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Sarasota Film Festival to Open with ‘Blackfish,’ Close with ‘Frances Ha’

Sarasota Film Festival to Open with 'Blackfish,' Close with 'Frances Ha'

The Sarasota Film Festival, which runs from April 5 – April 14, will open with Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s “Blackfish,” a documentary about the history of killer whales in captivity. The 15th annual festival will close with Noah Baumbach’s “Frances Ha,” starring Greta Gerwig.

Sundance Special Jury Prize winner “The Spectacular Now,” starring Shailene Woodley, will screen as the festival’s Narrative Centerpiece Film and Barbara Kopple’s documentary “Running From Crazy” will screen as the Documentary Centerpiece Film. Two-time Academy Award winner Kopple will also be honored at the festival with the Director’s Award.

Other highlights include the world premiere of Will Slocombe’s “Pasadena,” starring Peter Bogdanovich and Cheryl Hines, Carlos Puga’s “Burma,” Justin Schwarz’ road movie “The Discoverers,” and the North American premiere of Tom Gilroy’s “The Cold Lands.”

The SFF’s Visions Competition lineup will be announced March 13, along with the rest of the program.

Below are the announced features (synopses courtesy of SFF):

Opening Night Film
“Blackfish,” directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite
Stunningly photographed at locations in Florida and beyond, Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s BLACKFISH is a breathtaking examination of the consequences of whale captivity. Featuring searing, never-before-seen footage and poignant, in-depth interviews with whale trainers and marine experts, the film is a powerful exploration of the lives of orca whales and the tragic limitations of the human desire to harness their majesty.
Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite in attendance
(A Magnolia Pictures Release)
Friday, April 5, 7:00 PM at The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall

Closing Night Film
“Frances Ha” directed by Noah Baumbach
Shot in gorgeous black and white, Noah Bombach’s masterful new comedy is a loving portrait of Frances (Greta Gerwig), a young woman full of joy and doubt, looking for that unknown something while trying to make a life for herself in contemporary New York City.  
(An IFC Films Release)
Saturday, April 13, 6:00 PM, The Sarasota Opera House

Narrative Centerpiece
“The Spectacular Now,” directed by James Ponsoldt
Sutter (Miles Teller), a high school senior with a great sense of humor and without much focus who falls for Aimee (Shailene Woodley), a high achieving classmate who opens her heart to him. James Ponsoldt’s THE SPECTACULAR NOW is a moving, deeply human portrait of the power of young love.
Director James Ponsoldt in attendance
(An A24 Release)
Thursday, April 11, 7:30 PM, Regal Hollywood 20

Documentary Centerpiece
“Running From Crazy,” directed by Barbara Kopple
“Running From Crazy” is Barbara Kopple’s illuminating, inspirational portrait of the actress and activist Mariel Hemingway and her family’s battles with depression and mental illness.
Director Barbara Kopple and subject Mariel Hemingway in attendance
Friday, April 12, 6:00 PM, The Sarasota Opera House

Spotlight Films
“Burma,” directed by Carlos Puga
Carlos Puga’s “Burma” is the story of Christian (Christopher Abbott), a young man looking for an escape through hard partying and emotional detachment. But when their estranged father arrives on the eve of a family get together, Christian and his siblings must confront their losses and try to find common ground as a family.
Director Carlos Puga and star Christopher Abbott to attend
Thursday, April 11, 5:15 PM, Regal Hollywood 20

“The Discoverers,” directed by Justin Schwarz
The debut feature from writer/director Justin Schwarz, “The Discoverers” is the story of Lewis Birch (Griffin Dunne), an academic struggling to complete his masterwork on the Lewis and Clark expedition who is forced to re-connect as a father and a son on an ill-fated journey to the Pacific Northwest.
Director Justin Schwarz and star Griffin Dunne in attendance
Friday, April 12, 7:30 PM, Regal Hollywood 20

“Pasadena,” directed by Will Slocombe (World Premiere)
In director Will Slocombe’s dysfunctionally comic “Pasadena,” eminent scholar and patriarch Poppy (Peter Bogdanovich) tries to hold his eccentric family together during a train wreck of a Thanksgiving, as his adult children clash with one another and his new his wife Deborah (Cheryl Hines).
Director Will Slocombe and stars Peter Bogdanovich and Cheryl Hines in attendance
Saturday April 13, 3:30 PM, Regal Hollywood 20

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