, Marty hires Rawl to see Judy and “restore her to health” — any way it takes. Director Max Heller’s heartfelt, ensemble comedy is filled with wry, sly, funny and sexy connections reminiscent of Nora Ephron, Woody Allen and Rob Reiner’s romantic concoctions.


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