Some really exciting news for the Sarasota-Bradenton are, the Florida Suncoast, the United States and the world! The Sarasota Film Festival (SFF) announced the lineup today for its first-ever virtual festival taking place Monday, April 26 – Sunday, May 3, 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the Sarasota Film Festival, in conjunction with the arts community of Sarasota, has curated a lineup of films including features, documentaries, shorts, and kid films for audiences to enjoy online.
Feature and documentary films in the virtual slate will include
AMERICAN TRIAL: THE ERIC GARNER STORY directed by Roee Messinger; BORN TO BE directed by Tania Cypriano; BRUISER directed by Jon Mark Nail; DARKNESS IN TENEMENT 45 directed by Nicole Groton; THE DOG DOC directed by Cindy Meehl; DRIVEN TO ABSTRACTION directed by Daria Price; EROTIC FIRE OF THE UNATTAINABLE directed by Frank Vitale; FILM ABOUT A FATHER WHO directed by Lynne Sachs; FOR FEAR OF KOFI directed by Marina Petrovskaia; LAND MINE directed by Tirtza Even; LIST(E)N directed by Juliana Tafur; MICROPLASTIC MADNESS directed by Atsuko Quirk, Debby Lee Cohen; MURMUR directed by Heather Young; PACARETTE directed by Allan Deberton; REVIVAL directed by Josefina Rotman Lyons; RIDE TILL I DIE directed by Tony Rammos; RUTH WEISS, THE BEAT GODDESS directed by Melody C. Miller; SHEDDING directed by Jake Thomas; THIS IS NOT A BURIAL, IT’S A RESURRECTION directed by Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese; THE WAR AND PEACE OF TIM O’BRIEN directed by Aaron Matthews; A WAY OUT directed by Charles Clapsaddle, Durand Adams and Charles Williams; THE WOMAN WHO CLIMBS TREES directed by Puja Kolluru; and ZORO’S SOLO directed by Martin Busker. Additional films including animated, narrative, documentary and Florida-connected shorts are listed below.
From the president
“Now more than ever we feel the demand for entertainment and we are excited to work with local organizations to not only bring delightful and engaging films but ones that highlight the Sarasota and Florida community as a hub for the arts and as a global destination,” said Mark Famiglio, Co-Founder and President of the Sarasota Film Festival. “We thank all the filmmakers for sharing their work with us and hope our dedicated and loyal audiences find comfort and intrigue in these unique stories and voices.”
Tickets for the festival will go on sale beginning the first day of the festival. An all-access pass for all films in the program will cost $30, with each film or each shorts program costing $3.99 and educational programming free to audiences. To purchase tickets, find a complete schedule, and view films, visit the festival’s website or download the Sarasota Film Festival app available for free in the app store.
The virtual edition of the Sarasota Film Festival greatly appreciates the support of its sponsors from the Sarasota community including: Famiglio Family, Amicus Foundation, 332 Cocoanut, Moon & Co Eyewear, Sage Restaurant, Sack Family, Wallack Family Fund, Sarasota County Film & Entertainment Office, New College, Ringling College, Gates Construction, DSDG architects, BMW/Lamborghini of Sarasota, Embassy Suites-Hilton as well as granting organization Sarasota County Tourist Development Cultural/Arts and the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs.
The festival will include an Audience Award competition for feature-length films, voted on by online viewers, with one film being awarded. A local jury will be awarding shorts and student-direct films.
About Sarasota Film Festival
Held annually in Sarasota, Florida, the Sarasota Film Festival emphasizes the best in cinema alongside exciting programs and events, with more than 200 films screened each year including features, documentaries, shorts, and kid-friendly picks. Entering our 22nd year, we’re proud to bring the best new and established independent filmmakers to our Festival with local and kid-friendly programs that showcase our idyllic Gulf Coast community. The festival is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization and also offers a year-round educational program, which reaches thousands of local students through classic film showcases, film contests, summer camps and instructional workshops.
2020 Sarasota Virtual Film Festival Slate
AMERICAN TRIAL: THE ERIC GARNER STORY
Director: Roee Messinger
Summary: What if, instead of a grand jury indictment, New York City Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo had undergone a criminal trial for the highly publicized death of Eric Garner? This film creates a realistic legal setting, and depicts that imagined trial through unscripted improvisation between nonprofessional actors and two criminal legal teams. The results are at once cathartic and informative, as the film explores the details of the case in painstaking detail.
BORN TO BE
Director: Tania Cypriano
Summary: The Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery Wing at the Mount Sinai Hospital is one-of-a-kind, to say the least, and extremely forward looking. The center provides cutting edge
treatment to the specific subset of the trans population that desires some form of reconstructive surgery to express their gender identity; research that is still relatively rare in the medical world This documentary follows the lives of patients and staff that form the center’s community, and shares the story of what it’s like to undergo the sometimes radical procedures that the clinic provides.
Director: Jon Mark Nail
Summary: A crime thriller set in the American South, this film follows a low level enforcer as he fights to keep his family together. When a mix of bad luck and big ambitions sets him out on the biggest job of his life, he starts to examine the relationship between violence and prosperity.
DARKNESS IN TENEMENT 45
Director: Nicole Groton
Summary: Sixteen-year-old Joanna has been living with her overbearing Aunt Martha in a low-income NYC tenement building ever since a violent outburst left her fighting a feeling she can only describe as the “darkness.” Little did she know that weeks after moving in, a biological threat from the Soviet Union would leave the building boarded up and the tenants locked inside. It’s been one month since they were first sequestered. With food dwindling and Martha’s controversial role as leader expanding, Joanna realizes that she must face both her darkness and her aunt in order to save the tenants. But can she take on the leadership without letting the darkness take over her entirely?
THE DOG DOC
Director: Cindy Meehl
Summary: A founding father of integrative veterinary medicine, Dr. Marty Goldstein and his colleagues in South Salem, NY have created a mecca for holistic care, offering hope to scores of previously hopeless animals (and their owners). Combining conventional medical training with cutting edge alternative therapies, Dr. Marty’s deeply empathetic philosophy offers a vital example of how improving overall health rather than merely treating disease is transformative for all living things.
DRIVEN TO ABSTRACTION
Director: Daria Price
Summary: M. Knoedler & Co. was once the oldest and most respected art dealership in New York City. Founded in 1846, the institution’s dramatic 2009 demise shook the art world to its core, creating lingering questions on not only the validity of our ideas around authorship—but also the role that high end forgery plays in the booming industry of art dealership. This documentary delves into that mysterious world and litigates the compelling case involving gallery president Ann Freedman, her wealthy clients, and a cash of forged abstract expressionist paintings.
EROTIC FIRE OF THE UNATTAINABLE
Director: Frank Vitale
Summary: This is a film about the love lives of witty, literary New Yorkers. A meditation on love after 60, this romantic comedy follows a social circle of successful islanders as they bounce in and out of each other’s lives. Nothing is off limits, as the leads talk about food, fiction, and most of all, each other.
FILM ABOUT A FATHER WHO
Director: Lynne Sachs
Summary: Over a period of 35 years between 1984 and 2019, filmmaker Lynne Sachs shot 8 and 16mm film, videotape and digital images with her father, Ira Sachs, a bohemian businessman from Park City, Utah. This film is her attempt to understand the web that connects a child to her parent and a sister to eight siblings, some of whom she has known all of her life, others she only recently discovered. With a nod to the Cubist renderings of a face, Sachs’ cinematic exploration of her father offers simultaneous, sometimes contradictory views of one seemingly unknowable man who is always there, public, in the center of the frame, yet somehow ensconced in secrets. In the process, Sachs allows herself and her audience to see beyond the surface of the skin, inside. As the face opens up wider and wider, Sachs as a daughter eventually sees fragments of herself.
FOR FEAR OF KOFI
Director: Marina Petrovskaia
Summary: For Fear of Kofi investigates the circumstances of a police shooting that took place on March 2, 2010, at the University of Florida. University Police responded to a 911 call from graduate housing: a student stating concern about her neighbor, Kofi, a fellow Ph.D student from Ghana. According to her report, he was having a mental breakdown and she could hear him yelling. 90 minutes later, police forced their way into his apartment and shot him repeatedly, nearly killing him. The University tried to contain the story using non-disclosure agreements. However, not everyone agreed to remain silent. Those involved recount their roles in the shooting, and the film invites the viewer to examine how this traumatic event could have been avoided.
Director: Tirtza Even
Summary: This experimental documentary is best described as a biopic—not of a person, but of a building. Focused on Director Tirtza Even’s childhood home, the film uses lyrical camera work and a series of in-depth interviews to explore how the last half century has affected the Israeli residents of an apartment building nestled in the Givat Ram neighborhood of West Jerusalem.
Director: Juliana Tafur
Summary: With hatred and polarization on the rise around the world, LIST(e)N (84 mins) invites people in the U.S. with opposing viewpoints on some of our most divisive issues – guns, abortion and immigration — to listen to each other. The documentary features participants whose personal lives deeply intertwine with these topics, including one of the survivors of the Parkland, FL school shooting. As the exchanges unfold, moments of unexpected and intense emotional connection and understanding arise.
Director: Atsuko Quirk, Debby Lee Cohen
Summary: With stop-motion animation, heartfelt kid commentary, and interviews of experts and renowned scientists who are engaged in the most cutting edge research on the harmful effects of microplastics, this alarming, yet charming documentary, conveys an urgent message in user-friendly terms with a take action message to spark youth-led plastic free action in schools everywhere.
Director: Heather Young
Summary: The lines between kindness, cruelty, and self-destruction are blurred in this vérité character sketch of a middle aged alcoholic. Populated entirely with nonprofessional actors, this film is a raw, dark, and profoundly humane portrait of love and companionship taken to their extremes. Writer and director Heather Young’s excellent debut feature will leave audiences haunted.
Director: Allan Deberton
Summary: Pacarrete is an old and crazy ballet dancer. Over the years, she works as the teacher for classic dance and ballet in Fortaleza with ambition. After retirement, she goes back to hometown. However, still undaunted, she decides to give a dance performance, as a gift “to the people”, on the eve of the city’s 200-year anniversary party. But it seems nobody cares.
Director: Josefina Rotman Lyons
Summary: In the spring of 2017, four older choreographers, once seminal participants in the modern dance world and Broadway, started the monumental task of choreographing dances with a diverse group of New York seniors, most of whom had never danced on stage before. Over a few intense months, these choreographers, including the first black artist to have won a Tony award for choreography and a 92-year old former dance partner of pioneer Martha Graham, brought to life their ideas and sparked immense joy in the senior dancers. The film documents this unlikely event and, in the process, reveals the heroic dedication and determination of the choreographers and dancers, for whom age does not impede but molds.
RIDE TILL I DIE
Director: Tony Rammos
Summary: For Ricky Ringer, bull riding was always his life, but he could never win a championship. Twenty-five years later, along with his son, Lil’ Ricky, and fellow rider Ernie Courson, Ricky continues to ride and despite warnings from his wife, mother and his ailing body, Ricky is determined to chase that elusive title or die trying.
RUTH WEISS, THE BEAT GODDESS
Director: Melody C. Miller
Summary: This biopic focuses on an under-appreciated female poet from the Beat generation; interspersed with interviews, traditional documentary footage, and collaborative video interpretations of weiss’s work. Dance, animation, and live music are all used to underscore weiss’s poetry, grounded by the 90 year old writer’s undeniably charismatic presence.
Director: Jake Thomas
Summary: This stylish piece of magical realism explores complex relationships. Mother and daughter, self and body, and of course, between feline and master. A house cat’s sudden Kafkaesque transformation into a human being raises profound questions about how we navigate our own embodied existence, and the role that non-human animals play in our lives.
THIS IS NOT A BURIAL, IT’S A RESURRECTION
Director: Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese
Summary: Amongst the pythonic mountains of land-locked Lesotho, an 80 year old widow winds up her earthly affairs, makes arrangements for her burial and prepares to die. But when her village is threatened with forced resettlement due to the construction of a reservoir, she finds a new will to live and ignites a collective spirit of defiance within her community. In the final dramatic moments of her life, Mantoa’s legend is forged and made eternal.
THE WAR AND PEACE OF TIM O’BRIEN
Director: Aaron Matthews
Summary: “The War and Peace of Tim O’Brien” follows O’Brien on his journey writing his next and last book. What makes wars worth fighting? How do we write about war? What are the obligations of citizens with respect to war? What are the after-effects of war on individuals and families? This intimate film about the struggles of a world-renowned war writer illuminates the everyday ties between duty, art, family, and the trauma of war.
A WAY OUT
Director: Charles Clapsaddle, Durand Adams and Charles Williams
Summary: A WAY OUT is a documentary, which explores how women get out of dangerously abusive relationships. It is essentially a documentary which draws upon the portrait of a woman who traveled a path which took her from nearly being killed by her ex-husband in a brutal attack, through escape, recovery, redemption and heroism. That woman, Kim Donatelle, recounts the details of the day on which she nearly died and describes how her best friend did die when she tried to come to Kim’s aid.
A WOMAN WHO CLIMBS TREES
Director: Puja Kolluru
Summary: A Woman Who Climbs Trees is about a woman so passionate about becoming a scientist nothing in life could stop her. Her journey is a lesson and an inspiration to many young men and especially women struggling through a never-ending battle of career and family hurdles. We not only learn about her achievements but her resilience and the sleepless nights that got her there.
Director: Martin Busker
Summary: A fish out of water story about a 13 year old refugee from Afghanistan. This film documents the struggles of an often brash and confrontational young boy and his struggle to succeed in a new country. Funny and ultimately uplifting, this movie will appeal to anyone who’s ever been the new kid at school.
Director: Adrian Bobb
Summary: In the snow-covered ruins of 24th century Toronto, AEGIS, a humanoid war machine, leads a team of five robotic digital-humans into the the real world (aka the “E-X-T”) to retake an enemy-occupied server installation vital to the survival of their digital homeworld.
Director: Emily Hubley
Summary: Artist/filmmaker Faith Hubley drew a self-portrait in her journal every day for the last decades of her life. Decades later, her daughter revisits specific memories and dreams, and considers a relationship altered by death. Music by Georgia Hubley.
GRAB MY HAND: A LETTER TO MY DAD
Directors: Camrus Johnson, Pedro Piccinini
Summary: In this retelling of his dad’s relationship with his best friend, GRAB MY HAND is Camrus Johnson’s gift to his grieving father and a message to all to cherish every second you have with the ones you love while you still can.
Director: Christopher Lawerence
Summary: Set in the Virgin Islands, A young girl and her mother, experience one of the world’s most powerful hurricanes.
Director: Giovanna Lopalco
Summary: A procession of men in white clothing walk a young woman in a strange procession. In this obscure landscape, a perpetual biological universe will transform her body.
THERE WERE FOUR OF US
Director: Cassie Shao
Summary: In a room, there are four people.
WATERS OF MARCH
Director: Elizabeth Lewis
Summary: Waters of March is the classic written by Tom Jobim and performed by jazz singer Stacey Kent. The delicately rendered animated drawings move at a rollicking pace transitioning back and forth from real to abstract images telling the ever changing story of loss and hope.
Doc Shorts 1
FAR FAINT LIGHTS
Director: Paolo Aguilar Boschetti
Summary: Tradition is tradition and for the 4 elderly brothers of a small spanish town that has long since been abandoned. Helping each other to survive in this ghost town the brothers stick together for their ancestral home which has now become and ancestral town.
INTO THE LIGHT
(United Kingdom) Director: Michael Volpe
Summary: Three British Forces Veterans find peace and escape from the PTSD they struggle with daily through Opera. Through the Opera they are able to find escape and passion in this heavily inspiring documentary
Director: Daniel Lovering
Summary: Dave Roper has become a Hero in the world of Motorcycle racing since starting in 1972. Now 48 years later we look at the life and accomplishments in retrospective of a man who truly never slowed down.
THE TALL BIKE JOUST
Director: Sam Frazier, Jr.
Summary: Every year a local Bicycle shop puts on the the TALL BIKE JOUST an event just as insane as it sounds. Multiple contestants sit on top of high mounted bikes to joust each other all in an effort to provide benefit for the at risk kids in their town.
Doc Shorts 2
LAS VEGAS BENDER
Director: Danny Corey
Summary: The story of Leticia Maldonaldo a neon light bender from Las Vegas who dreams big of one day creating the lights on the Las Vegas Strip. Inspired by her performer mother and the town she grew up in she will stop at nothing to reach her dreams.
Director: Ashley Mosher
Summary: A filmmaker discouraged by her marriage and life back home meets Noe and indeginous amazonian painter who captures birds and to paint them. Inspired by the life and passion Noe has she begins to discover true belonging might be more internal and connected with nature.
A SYRIAN WOMAN | HUMAN STORIES FROM JORDAN
Directors: Louis Sayad DeCaprio, Khawla Al Hammouri
Summary: Years of conflict in Syria have left many of their women widowed and alone, now refugees many of them end up in places like Jordan. Discover how difficult of a situation, and the resilience that these women carry with them first hand.
WAX PAUL NOW
Directors: Val Bodurtha, Rebecca Shaw, Sophie Mann
Summary: Paul Giamatti is an Oscar nominated actor who has appeared in many famous films, however why isn’t he in Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. Three women campaign to change that and get Paul into the museum where he belongs.
Director: Brad Abrahams
Summary: On a conspiracy theory themed cruise the host begins to question that maybe the grand conspiracy is the lack of one at all. As tension rises and mysterious events start to go on in the background the passengers of the cruise start to accuse the host of being in on all the “conspiracies”.
THE HELPING HAND
Director: Brenden Hubbard
Summary: Parents have become to reliant on the raising of children using technology. When a new baby monitor begins speaking to their child they are too oblivious putting to much faith on the new technology to notice anything insidious occuring.
THE HISTORY OF MONSTERS
Director: Juan Pablo Arias Munoz
Summary: In a Post apocalyptic world overrun by horrifying monsters a women who has already delt with abuse struggles to accept a new man into her house. Caught between desire for human touch and a bit more, and the distrust that have built up over the years she must figure out the right approach.
Director: Alexander Black
Summary: Struggling everyday against the forces of evil in the world gives Detective Mark Kessler a reason to go on despite losing everything else. Now that he is searching for a missing girl in the dark streets of london he begins to realize that his assumptions of evil in the world might be spot on and that might be a bit more evil than he thinks.
Director: Carlyn Hudson
Summary: In a society that has become isolated, Kerry the heiress to a Waffle company based fortune hires friends to attend sleepovers with. The friendships she purchases are never deep enough, and Kerry takes it into her own hands to create something “meaningful”.
Narrative Shorts 1
Director: Brett Dameron
Summary: When two women move into the same house 101 years apart, their collective experiences are shared. As they both slip further into depression their shared experiences bring them together in beautiful ways.
AVA IN THE END
Director: Ursula Ellis
Summary: After dying in a very embarrassing way, a woman wakes up thousands of years in the future to find she is the last human. Brought back by artificial intelligence Ava must come to grips with her new nightmare.
THE BALL METHOD
Director: Dagmawi Abebe
Summary: Alice Ball, a 23 year-old African American Chemist living in 1915 Hawaii fights against racial and gender barriers to find an effective treatment for leprosy before Kalani, a 10-year-old patient is exiled into the leper colony of Molokai.
Director: Alireza Ghasemi
Summary: Right before an actor is set to go on stage he has commited suicide. Now he talks with the Angel of Death over a meal about the events leading up this, and a potential second chance.
I ONLY MISS YOU WHEN I’M BREATHING
Director: Ashley Wren Collins
Summary: Inspired by tragically true events. A Husband and Wife struggle with rejoining society after the devastating loss of their son to a school shooting.
NO TRAVELER RETURNS
Director: Ellie Foumbi
Summary: A young African Immigrants experiences in America bring him to the edge of extremism. An intimate look into the pressures and fear that leads to violent acts.
Director: Sean Peter Sakamoto
Summary: After a wedding for two men is violently attacked by a hateful militia the fathers of grooms are now bunkered up underground. They discuss the lives of their son’s and what could’ve been done to stop the rising hate.
Director: Adam Volerich
Summary: Public transportation, especially subways, are notoriously unreliable. Watch as the voice actor for the subway tries and succeeds at making it even more confusing in this comedy.
Narrative Shorts 2
Director: Adrian Cardenas
Summary: A year after his wife’s death, Daniel sees her impact on every place and face in his small Cuban community.
Director: Jeremy Merrifield
Summary: School can be tough and kids can be even crueler, Sam attempts to fly under the radar with both his sexuality and any attention he receives. This is all changed after he is beaten in a viral video and must decide if striking back is the right answer.
FRIENDS LIKE THAT
Director: Francesca de Fusco
Summary: Familiarity and proximity reignite chemistry when Maia stays at an ex-girlfriend’s after a breakup.
HE LEFT INSTRUCTIONS
Director: Zeke Farrow
Summary: After the loss of their brother two estranged sisters show up to collect his belongings. What they find is his inspirational last instructions for them.
MY DINNER WITH WERNER
Director: Maverick Moore
Summary: Actor Klaus Kinski and Oscar award winning director Werner Herzog made movie after movie together until one day it stopped. Now Kinski will stop at nothing short of setting up a fake date for Werner to get his revenge in this comedic reimaging of actual events.
Director: Katherine Tolentino
Summary: After three years of living in America on her own, Chinese teenager Wendy Zhang is struggling. Her teachers don’t care about her, her host family doesn’t understand her, and her own parents are too far away to help. When Wendy’s new roommate moves in and starts outperforming her, Wendy’s bitterness grows into rage.
Director: Lizette Barrera
Summary: A Latinx student yearns for homogeneity until an educator teaches her to embrace her cultural uniqueness.
ALL THE WRONG THINGS
Director: Chelsea Gonzalez
Summary: Despite kind intentions, endearingly awkward Willy says literally all the wrong things when talking to Lucy.
Director: Parker Alexander Meyers
Summary: Can personality be programmed? Chemistry coded? Or are feelings not born of biology less real?
Director: Kathryn Parks
Summary: A modern couple’s reality is disparately narrated with the words of “The Good Wife’s Guide”.
Director: Joshwa Walton
Summary: “Immigrating”… “returning home”… Marco wonders if those he departs from just see him as “leaving”.
Director: Sage Hall
Summary: Filmed inside a historic Sarasota train car, “Pie Car” imagines the storied circus melodramas its walls would have once housed.
Director: Austin Gorski
Summary: Can a priest reconcile the requirements of confessional privilege with the demands of his conscious?
(YOU’LL MAKE IT IN) FLORIDA
Director: Phil Chernyak
Summary: When a magazine ad comes to life, a depressed English teacher (and her dog) embark on a wild ride through the wonders of the Sunshine State.
The Suncoast Post reported earlier this year on the fabulous poster that was made for this season.
Photo from Deposit Photos