After a season of CGI-smothered summer blockbusters and facing the September slumps, film aficionados and discerning cinephiles find themselves jonesing for a much-needed fix. And in Sarasota, that means they’re calling up the Cine-world Film Festival as early as August, checking on the product and trying to score some tickets.

They’ll be a bit early, however, because this 10-day November festival sources the overwhelming majority of its films from the Toronto International Film Festival in September, sending a festival representative every year to scope out the latest and the greatest, and to bring more than 30 films back to Sarasota for a marathon 50–60 screenings over the course of a week and a half. While this brings scheduling down to the wire and Cineworld fans can’t know for certain what’s coming until late September or, more likely, early October, the extra hustle also puts Cineworld in the position to screen celebrated films at a local cinema before they hit the major movieplex or online streaming services. Oscar-winning films like The King’s Speech and Slumdog Millionaire saw their first Sarasota screenings at Cine-world, as well as undiscovered indie darlings that would go on to change the industry at large, like The Blair Witch Project.  Films that premiered in Toronto and that are anticipated to arrive in Sarasota for Cine-world  include Marielle Heller’s much-touted A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood starring Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers. From the South Korean director Bong Joon-ho comes Parasite, a thriller about an unemployed family that takes an interest in swindling the lives of wealthier families. Other premieres include: Kasi Lemmons’ film Harriet about Harriet Tubman, Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit and Destin Daniel Cretton’s Just Mercy. These are but a few of the many films that will be reviewed by the Cine-world team during the Toronto festival and eventually narrowed down to approximately 30–40 that we will be screening at the festival. And after 30 years of programming, Cine-world cinephiles have learned to place their faith in the festival and programmers have grown to know their audience. Longtime members become like family friends, and the festival a reunion, complete with catered sandwiches and coffee. “Our niche is in the atmosphere we create,” says Tim Calandra, who serves as director of community outreach for the festival, working closely with David Meiers, the digital marketing director, to stay in touch with the audience year-round. “It’s the individualized attention,” says Meiers. “We stay true to the people who come and we listen to what they’re interested in.”

 Marielle Heller’s touted A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.

And it’s a crowd that gobbles up documentaries and foreign films like candy from the concessions out front. Last year saw documentaries covering everything from music and media, to religion, sports, intimate family histories and even combat in Afghanistan. And narrative films came from around the globe, including Iran, Turkey, Australia, Argentina, Colombia, South Korea and Iceland. And, typically, anything from France is a hit, even short films.

Kasi Lemmon’s film Harriet

“It’s a very cultured crowd,” says Calandra, and Meiers agrees. “They really do their homework, and do a lot of research around the films,” he adds. “These are people who stay through the credits just to see where the film was shot.” Calandra nods. “These people stay until the screen goes blank.”  

CINE-WORLD FILM FESTIVAL, NOVEMBER 1–10  Historically, this festival has been a nonstop marathon of films dedicated to various genres. The Sarasota Film Society anticipates this year will be no different, resulting in a collection of must-see films to satisfy each individual’s palate. Attending the Toronto Film Festival each year and selecting the best to bring back to Florida, the Cine-World Film Festival serves as one of Sarasota’s two main portals to the greater film world.