The Sarasota Film Festival (SFF) today announced its full line-up, including its Opening Night, Centerpiece, Closing Night, Spotlight, Narrative Feature Competition, Independent Visions Competition, Documentary Feature Competition, Narrative, Documentary, and Short Films. The Festival also announced its four SFF Focus Panels – African American, Florida, & VR Spotlight sections.
Bleecker Street’s DREAM HORSE, tells the true story of Jan Vokes, a Welsh cleaner and bartender, who decides to breed and rear a race horse, directed by Euros Lyn (TV’s DOCTOR WHO, DAREDEVIL) and starring Academy Award® nominee and Emmy Award® winner Toni Collette (KNIVES OUT, THE SIXTH SENSE) and Emmy Award® winner Damian Lewis (ONCE UPON A TIME … IN HOLLYWOOD, TV’s BILLIONS, HOMELAND). The film will screen as the festival’s Opening Night Film on March 27, 2020, at the historic Municipal Auditorium.
THE ARTIST’S WIFE, directed by Tom Dolby (LAST WEEKEND) and starring two-time Academy Award® nominee Bruce Dern (NEBRASKA, COMING HOME) and Academy Award® nominee Lena Olin (ENEMIES, A LOVE STORY, THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING, THE READER), will serve as the festival’s Centerpiece Film. The drama THE LAST SHIFT, the narrative directorial debut of acclaimed documentarian Andrew Cohn (MEDORA), will be the festival’s Closing Night Film. The film stars two-time Academy Award® nominee and Emmy® Award winner Richard Jenkins (THE VISITOR, THE SHAPE OF WATER, TV’s OLIVE KITTERIDGE), who will be in attendance at the festival.
During the Awards Ceremony on Saturday, April 4th, prior to the Closing Night Film, renowned actress Connie Nielsen (WONDER WOMAN, GLADIATOR, WONDER WOMAN 1984) will receive the festival’s Impact Award; and two-time Emmy Award®-nominated actress Wendie Malick (TV’s FRASIER, JUST SHOOT ME, DREAM ON) will receive the festival’s TV Comedy Icon Award. The Friday night street party on Friday, April 3rd will be hosted by musician Fred Schneider, founding member of The B-52’s.
“This year the Sarasota Film Festival is programmed with wonderful films that are sure to please audiences for their engaging and dynamic stories. Our slate brings new voices and vision to filmmaking and we are proud to have them as part of our lineup,” said Mark Famiglio, Chairman and President of the Sarasota Film Festival. “We look forward to awarding the legendary Connie Nielsen and Wendie Malick at this year’s festival with these esteemed honors, and having the talented Richard Jenkins join us, whose captivating and talented work on the screen has captured our attention for years.”
Jenkins, Nielsen and Malick will participate in the festival’s popular “In Conversation With…” series.
Nielsen will be receiving the festival’s Impact Award for her commitment to environmental and poverty issues around the world. In 2010, Nielsen co-founded the Human Needs Project, a non-profit that provides clean water, infrastructure, and empowerment services to residents of Kibera, Kenya; she is also the founder/president of the Road to Freedom scholarship program for girls in Kibera. Onscreen, Nielsen has starred in the Best Picture Academy Award®-winner GLADIATOR, the superhero blockbuster WONDER WOMAN, and international films for directors Lars von Trier, Brian De Palma, Olivier Assayas, and Wes Anderson. She’ll next be seen in this summer’s WONDER WOMAN 1984.
Malick will be receiving the festival’s TV Comedy Icon Award. A beloved two-time Emmy Award® nominee and Golden Globe® nominee, Malick has been featured in television hits including FRASIER, JUST SHOOT ME, DREAM ON, HOT IN CLEVELAND, AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE, KATE & ALLIE, and THE RANCH, and films including SCROOGED, THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT, ADVENTURELAND, and CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC.
The Spotlight section will include Elisabeth St. Philip’s 9/11 KIDS, Barbara Kopple’s DESERT ONE, Michael Showalter’s THE LOVEBIRDS, Peter Cattaneo’s MILITARY WIVES, Eliza Hittman’s NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS, and Lance Oppenheim’s, SOME KIND OF HEAVEN
Each year the Sarasota Film Festival focuses on social issues to highlight throughout its program. In celebration of the sunshine state on screen, the festival presents FOCUS ON FLORIDA including feature films A WOMAN WHO CLIMBS TREES, FOR FEAR OF KOFI, LIST(e)N, RIDE TILL I DIE, DARKNESS IN TENEMENT 45 as well as various shorts.
To encourage conversation of black history, experience, and identity with invaluable perspective and wisdom, the festival presents AFRICAN-AMERICAN SPOTLIGHT including feature films AMERICAN TRIAL: THE ERIC GARNER STORY, BILLIE, A GIRL FROM MOGADISHU, PIER KIDS, ZOMBI CHILD, 9/11 KIDS, among others.
The final SFF focus, VR will introduce audiences to stories and visions through virtual reality techniques including: ARTHUR ASHE ‘68, AFTER THE FALLOUT, ANIMALIA SUM, AZIBUYE – THE OCCUPATION, FLOWERS & A SWITCHBLADE, TV-REVERSE 360°, and VR FREE.
The Narrative Feature Competition will showcase ADAM directed by Maryam Touzani; ANNE AT 13,000 FT directed by Kazik Radwanski; FOURTEEN directed by Dan Salitt; FREELAND directed by Kate McClean & Mario Furloni; ONCE UPON A RIVER directed by Haroula Rose; and THIS IS NOT A BURIAL, IT’S A RESURRECTION directed by Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese.
The Documentary Feature Competition will include BLOODY NOSE, EMPTY POCKETS directed by Bill Ross & Turner Ross; FILM ABOUT A FATHER WHO directed by Lynne Sachs; PIER KIDS directed by Elegance Bratton; OLIVER SACKS: HIS OWN LIFE directed by Ric Burns; OVERSEAS directed by Sung-a Yoon, and US KIDS directed by Kim Snyder.
The Independent Vision Competition will feature CLEMENTINE directed by Lara Gallagher; THE CARNIVORES directed by Caleb Michael Johnson; THE GRAND HOTEL BALLET directed by Jacques Deschamps; MURMUR directed by Heather Young; SHEDDING directed by Jake Thomas; and SPLINTERS directed by Jon Corum.
The jury for the competition films will consist of the following individuals: Founder of Factory 25, Matt Grady; Director, New York Programs and Membership for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Science, Patrick Harrison; Co-Founder of Tangerine Entertainment, Anne Hubbell; Senior Contributor to AwardsCircuit.com Mark Johnson; Sarasota Doctor Gary Kompothecras; Promotions & Sponsorships at Showtime Networks, Jordan Overstreet; News Editor at Indiewire, Zack Sharf; New York Film Critics Circle journalist Keith Uhlich; Sarasota County Circuit court judge and filmmaker Charles Williams; and Board of Directors President for New York Women in Film & Television, Jamie Zelermeyer.
Narrative films in the 2020 slate also include: 1 ANGRY BLACK MAN directed by Menelek Lumumba; ABE directed by Fernando Grostein Andrade; BEAST, BEAST directed by Danny Madden; BRUISER directed by Jon Mark Nail; DARKNESS IN TENEMENT 45 directed by Nicole Groton; EROTIC FIRE OF THE UNATTAINABLE directed by Frank Vitale; FISHERMAN’S FRIENDS directed by Chris Foggin; GHOST TROPIC directed by Bas Devos; A GIRL FROM MOGADISHU directed by Mary McGuckian; GOD THE WORD directed by Eric Schaeffer; JOAN OF ARC directed by Bruno Dumont; LOVE SARAH directed by Eliza Schroeder; LUNANA: A YAK IN THE CLASSROOM directed by Pawo Choyning Dorji; PACARETTE directed by Allan Deberton; SKYMAN directed by Daniel Myrick; TEAM MARCO directed by Julio Vincent Gambuto; TRIPPING THRU KETA directed by Julio Bekhor and Fernando Sma; VITALINA VARELA directed by Pedro Costa; WE ARE LITTLE ZOMBIES directed by Makoto Nagahisa; WET SEASON directed by Anthony Chen; THE WILD GOOSE LAKE directed by Diao Yinan; ZOMBI CHILD directed by Bertrand Bonello; and ZORO’S SOLO directed by Martin Busker.
Documentary films in the 2020 slate also include: AMERICAN TRIAL: THE ERIC GARNER STORY directed by Roee Messinger; AKICITA: THE BATTLE OF STANDING ROCK directed by Cody Lucich; BE WATER directed by Bao Nguyen; BILLIE directed by James Erskin; BORN TO BE directed by Tania Cypriano; BOYS STATE directed by Jesse Moss & Amanda McBaine; BREAKING BAD directed by Beth Elise Hawk; CAMPESINO directed by Mia Tate; DIANA KENNEDY: NOTHING FANCY directed by Elizabeth Carrol; DISCLOSURE directed by Sam Feder; THE DOG DOC directed by Cindy Meehl; DRIVEN TO ABSTRACTION directed by Daria Price; FOR FEAR OF KOFI directed by Marina Petrovskaia; FLANNERY directed by Elizabeth Coffman, Mark Bosco, SJ; GIVING VOICE directed by James D. Stern; HAMTRAMCK, USA directed by Razi Jafri and Justin Feltman; HE DREAMS OF GIANTS directed by Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe; LAND MINE directed by Tirtza Even; LIST(E)N directed by Juliana Tafur; MARCEL DUCHAMP: THE ART OF THE POSSIBLE directed by Michael Taylor; MICROPLASTIC MADNESS directed by Atsuko Quirk and Debby Lee Cohen; MY DARLING VIVIAN directed by Matt Riddlehoover; NOMAD: IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF BRUCE CHATWIN directed by Werner Herzog; THE PRISON WITHIN directed by Katherin Hervey; THE REASON I JUMP directed by Jerry Rothwell; REBUILDING PARADISE directed by Ron Howard; REVIVAL directed by Josefina Rotman Lyons; RUTH WEISS, THE BEAT GODDESS directed by Melody C. Miller; RIDE TILL I DIE directed by Tony Rammos; THE STORY OF PLASTIC directed by Deia Schlosberg; THE WAR AND PEACE OF TIM O’BRIEN directed by Aaron Matthews; WHIRLYBIRD directed by Matt Yoka; A WOMAN WHO CLIMBS TREES directed by Puja Kolluru; and THE WOMAN WHO LOVES GIRAFFES directed by Alison Reid.
The festival is also pleased to announce the following Community Screenings: a special presentation of DARK WATERS starring Academy Award-nominated actor Mark Ruffalo and based on a true story of attorney Rob Bilott (Ruffalo) and his environmental lawsuit against a chemical company, with Bilott in attendance at the festival screening; and A WAY OUT directed by Charles Clapsaddle, Durand Adams and Charles Williams, a documentary exploring how women get out of dangerously abusive relationships. The film will screen in partnership with Manatee Educational Television.
Tickets for the festival will go on sale for members on Tuesday, March 10, 2020 at 12:00PM and will be on sale for the public on Wednesday, March 11, 2020 at 12:00PM. Additionally, in an effort to go green for this year’s festival, a limited number of programs with the 2020 slate will be available, audiences are encouraged to utilize the digital guide available online at the Sarasota Film Festival website. For tickets and a complete schedule, visit sarasotafilmfestival.com.
The 22nd annual Sarasota Film Festival, which will take place from March 27th to April 5th, greatly appreciates the support of its corporate sponsors, including The Famiglio Family, Amicus Foundation, Regal Entertainment, Embassy Suites Hilton, Sage, Shore Restaurant, Speaks Clam Bar, Arcos Apartment Homes, Beneva Flowers, Lamborghini Sarasota, Stella Artois, Tamiami Tap, Production Hub, WSLR, Watermark Publishing, Westcoast Woman Magazine, Top 10 Sarasota, Sarasota Scene Magazine, The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, Intermedia Productions, Island Visitor Magazine, Jessica’s Picture Framing, Mommy Magazine, Moon & Co. Eyewear, Sande Caplin & Associates, SMAA, Family Beautiful Magazine, Hotel Indigo, iHeart Media, SarasotaOUT, SNN, SRQ Magazine, and METV.
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. This year the festival will take place March 27th – April 5th, 2020.
Photo from Sarasota Film Festival website.