Tag Archives: Van Wezel

Loren proves eternally mesmerizing at Sarasota Q&A

Whether she was detailing a childhood hiding away from bombers each night during World War II or she was assessing which leading man was the best kisser, screen legend Sophia Loren captivated a crowd if listeners in Sarasota Thursday night. And even as she suggested a wariness about talking about her own experiences instead of embodying a fictional character—“in front of the camera I am reciting lines written by someone else, not going out there to tell the story of my life”—the 81-year-old radiated with same magnetic persona that turned her into a star and Academy Award-winning actress while still in her 20s.

Loren sat down for a Q&A with Bill Harris, a former reporter for Entertainment Tonight and The Hollywood Reporter. At the event, Sarasota Film Festival President Mark Famiglio presented Loren with the annual Legend award for her career onscreen (pictured above). Continue reading Loren proves eternally mesmerizing at Sarasota Q&A

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.

Kennedy, Vets captivate audience at Last Days in Vietnam screening

Director Rory Kennedy received a warm welcome from Sarasota Film Festival-goers on Friday night when her most recent documentary, Last Days in Vietnam, kicked off the 10-day event. But at a Q&A after the screening, it was the gathered veterans who lived through the Fall of Saigon firsthand who repeatedly had the crowd on the feet. Continue reading Kennedy, Vets captivate audience at Last Days in Vietnam screening

‘Last Days In Vietnam’ – Rory Kennedy’s Return To The Sarasota Film Festival – Veterans’ Perspective


The remaining Marines are barricaded on the roof of the US Embassy in what was then Saigon, waiting for an evacuation they find themselves unsure will come. In the building below and crowding the streets in every direction are hundreds of Vietnamese men, women and children. Some are combatants, many are just trying not to be left behind. A few miles off the coast, in the waters of the South China Sea, a fleet of US Naval carriers struggles to receive the massive influx of evacuees. Warships hastily transformed into humanitarian vessels, the decks are soon too crowded and helicopters can’t land, instead hovering as their occupants leap. This is the Fall of Saigon and the biggest helicopter evacuation the world has ever seen.

Continue reading ‘Last Days In Vietnam’ – Rory Kennedy’s Return To The Sarasota Film Festival – Veterans’ Perspective