Michael Dunaway, the new programming director for the Sarasota Film Festival, has been to his share of cinema events, and watched plenty of great movies. But the changing world of high-quality home entertainment and accessible video-on-demand means festivals can no longer just promise nice films. “Make it worth it for audiences to leave the comfort of homes and come to the theater,” he said during a lengthy Q&A with SRQ Backlot. Dunaway in the 30-minute interview touched on his own plans on spending time in Sarasota, the programming legacy at SFF and even the possibility of bringing more music to the festival. Continue reading SFF’s Michael Dunaway: ‘Provide Memorable Experiences’
The Sarasota Film Festival in the past decade and a half has developed a reputation in the independent film world to rival the best regional festivals in the world. Much of that came from affability, taste and determination of Tom Hall, the festival director who has played some role in programming the event for a decade but is leaving the Suncoast for the bright cinema scene in Montclair New Jersey.
But Hall said he will make himself available to the Sarasota festival organization for a full transition as needed. “I’ve completely left that up the organization at this point,” he said. “I’m happy to help them out and do whatever I can.”
Tom Hall, director of the Sarasota Film Festival, is stepping down to take over as executive director of the Montclair Film Festival in New Jersey. Hall has spent a decade in a leadership position with the Sarasota festival, helping establish the organization’s reputation within the world of independent film. Continue reading Tom Hall Steps Down as Sarasota Film Festival Director
Sarasota Film Festival Director Tom Hall swung by the WSRQ Studios on Wednesday and discussed Last Days in Vietnam, the documentary that opens the Sarasota Film Festival tomorrow night. Venice veteran Randy Smith, one of the Marines who was there to eyewitness the Fall of Saigon play out in real time, also called in and gave a simply riveting account of the film. Click here to listen to the interview.
The festival kicks off tomorrow night at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, when veterans are invited to walk the same red carpet where Last Days director Rory Kennedy will make her entrance.
Jeremy Xido, director of Death Metal Angola, said Sarasota so far has embraced his film and his message on the poet of music. Last night, he found tremendous reception at Growler’s Pub, where a party was hosted celebrating music, the movie and the Sarasota Film Festival. “It was the festival hangout of the night,” he said.
It was just one of the exciting things the director has encountered since arriving in Sarasota. His first night here, he witnessed an explosion. No really, an explosion. Continue reading First Death Metal Angola, Now Dune Train
SFF Director Tom Hall tonight said the theme to The Third Man, Roger Eberts favorite film, will lay in honor of the just passed movie critic.
“Remember everything he did for film,” Hall said.
Could there be four tentpole films in this year’s Sarasota Film Festival line-up? It a very real possibility, according to festival director Tom Hall. “We may have two centerpiece films—a documentary and a fiction film—as well a Closing Night Film and Opening Night Film,” he said.
That could also bring more marquis stars to the event this year. Past tentpole films have often determined which headliners end up on the red carpet here. Think Woody Harrelson with The Messenger, Frank Langella with Robot and Frank or Jordan Gelber with Dark Horse. These are the films that attract many a casual festival observer to attend events at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall and Sarasota Opera House.
But whether a new centerpiece is added or not, it seems certain the film festival schedule will be larger than ever, Hall told SRQ Backlot in an interview earlier this week. “I’ve got films up to my eyeballs,” he said. “I’m very optimistic about what we have to select from this year.”