The Sarasota Film Festival (SFF) returns March 31st for its 19th season to Regal Cinemas Hollywood 20. The festival spans an entire week and features independent films of all backgrounds from narrative, documentary, animation, shorts and feature-length. Films are in competition within their class. The festival also includes discussion panels with guests such as Diane Lane and Aisha Tyler, as well as features centered on LGBTQ+ and black representation in media and environmental protection and sustainability.
This year, SFF has partnered with the 18th Annual Through Women’s Eyes (TWE) International Film Festival to showcase female narratives, placing focus on combating violence against women and promoting gender equality and economic independence. Other featured partnerships include the Veterans Filmmaking Academy, Booker High School Film Academy and sensory friendly screenings. In keeping with promoting the future of creative filmmaking, SFF presents youthFEST, a family-friendly slate that features films suitable for children of all ages. The festival is also hosting HOLLYWOOD NIGHTS, which screens films created by young, local artists ranging from eight to 18 years old.
HOT FILMS TO CHECK OUT….
Director: Michael Almeryda
Producer: Uri SingerRunning time: 99 min
Marjorie (Lois Smith), an aging woman suffering from dementia, converses with a hologram of her late husband, Walter (Jon Hamm), as she desperately tries to hold onto her memories.
This is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous
Director: Barbara Kopple
Producers: Barbara Kopple and David Cassidy
Running time: 91 min
Gigi Lazzarato, a.k.a. Gigi Gorgeous, tells the story of her life as a transgender YouTube star in this intimate documentary of self-discovery and personal loss.
City of Ghosts
Director: Matthew Heineman
Producer: Matthew Heineman
Running time: 90 min
A documentary detailing the Syrian crisis, the film follows the ISIS resistance group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS) as they work across the country for safety and for freedom.
Paint It Black
Director: Amber Tamblyn
Producers: Wren Arthur, Amy Hobby, Anne Hubbell and Amber Tamblyn
Running Time: 96 min
Grief-stricken after the suicide of her boyfriend, Michael, Josie (Alia Shawkat) searches for answers while navigating a complicated relationship with Michael’s mother Meredith (Janet McTeer), who blames Josie for her son’s death.
Director: Toby Fell-Holden
Producers: Tom Kimberley, Ali Mansuri
Running Time: 17 min
Tina (Charlotte Beaumont) falls for Dana (Genevieve Dunne), an Afghani immigrant, who suffers from racial oppression in her new neighborhood and family tensions at home.
The Disappointment Tour
Director: Erica Liu
Producers: Michael Hoopingarner
Running Time: 13 min
Three generations of women with things unsaid take a road trip and experience an unexpected moment of connection and understanding.
Director: Jessie Auritt
Producers: Jessie Auritt, Carmen Delaney and Justin Levy
Running Time: 80 min
After breaking a powerlifting world record, nine-year-old Naomi Kutin, a.k.a. Supergirl, must now navigate the perils of adolescence, religious obligations, health scares and cyber-bullying.
Director: Maite Alberdi
Producers: Maite Alberdi and Denis Vaslin
Running Time: 80 min
Four middle-aged students at a school for children with Down’s Syndrome seek to change their sheltered, mundane life of working in the school’s bakery.
Tickets are available online or at the box office. The screening schedule is listed at sarasotafilmfestival.com, or stop by the Hollywood 20 box office (1993 Main Street) to pick up a guide to all the great films featured this year.