Treat Williams Explores Politics in ‘The Congressman,’ ‘Confirmation’

Politics has provided a backdrop to Treat Williams’ acting career dating back to his breakout role as anti-war hippie Berger in Hair. Now, Williams appears on-screen in this election year portraying members of the elected class—both historic and fictional—in a pair of films exploring divisive discourse in Washington, D.C.

In The Congressman, the Closing Night Film for the Sarasota Film Festival, Williams portrays principled Congressman Charlie Winship, a politician who finds himself in a public relations nightmare after declining to recite the Pledge of Allegiance to start the workday. Sarasota cinephiles saw the only festival screening of the comedy on April 9 at the Sarasota Opera House. The film will open in New York and Los Angeles on April 29. But before that, Williams fans can see the actor portray the late Sen. Ted Kennedy in Confirmation, a film exploring the controversial Clarence Thomas confirmation to the Supreme Court that premieres on HBO this Saturday, April 16. We spoke with Williams at the Longboat Key Club Resort about both roles. Continue reading Treat Williams Explores Politics in ‘The Congressman,’ ‘Confirmation’

Leslie Glass Wins National Award for Recovery Doc

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Leslie Glass

Like many families throughout the nation, Leslie Glass has seen the challenges of addiction unfold in her own family. But even if her children had never experimented with drugs and alcohol, she had a pretty good idea of what substance abuse could do to people. “Everybody knows what addiction looks like,” Glass said. “We have all seen that produced in movies and television series.” But as she led her daughter Lindsey through recovery, Glass hungered for different imagery, and when she didn’t find it, she made a documentary herself, the 2011 film The Secret World of Recovery.

The film, shot as Leslie and Lindsey traveled the country speaking with people about the recovery process, will be honored on Saturday by the American Society of Addiction Medicine with the organization’s annual Media Award. After its debut five years ago at the Van bezel Performing Arts Hall, the documentary has become a widely viewed film among others seeking recovery.

Glass figures the film also has earned the attention of the medical community now in large part to her and Lindsey’s other work for recovering addicts. Glass serves today as the founding CEO for the Sarasota-based Reach Out Recovery, the largest nonprofit recovery portal on the internet. The website shares personal stories of recovery and directs users to resources for fighting addiction.

But while the personal honor gratifies Glass, she most appreciates that more professionals identify substance abuse not simply as a social problem but a public health matter. She notes startling statistics, such as the 38,000 annual deaths from opiate abuse, a mere 11 percent of identified addicts undergoing treatment “Addiction is the No. 1 health issue in America, and it has been for a long time,” she said. “I think the press, the media and the world is beginning to understand and does not want to tolerate the number of deaths we have.”

The award will be given to Glass at the ASAM Annual Conference in Baltimore, Maryland this Saturday.

‘Men & Chicken,”Cameraperson,’ ‘Ma’ Big Winners at Sarasota Film Festival

The Sarasota Film Festival announced winners in its major juried categories for 2016. Men & Chicken won the Narrative Feature Jury Prize, while Cameraperson won the Documentary Jury Prize. Meanwhile, Ma took the Independent Visions Award, which comes with a distribution deal from Factory 25. The top award for Animated Shorts went to The Itching, Killer won Narrative Short and My Aleppo won Documentary Short.

Read a full list of awards, including special jury awards, audience awards and other recognitions, below the fold: Continue reading ‘Men & Chicken,”Cameraperson,’ ‘Ma’ Big Winners at Sarasota Film Festival