Sarasota to Offer 140 Films at Sixth Annual Fest
by Wendy Mitchell
The sixth-annual Sarasota Film Festival has announced the 80 feature films and 60 shorts that will screen during its event, to run January 23 - February 1 in Florida. Gil Junger's romantic comedy "If Only" will open the festival with its world premiere. The film stars Jennifer Love Hewitt, Paul Nicholls, and Tom Wilkinson. They will join Junger and screenwriter Christina Welsh at the opening-night party.
The festival's sections are Independent Spirit, Industry Spotlight, Crossing Borders, No Boundaries, Women's Voices, Family Fest, and Canadian Showcase. The festival boasts 9 world premieres, 8 U.S. premieres, 19 southeast premieres, and 8 Florida premieres.
The Independent Spirit offerings include Vinnie Sassone's "A Tale of Two Pizzas," Steve Anderson's "The Big Empty," Noah Buschel's "Bringing Rain," Michael Pressman's "Frankie and Johnnie Are Married," Todd Stephens' "Gypsy 83," Campbell Scott's "Off the Map," Ben Coccio's "Zero Day," and John Dullaghan's "Bukowski; Born Into This." The Industry Spotlight offerings include "A Slipping Down Life" (Paramount Classics), "Touching the Void" (IFC), and "Saved!" (MGM).
The Crossing Borders line-up includes films from more than 17 countries. Among them are "Cuba Libre" (Dominican Republic), "Buddy" (Norway), "The Seagull's Laughter" (Iceland), "The Projectionist" (Sri Lanka), "Shaolin Soccer" (China), "The Story of the Weeping Camel" (Mongolia), and "Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself" (Denmark/U.K.). The offerings in Women's Voices include Patty Jenkins' Oscar buzz film "Monster," the IFC doc "In the Company of Women," and the doc "Tupperware!"
Guest programmed by the Toronto International Film Festival Group and Bravo!FACT is the Canadian Showcase, which includes films such as "Flower and Garnet," "Go Further" (subject Woody Harrelson will attend), "Moving Malcolm," and "The Bread Maker."
Special programs in Sarasota this year include CineSymphony!'s "Salute to the Oscars," Joe Bob Briggs hosting a screening of "Blood Feast," Patrick Stewart in a celebrity symposium, a kid's program including educational programs and young jurors from grades 5-8, brown bag lunch discussions, filmmakers breakfasts, a full day of shorts programming (January 25), the "night of a thousand stars" gala, and an awards ceremony, dinner, and wrap party on January 31. For a full schedule of films and activities, visit www.sarasotafilmfestival.com.