SFF Reveals 2019 Film Line-Up with Community Focus, Hollywood Flair and Arthouse Eye

Film

BY PHILIP LEDERER SRQ DAILY WEDNESDAY PHILANTHROPY EDITION WEDNESDAY MAR 20, 2019

The Sarasota Film Festival has officially left pre-production and shooting has begun, with SFF President Mark Famiglio kicking off the film-centric festivities last night at the Sarasota Modern Hotel, and releasing the complete film line-up for this 21st year of SFF.

Opening with the journalism-focused documentary Mike Wallace Is Here, Famiglio hopes to set the tone for a festival seeking more than fun and fame—but one looking to have an effect and affinity with its community. “We expect to have a very rigorous discussion after the film,” he says, and several festival selections speak to similar sentiment. SFF Focuses this year include “African-American Spotlight,” “LGBTQ Representation” and “Fashion on Film,” bringing narrative and documentary films to encourage conversation around each topic.

The “Focus on Florida” program celebrates and examines the region with films like All There Is – A Circus Story, exploring circus culture and starring local icons such as Dolly Jacobs and Pedro Reis, and Pahokee, a Sundance hit about coming-of-age in a small town in southeast Florida. At the same time, the “Community Screenings” program uses documentary films such as Trafficking Solution and Invisible… Poverty, Hope and the American Dream to tackle relevant local issues like sex trafficking and homelessness.

Community roots run deep for the festival, and several community collaborations make their mark upon each year’s programming as well. An initiative with Booker High School brings the student-led film Into The Storm to the listings, while efforts with the Fine Arts Society of Sarasota and the Sarasota World Affairs Council brings the films The Price of Everyting and Swing Time in Limousin, respectively. The Through Women’s Eyes International Film Festival, running April 6–7, brings women-led films like Lovesick, a documentary about a matchmaker in India for those with HIV, and Upstream (Stroomop), a South African narrative feature about five women battling the elements.

Hollywood expectations will still be meet with the directorial debut of actor Greg Kinnear, a dark comedy entitled Phil, serving as Closing Night film and the return of Blythe Danner, who stars opposite John Lithgow in SFF Centerpiece Film The Tomorrow Man, directed by David Fincher protégé Noble Jones.  “This was a banner year for us,” says Harrison Bender, programming manager for the festival, and the one who spent countless hours watching the thousand-plus submissions, winnowing the wheat from the cinematic chaff. His picks this year include three world premieres—Feral, Epiphany and Florida Water—and a last-minute pick-up in Red Joan, a spy film starring Judi Dench.

Slow cinema also gains a foothold in the festival this year, with two films clocking in at nearly four hours long or more: An Elephant Sitting Still (234 minutes) and A Bread Factory (270 minutes).

« View The Wednesday Mar 20, 2019 SRQ Daily Edition
« Back To SRQ Daily Archive

Other Articles in Film

May 7, 2019Phil Lederer

Raiders of the Lost Art

Apr 12, 2019Philip Lederer

Artists Embrace the Abstract at Gaze Modern