The 18th Annual Sarasota Film Festival has today announced its full film slate, including its Narrative Feature Competition, Independent Visions Competition, Documentary Feature Competition, World and U.S. Cinema Narrative and World and U.S. Cinema Documentary sections, along with its Centerpiece and Spotlight films, Special films and Short Films.
The festival's opening night film will be Chris Kelly's "Other People," which opened Sundance earlier this year. The festival will close out with Robert Mrazek and Jared Martin's "The Congressman." The Centerpiece sections are rounded out with "Five Nights in Maine," starring David Oyelowo and Rosie Perez, and the stirring doc "Unlocking the Cage."
This year's festival features a bevy of fest favorites, including Sundance selections like "All These Sleepless Nights," "Cameraperson," "Weiner," "Tickled" and "Sonita" on the doc side, and narrative offerings like Sundance winner "Between Sea and Land," "Little Men," "Louder Than Bombs," "Chevalier," "The Fits," and "Morris From America."
Other standouts include Claire Carre's "Embers," which has been building steady buzz on the festival circuit over the past few months, Ben Wheatley's much-anticipated "High-Rise" and Robert Greene's stunning doc "Kate Plays Christine." Sarasota consistently provides a wonderful chance for cinephiles to catch up on new offerings from other festivals and check out some very special premieres, and this year's stacked slate is no different.
The festival also makes room for a number of special events, including talks, revival screenings and tributes. This year's festival will officially kick off on March 31 when the Legend Award is presented to Sophia Loren as part of their special "An Evening with Sophia Loren" event. Later in the festival, Olympia Dukakis will be feted at the Tribute Luncheon on April 8.
"This year we are pleased to honor two female icons in film, especially at a time where it’s so important to celebrate women in the industry," said Michael Dunaway, Director of Programming, of their picks. "The Sarasota Film Festival is proud to screen films from 113 female filmmakers this year."
This is also the second year that the festival has chosen a social issue to highlight throughout its program. Sarasota's social issue for 2015 was Homelessness, which helped inspire this year’s issue of Mental Health. Films in this year’s program that will touch on the topic include "Touched With Fire," "Borderline," "Disorder," "Mad," "Off the Rails," "In Pursuit of Silence," "The Brainwashing of My Dad," "Split," "Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru" and "Crossing Bhutan."
And, just for good measure, Sarasota will also be celebrating the creation of a new award this year, the Pennebaker - Hegedus Award for Excellence in Documentary Filmmaking.
To check out the full lineup of films and events, head on over to the official Sarasota Film Festival website.
The Sarasota Film Festival runs from April 1 - 10 in Sarasota, Florida.