2009 Sarasota Film Festival program announcement release
March 11, 2009–The 11th Annual Regal Entertainment Group SARASOTA FILM FESTIVAL will get underway on Friday evening March 27, 2009 and run through Sunday, April 5, 2009. The Festival will be presented at Sarasota’s Hollywood 20 Cinemas with Opening Night at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center, Closing Night Tribute at the Sarasota Opera House, screenings and conversations at the Historic Asolo, and other area venues.
This year’s Festival will present over 160 narrative, documentary and short films from the U.S.and around the world throughout the 10-day event. There will be the acclaimed programs Sarasota audiences have embraced over the years such as the “A Conversation With…” series held at the Historic Asolo Theater; Tribute Awards, film competitions in the narrative, documentary and short film categories – and, of course, audience award competition in all categories; our award-winning Outreach and Education Programs; and there will be three exciting new sidebars – the Green Cinema Now!Program and two retrospective presentations – Being Hal Ashby: Mind of A Hollywood Rebel andEnvironmental Spaces: Christo and Jeanne-Claude On Film. And, of course, there will be the events, soirees and glamorous parties that the Sarasota Film Festival does so well.
Tickets for individual films go on sale to the general public on Friday March 13 at 11:00 AM at the Festival Box Office,1991 Main St, in Downtown Sarasota. Tickets are also available on the Festival website at www.sarasotafilmfestival.com.
“As we enter our second decade of providing the best film programming, special guests, events and parties to our Sarasota audience,” stated SFF President Mark Famiglio, “we thank you for sharing our passion with us all these years and welcome you to continue on our amazing journey. We have over 160 films, new industry partnerships, as well as those already forged or being strengthened in our West Coast community, our award-winning Outreach and Education program, the conversations, panels and just good old festival excitement. We have worked hard to make this year’s Festival much more accessible to our audience, by reducing selected ticket prices to expanding our programming to appeal to our diverse Sarasota community.”
“We look forward to sharing our Festival program with the terrificSarasotaaudience,” stated Director of Programming Tom Hall. “We hope that members of the community will join us to celebrate these films and the artists who created them. This year's program features a broad spectrum of ideas, issues and stories and we're excited for audiences to discover them during this year's festival.”
The Opening Night Film of the 11th Sarasota Film Festival will be director Oren Moverman’s The Messenger, starring Ben Foster, Woody Harrelson, Samantha Morton and Jena Malone. The Messenger,winner of the Silver Bear for Screenwriting at the recent Berlin Film Festival, is a timeless story of military brotherhood and service and examines universal themes of hope, redemption and the resilience of the human spirit. The film is a deeply moving tale about the complex and unexpected ways people reach out to one another to gain strength, and offers a unique and inspiring vision that deftly balances strong emotions with humor, compassion and empathy. Ben Foster, Woody Harrelson and Oren Moverman are expected to attend.
In a written statement, the U.S. Army endorsed the film by saying “The United States Army began its support of the feature film The Messenger by working on the script with the writers and director. Once the script was accurate in the portrayal of the military, LTC Paul S from the Office of the Chief of Public Affairs, Los Angeles Branch, was assigned the mission of working on the production as the Military Technical Advisor. The producers, actors and director met with Army Casualty and Mortuary Affairs personnel in Alexandria, Virginia and also visited Walter Reed Army Medical Center in order to make certain the portrayal of all military personnel were accurate and responsible. In addition, the production filmed for one week at Fort Dix, New Jersey where they used actual military personnel as extras. In doing so, they were able to add an authenticity to the film not seen in non-DOD/US Army supported projects. The Messenger is a powerful portrayal of military personnel who perform the function of Casualty Notification Officers.”
The Sarasota Film Festival will dedicate this special opening night screening of the acclaimed drama The Messenger to the honor of active duty and retired service men and women and their families. Because the themes of this powerful drama honor the service of our men and women in uniform, the festival will be partnering with the filmmakers and MacDill Air Force Base to host over 400 members from all four branches of our armed forces as our special guests for this screening. In addition, veterans from all branches of the service and will be offered a special 25% discount (in person, at the festival’s Box Office at 1991 Main St.) to attend for what promises to be a powerful salute to our soldiers past and present. The festival will be offering the opportunity for members of the community to donate tickets and “Send a Solider To Opening Night” For each ticket donated, the SFF will “match” with a complimentary ticket for a soldier. Information on how to “Send a Solider To Opening Night” can be found online, and this ticket will be available online at www.sarasotafilmfestival.comand at our Box Office starting March 13, 2009.
SFF’s Closing Night Film will be Every Little Step directed by Adam Del Deo and James D. Stern. Every Little Step is the story of the smash hit musical “A Chorus Line,” from its humble beginnings in Michael Bennett’s workshop to the new Broadway production of the show, featuring young dancers and actors following their own dreams of landing a role on The Great White Way. Much like the play itself, backstage rivalries, personal intrigues, histories and hopes mingle with the chance to dance and the film is there every step of the way, from the first auditions to Opening Night on Broadway. A glittering example of the power of Broadway to inspire dreams,Every Little Step is one singular sensation.
This year, the Sarasota Film Festival will present three exciting Sidebar Programs.
Being Hal Ashby: Mind of A Hollywood Rebel. One of the brightest lights of American cinema in the 1970’s, Hal Ashby is remembered for producing an unprecedented collection of films that defined a generation. Born in Ogden,Utah in 1929, Ashby followed his dream to California where, as a young man, he learned the craft of film editing, culminating in an Oscar for Film Editing in 1967 for his work on Norman Jewison’s classic In The Heat Of The Night. Soon after, with Jewison’s encouragement, Ashby made his directorial debut with the 1970 film The Landlord, starring Beau Bridges. Before his tragic and untimely death in 1988, Ashby went on to make over a dozen films of remarkable diversity, warmth and grace.
Ashby’s influence on the cinema has been profound, inspiring generations of filmmakers and artists who continue to shape the future of the movies. It is with tremendous pleasure that we honor the late Hal Ashby with a program featuring a retrospective of the director’s most important work, including the World Premiere of a never-before-seen Director’s Cut of the film Lookin’ To Get Out, presented in a newly re-mastered Hi-Definition print, and an evening’s salute to the Ashby’s life and career featuring some of the Director’s most important collaborators at our Tribute event on Saturday, April 4, 2009 at The Sarasota Opera House.
Among Hal Ashby’s films that will be screened throughout the 2009 SFF are: Harold And Maude; Shampoo; The Last Detail; The Slugger’s Wife; Bound For Glory; The Landlord; Lookin’ To Get Out; Coming Home and Being There.
The Festival is also proud to partner with author Nick Dawson on the launch of his new biography, Being Hal Ashby: Life Of A Hollywood Rebel. Mr. Dawson will be on hand to sign copies of his book and will be our moderator for the Tribute.
Environmental Spaces: Christo and Jeanne-Claude On Film. The Sarasota Film Festival presents a complete retrospective of the films documenting the work of the acclaimed artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, beginning with Michael Blackwood’s Wrapped Coast (1969) through to Wolfram Hissen’s Along U.S. 50 (2009), a World Premiere screening of a film in progress that documents the ongoing work to complete the Over The River project. Christo and Jeanne-Claude will attend the festival’s closing weekend.
“Our projects are discussed and argued about, pro and con, before they are realized,” they say. “To understand our work one must realize what is inherent to each project. However there is an important difference between our works of art and the usual architecture and urban planning, we are our own sponsors and we pay for our works of art with our own money, never accepting any sponsors.”
The films of the work of Christo and Jeanne-Claude presented at the Sarasota Film Festival include: Along US 50; Christo And Jeanne-Claude; Christo In Paris; Dem Deutsche Volke: Wrapped Reichstag 1971-1995; The Gates; Islands; Running Fence and Umbrellas. The Shorts Include: Christo’s Valley Curtain; Wrapped Coast; Wrapped Trees and Wrapped Walkways.
The Sarasota Film Festival is proud to announce the Green Cinema Now! program for our 2009 edition. This program is a collection of films and discussions that deal with issues and activism surrounding the environmental challenges that face our community, our nation and our planet.
Presented in partnership with The Video Project (www.videoproject.com), this program will feature 6 films in our main festival program, including Food Inc.; Upstream Battle; Burning The Future; Crude;Taking Root: The Vision Of Wangari Maathai; and The End Of The Line. 10 short films will be available during the festival on our website, each with a unique message about our environment and each with a call to action for activism that continues long after the film has ended.
Visit www.sarasotafilmfestival.com beginning March 25, 2009 to view a complete selection of shorts. In conjunction with the Green Cinema Now!Program, filmmaking activist Steve Michelson and filmmaker David Novack (Burning The Future) will moderate a panel on how to create and build long-term campaigns and calls to action around environmental filmmaking. The panel is free and open to the public.
Among this year’s Special Events are:
Luncheon Under The Banyanson Friday, April 3, 2009. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. The lush, tropical beauty of the idyllic Marie Selby Botanical Gardens sets the stage for SFF to showcase the life and work of our selected honoree Regal Entertainment Group’s Career Achievement Award winner,Bill Paxton. Proceeds from this event will benefit the Selby Gardens Children’s Rainforest Project.
In Conversation With Bill Paxton at the Historic Asolo Theater on Friday, April 3, 2009. Bill Paxton’s career spans from his gut-busting performance as Chet in Weird Science through to his major roles in Twister; Titanic and Apollo 13. Already one of the top-grossing box-office performers of all time, Paxton also stars in HBO’s “Big Love,” one of the network’s most popular series. Join us for an evening of conversation with one of the cinema’s most compelling actors.
In Conversation With Christo and Jeanne-Claude at the Historic Asolo Theater on Saturday, April 4. At the artist’s request, this event will be a direct dialogue between the artists and the audience about the art of Christo and Jeanne-Claude. Though not required, guests are encouraged to explore the artist’s work and see the retrospective of films playing at the festival in order to fully participate in this discussion.
World Cinema Film & Celebration on Wednesday, April 1, 2009 with screening at the Hollywood 20 and Celebration following at the Sarasota Bayfront. Join World Cinema Event Chairman – David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox – for our World Cinema Film & Celebration. The film Sugar,directed by Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck, focuses on the world of American minor league baseball and a young Dominican pitcher Miguel “Sugar” Santos who thinks that he has what it takes to achieve the major league dream. Following the film, the Celebration, a breezy Caribbean-inspired evening, will take place at the Sarasota Bayfront. This celebration benefits the Sarasota City Parks Foundation and contributes toward the construction of a shade structure for the Bayfront Children’s Playground.
Sarasota Film Festival’s 2009 Filmmaker Tribute on Saturday, April 4, 2009 at the Sarasota Opera House. This Gala event at the Sarasota Opera House will honor the late director Hal Ashby. The festival will be creating a tribute film in Mr. Ashby’s honor, and an on-stage conversation about his life and work will follow. Among those expected in to honor Hal Ashby are David Carradine, Illeana Douglas, Norman Jewison, Jon Voight and the director’s daughter, Leigh MacManus. In addition, the festival will be handing out our filmmaking awards and honoring other special guests in attendance.
And this year, we have a special In Performance… with TJ and Daveon Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at the Historic Asolo Theater. Winners of numerous awards in New York City and Chicago, TJ Jagodowski and David Pasquesi are improvisational performers who improvise a unique one-hour play each time they take the stage; no two performances, stories or characters are the same twice! Join us as they bring their unique performance to the Historic Asolo in support of their new film, Trust Us, This Is All Made Up, and be prepared for a true once in a lifetime experience.
The 2009 SFF Feature Film Competition Program
The Sarasota Film Festival, in partnership with the companies Film Movement and First Run Features, is thrilled to present our very first feature film competitions that carry distribution prizes. The eight films in the Best Documentary Competition will compete for a US Distribution deal with First Run Features, the acclaimed North American distributor of daring independent, foreign and non-fiction films. The Best Narrative Feature winner will receive an offer for US Distribution from Film Movement, the full-service North American distributor of critically acclaimed and award-winning independent and foreign films.
The 2009 Sarasota Film Festival Best Narrative Feature Award, Presented by Film Movement and BAMcinematek features eight films in competition: Adela by Adolfo Alix Jr.; Children of Invention by Tze Chun; Française by Souad El-Bouhati; The Maid by Sebastián Silva; The Man Who Loved Yngve by Stian Kristiansen; Nurse.Fighter.Boy by Charles Officer; Prince Of Broadway by Sean Baker and You Won't Miss Me by Ry Russo-Young.
The winning film receives a DVD/VOD/Educational/Television and “first look” theatrical offer from Film Movement. In addition, the film will be screened in New York at BAMcinematek, presented by the Sarasota Film Festival and Film Movement. The Jury for the 2009 Sarasota Film Festival Best Narrative Feature Award, Presented by Film Movement and BAMcinematek includes: Rebecca Conget, Film Movement; Adley Gartenstein, Film Movement; and Mike Maggiore, Film Forum.
The 2009 Sarasota Film Festival Best Documentary Feature Award, Presented by First Run Features consists of eight films in competition: 21 Belowby Samantha Buck; BloodTrail by Richard Parry; Brock Enright: Good Times Will Never Be The Sameby Jody Lee Lipes; Letters To The President by Petr Lom; Lootby Darius Marder; Old Partner by Chung-Ryoul Lee; Over The Hills And Far Away by Michel O. Scott; Winnebago Man by Ben Steinbauer.
The winning film receives a DVD/VOD/Educational/Television and “first look” theatrical offer from First Run Features, and a screening in the Fall 2009 “Stranger Than Fiction” line-up, held at the IFC Center in Manhattan. Jury members for the SFF documentary competition include: Florence Almozini, BAMcinematek; Karina Longworth, Spout.com; Marc Mauceri, First Run Features.
The 2009 Sarasota Film Festival Audience Award for Best Short Film, Presented by Cinetic Rights Management.The winning film will receive a standard Cinetic Rights Management offer for VOD from Cinetic Rights Management, presented by CRM’s Matt Dentler.
In addition to these above current partnerships, the Sarasota Film Festival is partnering with Indiepix as the Official DVD and Download Partner of the 2009 Sarasota Film Festival. The Sarasota Film Festival website will be launching an online DVD store on March 25th, 2009. DVDs of Official Selections from past Sarasota Film Festivals will be available for purchase on the site, as well as films recommended by the festival.
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