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"Beginners" Set to Close Sarasota

Photo of Nigel M Smith By Nigel M Smith | Indiewire February 1, 2011 at 7:30AM

Writer/director Mike Mills' "Beginners," which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last September, will serve as the closing night film of the 13th annual Sarasota Film Festival. The film's star, Christopher Plummer ("The Sound of Music"), will be on hand to accept this year's Cinema Master Award on behalf of the festival.
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Writer/director Mike Mills' "Beginners," which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last September, will serve as the closing night film of the 13th annual Sarasota Film Festival. The film's star, Christopher Plummer ("The Sound of Music"), will be on hand to accept this year's Cinema Master Award on behalf of the festival.

"We are thrilled to have the opportunity to close the 13th annual festival with a film as moving and powerful as Mike Mills’ 'Beginners,'" said Mark Famiglio, President of the Festival.

"As our festival continues to grow, we are thrilled to be working with Focus Features to deliver the best in contemporary cinema to our audiences," added Tom Hall, the festival’s Artistic Director. "Having the opportunity to recognize Christopher Plummer’s legendary body of work with our festival’s Cinema Master Award is a tremendous honor for us."

The festival runs April 7-17.


Full release below:

13th ANNUAL SARASOTA FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES BEGINNERS AS ITS CLOSING NIGHT FILM

BEGINNERS STAR CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER TO RECEIVE THIS YEAR’S CINEMA MASTER AWARD

Sarasota, Florida, The Sarasota Film Festival, which takes place

April 7-17th, 2011 on Florida’s pristine southern Gulf Coast, is proud to announce that writer/director Mike Mills’ Beginners, a Focus Features release, has been selected as the Closing Night Film of the 13th Annual Festival, to screen on Sunday, April 17th. In addition, Beginners star Christopher Plummer will be in attendance at the Festival to receive this year’s Cinema Master Award.

Beginners, starring Ewan McGregor, Mr. Plummer, and Mélanie Laurent, imaginatively explores the hilarity, confusion, and surprises of love through the evolving consciousness of Oliver (Mr. McGregor). Oliver meets the irreverent and unpredictable Anna (Ms. Laurent) only months after his father Hal (Mr. Plummer) has passed away. This new love floods Oliver with memories of his father who – following 44 years of marriage – came out of the closet at age 75 to live a full, energized, and wonderfully tumultuous gay life. The upheavals of Hal’s new honesty, by turns funny and moving, brought father and son closer than they’d ever been able to be. Now Oliver endeavors to love Anna with all the bravery, humor, and hope that his father taught him.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to close the 13th annual festival with a film as moving and powerful as Mike Mills’ Beginners,” says Mark Famiglio, President of the Festival. “As our festival continues to grow, we are thrilled to be working with Focus Features to deliver the best in contemporary cinema to our audiences,” adds Tom Hall, the festival’s Artistic Director. “Having the opportunity to recognize Christopher Plummer’s legendary body of work with our festival’s Cinema Master Award is a tremendous honor for us.”

About Christopher Plummer:

Christopher Plummer has long been one of the most respected actors in both theatre and film. In 2008, Alfred A. Knopf published his self-written memoir, In Spite of Myself, which became one of the most acclaimed autobiographies of recent years. He has also written for the stage, television, and the concert hall.

Raised in Montreal, Mr. Plummer began his professional career on stage and radio in both French and English. Legendary actress/director Eva Le Gallienne brought him to New York for his stage debut in 1954, and he has since starred in celebrated productions on Broadway, in Canada, and on London’s West End.

He has won two Tony Awards, for the musical Cyrano and for the play Barrymore, and been nominated seven times further (most recently for King Lear and Inherit the Wind). He has also been honored with three Drama Desk Awards and the National Arts Club Medal.

As a former leading member of the Royal National Theatre under Lord Laurence Olivier and the Royal Shakespeare Company under Sir Peter Hall, Mr. Plummer won London’s Evening Standard Award for Best Actor in Becket. Additionally, he led Canada’s Stratford Festival in its formative years under Sir Tyrone Guthrie and Michael Langham.

His first film was Sidney Lumet’s Stage Struck, with Henry Fonda and Susan Strasberg. His notable movies since then have included John Huston’s The Man Who Would Be King, in which he portrayed author Rudyard Kipling; Anthony Mann’s The Fall of The Roman Empire; Guy Hamilton’s Battle of Britain; Sergei Bondarchuk’s Waterloo; Nicholas Ray’s Wind Across the Everglades; Robert Mulligan’s Inside Daisy Clover; Robert Wise’s Academy Award-winning The Sound of Music, opposite Julie Andrews; Blake Edwards’ The Return of the Pink Panther, with Peter Sellers; Daryl Duke’s The Silent Partner; Bob Clark’s Murder by Decree, in which he played Sherlock Holmes and for which he won the Genie Award (Canada’s Oscar equivalent) for Best Actor; Jeannot Szwarc’s Somewhere in Time, with Christopher Reeve; Nicholas Meyer’s Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; Spike Lee’s Malcolm X and Inside Man; Taylor Hackford’s Dolores Claiborne; Terry Gilliam’s Twelve Monkeys and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, in the title role; Ron Howard’s Academy Award-winning A Beautiful Mind; Atom Egoyan’s Ararat; Douglas McGrath’s Nicholas Nickleby; Jon Turteltaub’s National Treasure; Gary David Goldberg’s Must Love Dogs; Stephen Gaghan’s Syriana; Terrence Malick’s The New World; Michael Schroeder’s Man in the Chair, for which Mr. Plummer was named Best Actor at the Palm Beach International Film Festival; and Michael Mann’s The Insider, as Mike Wallace. The latter portrayal earned him the National Society of Film Critics, Boston Society of Film Critics, and Los Angeles Film Critics Association awards for Best Supporting Actor.
His voiceover work in feature films includes three notable recent animated movies; Pete Docter and Bob Peterson’s Academy Award-winning Up; Shane Acker’s 9, also for Focus Features; and My Dog Tulip, as author J.R. Ackerley, whose novel was adapted by the movie’s writer/directors Paul and Sandra Fierlinger.

Mr. Plummer has won two Emmy Awards; these came for his voiceover and narration work on the Madeline series, based on the classic children’s books, and for his performance in the miniseries The Moneychangers, directed by Boris Sagal. Additional Emmy nominations have included ones for Daryl Duke’s classic miniseries The Thorn Birds and Philip Saville’s telefilm Hamlet at Elsinore, in the title role. His numerous other television appearances range from a live performance of Ernest Thompson’s On Golden Pond, opposite Julie Andrews, to Franco Zeffirelli’s acclaimed miniseries Jesus of Nazareth.
He was the first performer to receive the Jason Robards Award, in memory of his great friend. He has also been honored with the Edwin Booth Award and the Sir John Gielgud Quill Award. In 1968, sanctioned by Elizabeth II, he was invested as a Companion of the Order of Canada (an honorary knighthood).
An Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts at Juilliard, Mr. Plummer also received the Governor General’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000. In 1986, he was inducted into the Theatre’s Hall of Fame and in 2000 to Canada’s Walk of Fame. In 2002, he was honored by the National Board of Review with the Career Achievement Award.

For his portrayal opposite Helen Mirren of novelist Leo Tolstoy in The Last Station, written and directed by Michael Hoffman, Mr. Plummer received Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, Spirit Award, and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations.

He stars with Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara in David Fincher’s globally anticipated The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, due out in December 2011.

About The Sarasota Film Festival

The mission of the Sarasota Film Festival is to celebrate the art of filmmaking and the contribution of filmmakers by hosting an international film festival and developing year-long programs for the economic, educational and cultural benefit of our community. The Festival supports and encourages the filmmaker by supplying indispensable networking opportunities with knowledgeable, creative and inquisitive consumers of film. The Festival attracts audiences from local, national, and international markets as well as promotes Sarasota, Manatee and surrounding Gulf Coast communities as important cultural centers.

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