SFF Kicks Off Cinematheque Program This Weekend

Todays News


The Sarasota Film Festival may still be months away, but for those Sarasota cinephiles still grieving the untimely loss of Video Renaissance this past September, here’s a little white light at the end of the projection tube—Cinematheque, a new yearlong program screening classic and foreign films. Produced by the Sarasota Film Festival as part of its (re)expanding community presence, the pilot program begins this weekend with a screening of Casablanca on December 1 at 6pm at 500 Tallevast Road, Sarasota. Tickets at $5 for SFF members and $10 for non-members.

Taken from the French tradition for small, typically single-screen, theaters specializing in historic or avant-garde or art-house films, Cinematheque aims to indulge the local film community with film of a different flavor—the kind they likely won’t find at venues like Regal or Cinebistro. “There’s a good community here of cinephiles and people who would like to see classic movies,” says Paul Ratner, SFF director of education and driving force behind Cinematheque. “What we’re hoping to establish in Sarasota is something that kind of links to similar programs you can find in Paris and New York.”

The series begins on Saturday with a screening of Casablanca off Tallevast, in a warehouse environment repurposed by SFF for special screenings and summer film camps. Each Cinematheque screening will also be hosted and introduced by a resident film expert, who will provide historical context for the film’s importance, background on the artists involved and facilitate discussion after the screening. “We’re hoping to help viewers with more challenging films as well,” says Ratner. Local cinephile and host of At the Movies with Gus Mollasis, Gus Mollasis, will lead the Casablanca screening.

“We’re hoping to fulfill a need,” continues Ratner, noting that the festival wants to be seen as “not just an event that happens for a couple of weeks in April, but as a program that’s here all year long.”

Currently a biweekly program, Cinematheque continues December 14 with a screening of Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon, and two to-be-determined screenings in January. But, if demand proves strong, Ratner would like to see the series expand into maybe even a weekly event that stretches throughout the year. “So every weekend, people can expect to see some great film in Sarasota,” he says. “Something they can’t see anywhere else.”

Cinematheque begins this Saturday, December 1, with a showing of Casablanca at 6pm at 500 Tallevast Road, Sarasota.

Pictured: Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman star in Michael Curtiz' 1942 classic.

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