What’s It All About?
In its 18th edition, Sarasota Film Festival (SFF) feature film line-up boasts 251 films
ranging from documentary features to shorts. The festival aims to continue its goals to bring the best of new and veteran independent filmmakers together with local and child-friendly programs that showcase the Gulf Coast community. This year, the festival will kick off by honouring Academy Award-winning actress Sophia Loren with its Legend Award.
The 18th edition will also host special events such as talks, revival screenings and tributes, attracting the interest of several filmmaking communities. With several campaigns focusing on mental health, this year’s edition will feature films on the topic.
Ginger Shankar’s directorial Nari will be the Spotlight film of the festival. Ginger, daughter of legendary musician Ravi Shankar, has portrayed their story through a multimedia installation combining documentary film and live performance. The documentary was first showcased at the Sundance 2016 Festival.
Driving With Selvi is shortlisted to be featured in the Documentary section. Directed by Elisa Paloschi, the film is the struggle of a young Indian girl Selvi, who is forced to marry at the age of 14. Selvi finds herself determined to leave an increasingly destructive situation and start a new life by becoming South India’s first female taxi driver. The film focusses on the challenges faced by Selvi and other women living in India.
The festival will also feature Sahadev Kelvadi’s short film Kenda in its Shorts category.
Watch Out For!
OPENING NIGHT GALA
Chris Kelly’s Other People was also the opening film for the Sundance festival this year. It is a story of a struggling comedy writer David, who is having the worst year of his life and recently ended a relationship. He returns to Sacramento to care for his dying mother Joanna. Life gets complicated as David has to face his conservative family and his father’s refusal to accept his sexuality.
Five Nights In Maine
Starring David Oyelowo and Rosie Perez, the film is the story of a young African-American man reeling from the tragic loss of his wife. He travels to rural Maine to seek answers from his estranged mother-in-law, who is herself confronting guilt and grief over her daughter’s death.
Unlocking The Cage
Chris Hegedus and DA Pennebaker’s documentary follows animal rights lawyer Steven Wise in his unprecedented challenge to break down the legal wall that separates animals from humans and establish legal person-hood for apes, elephants and cetaceans in the US.
SFF FOCUS: MENTAL HEALTH
CLOSING NIGHT GALA
Robert J Mrazek and Jared Martin’s The Congressman revolves around congressman Charlie Winship (Treat Williams) retreating to an island off the coast of Maine to escape an angry ex-wife and a scathing smear by the media. On his retreat, he tries to find his footing once again and get back to fighting the good fight.