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Established 1995 filmfestivals.com serves and documents relentless the festivals community, offering 92.000 articles of news, free blog profiles and functions to enable festival matchmaking with filmmakers.

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6th Sarasota ready to kick off

6th ANNUAL SARASOTA FILM FESTIVAL
January 23RD – February 1ST, 2004
From the Opening Night Film & Party on January 23rd till the projectors go dark 10 film-filled days and nights later, the 6th Annual SARASOTA FILM FESTIVAL will present an extraordinary line-up of International & US independent features, shorts, documentaries, student films and special events celebrating special guests and their contributions to the art of filmmaking.

The SARASOTA FILM FESTIVAL (SFF) is dedicated to exploring and presenting unique and high quality cinema in a festival atmosphere for the purpose of educating, stimulating and entertaining our audience. Executive Director, Jody Kielbasa states, “The festival environment supports and encourages the filmmaker by supplying essential networking opportunities and open dialogue with intelligent, creative and inquisitive consumers of film. We welcome our filmmakers and honored guests and are pleased to introduce them to our terrific Sarasota audience.”

The Sarasota Film Festival incorporates a juried competition with awards presented in the categories of Narrative Films; Documentary Films; Kodak Emerging Filmmaker; and the Full Sail Real World Education Best Short Film Award. Among this year’s Jury are VP acquisitions and development for IFC Films, Kelly DeVine; Editor of IndieWire & IFCRant, Wendy Mitchell; Film Editor, Cynthia Scheider; Exec. Director of Women Make Movies, Debra Zimmerman; Board Chairman Bravo!FACT, Paul Gratten; Sundance Channel’s Senior Vice President of Film Programming, Paola Freccero; and President, International Film Festival Consultants, Mitch Levine. Audience Awards will also be presented in the categories of Best Narrative, Best Documentary, Best Comedy, and Programmer’s Choice.

And, what would a festival be without terrific special guests and filmmakers in town to supporting their films, receiving awards and enjoying the beauty of Sarasota. Among the folks the Festival expects to welcome this year are Jennifer Love Hewitt, Gil Junger, Paul Nichols, Woody Harrelson, Louise Fletcher, Geneviève Bujold, Justin Henry, Frank Vincent (for the 2nd year), Vincent Pastore, Patti D’Arbanville, Vinnie Sassone, Michael Pressman, Alan Rosenberg, Julien McMahon, Missi Pyle, Betty Buckley, Johnathon Schaech (for the 2nd year), Elizabeth Moss, Mario Van Peebles, Howie Mandel, Joe Bob Briggs, Barbara Hammer, Deborah Kampmeier, Charlie Loventhal and many many others.

Once again, the spectacular Van Wezel Performing Arts Center perfectly sets the stage for the thrilling opening weekend of the Sarasota Film Festival. Kicking-off the Festival is our Opening Night Film and Party. Join us for a splendid night with the World Premiere of director Gil Junger’s romantic comedy, If Only starring Jennifer Love Hewitt, Paul Nichols, Lucy Davenport and Tom Wilkinson. Then join Junger, Hewitt and Nichols at a festive party in the Van Wezel’s elegant Grand Foyer.

The following evening, Saturday, January 24, the Festival partners with the Florida West Coast Symphony, for the second consecutive year, to present CineSymphony!, a nostalgic and dynamic evening of music from the movies featuring full symphony orchestra and film visuals. Guest conductor Emil de Cou will lead the orchestra in a “Salute to the Oscars,” the theme of this year’s tribute to some of the greatest movie scores of all time. Maestro de Cou was principal pops conductor of the San Francisco Symphony for the 1995 and 1996 seasons and acting music director of the San Francisco Ballet from 1998 until 2001, during which he made two well-received CDs with the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. Mr. De Cou has also guest conducted many symphony orchestras.

Festival Program Director, Mark Marvell and his team have been screening hundreds of films from all over the world, and have put together an exciting and diverse program of films. They have categorized them, Independent Spirit; Industry Spotlight; Crossing Borders; No Boundries; Women’s Voices; Family Fest; and this year, guest programmed by the Toronto International Film Festival Group and Bravo!FACT, the festival presents its Canadian Showcase. This year’s festival includes 80 feature length films, 60 short films, 9 World Premieres, 8 US Premieres, 19 Southeast Premieres and 8 Florida Premieres.

Among the films to be presented in Independent Spirit are such delights as 5 Card Stud from director Hank Saroyan, featuring Khrystyne Haje and Lawrence H. Toffler; the Southeast Premiere of Vinnie Sassone’s A Tale of Two Pizzas starring Vincent Pastore, Frank Vincent and Patti D’Arbanville; the Florida Premiere of the unique Anathema directed by Nicholas M. Robbins and starring John Kuntz and Laura Letreille; Jim Amatulli’s Artworks starring Virginia Madsen and Rick Rossovich; the Southeast Premiere of the fantastic buddy film, The Best Two Years (in competition) from director Scott S. Anderson and featuring K.C. Clyde, David Nibley and Kirby Heybome; the Southeast Premiere of The Big Empty from director Steve Anderson and starring Jon Favreau, Daryl Hannah, Rachel Leigh Cook, Kelsey Grammer and Joey Lauren Adams; Monika Mitchell’s comedy Break a Leg starring John Cassini, Molly Parker, Jennifer Beals and Kevin Corrigan; Noah Buschel’s Bringing Rain featuring Adrian Grenier, Leisha Butler, Paz De LaHuerta, Larisa Oleynik and Noah Fleiss; from director John Dullighan comes the documentary Bukowski: Born Into This; the World Premiere of director Anthony Sommo’s comedic thriller Dropped Frames featuring Quinn Duffy and Xander Chauncey; the Southeast Premiere of touching Finding Home (in competition) starring Louise Fletcher, Geneviève Bujold, Lisa Brenner and Justin Henry, and directed by Lawrence D. Foldes; Michael Pressman’s Frankie and Johnnie Are Married starring Pressman, Lisa Chase and Alan Rosenberg,; a look into the teenage Goth world in Gypsy 83 from director Todd Stephens; the World Premiere of Marc Atwood’s surreal I Died; Evan Oppenheimer’s action-packed Justice featuring Eric Palladino, Catherine Kellner, Micahel Jai White and Tom Guiry; the Southeast Premiere of Loren-Paul Caplin’s The Lucky Ones featuring Ivan Martin and Dallas Roberts; the World Premiere of director Charlie Loventhal’s look at the singles scene, Meet Market with Elizabeth Berkley, Alisha Taylor, Julien McMahon and Missi Pyle; the World Premiere of J.S. Cardone’s drama The Mummy and the Armadillo (in competition) starring Betty Buckley, Lori Huering, Brad Renfro, Johnathon Schaech and Busy Phillips; the Florida Premiere of Campbell Scott’s passionate Off the Map starring Joan Allen, Sam Elliott, Amy Brenneman and Valentina De Angelis; the World Premiere of Bess Wiley’s creative Raising Genius starring Wendy Mallick, Justin Long, Stephen Root, Ed Begley, Jr., Shirley Jones and Tippi Hedren; the World Premiere of Wallace Wolodarsky’s Seeing Other People starring Jay Mohr, Julianne Nicholson, Brian Cranston, Josh Charles and Lauren Graham; Shrink Rap from director Doug Cox with Linden Ashby and Priscilla Barnes; the Southeast Premiere of Jacqueline Donnelli and Kerry Donnelli’s Titillating Steven; and the Southeast Premiere of David Tufford’s Vernie; and the Florida Premiere of Ben Coccio’s chilling Zero Day.

Presentations in the Industry Spotlight section include the Southeast Premiere of the Paramount Classics release A Slipping Down Life from director Toni Kalem and starring Lili Taylor, Guy Pierce, Bruno Kirby and Veronica Cartwright; the World Premiere of Showtime’s racially affecting Crown Heights directed by Jeremy Paul Kagan and starring Mario Van Peebles and Howie Mandel (who will be joining us); Kevin MacDonald’s docudrama Touching the Void from IFC Films; and taut crime drama The United States of Leland from Paramount Classics, directed by Matthew Ryan Hoge and starring Don Cheadle, Ryan Gosling, Chris Klein, Lena Olin and Kevin Spacey.

In the Crossing Borders program, we present films from over 17 countries and four continents. Among them are Franco Piavoli’s stunningly languid At the First Breath of Wind (Italy); the Florida Premiere of Nadia El Fani’s technologically eye-opening Bedwin Hacker (Tunisia); the Southeast Premiere of Causa Efecto (Cause and Effect) (Argentina) from director Herman Findling; the Southeast Premiere of Rodrigo Tiani’s humorous Como El Gato y El Racon (Like Cat and Mouse) (Columbia); the Southeast Premiere of Juan Gerard’s tender Cuba Libre (Dominican Republic) (in competition) starring Harvey Keitel, Gael Garcia Bernal, Iben Hjejle, Diane Bracho and Cecila Suarez; Doce Horas (12 Hours)(Puerto Rico) directed by Raul Marchand Sanchez; the Florida Premiere of Yossi Madmony and David Ofek’s familial Hamangalistim (The Barbecue People) (Israel); Alberto Sciamma’s crime thriller Jericho Mansions (UK) starring James Caan, Geneviève Bujold and Jennifer Tilly; The US Premiere of Jerome Foulon’s Joe Pollox et les Mauvais Espirits (Joe Pollox and the Bad Spirits) (France); the adorable Kannathil Muthamittal (A Peck on the Cheek) (India) from director Mani Rathnam and starring Nandita Das; the US Premiere of Sanna Piero’s La Destinazione (Italy); the US Premiere of sweeping L’Italiano (Italy) from director Ennio de Dominicis and featuring Sonia Aquino; the Southeast Premiere of Lisandro Perez-Rey’s documentary Mas Alla Del Mar (Beyond the Sea) (Cuba) (in competition); the Florida Premiere of the endearing Mavahlatur (The Seagull’s Laughter) (Iceland) from director Ágúst Gudmundsson; the Florida Premiere of the engrossing documentary The Other Final (The Netherlands) from director Johan Kramer; the US Premiere of the majestic The Projectionist (Sri Lanka) from director Samy Pavel; Stephen Chow’s Shaolin Soccer (China); the Southeast Premiere of Soren Kragh-Jacobsen’s Skagerrak; the Southeast Premiere of Aisling Walsh’s Song For A Raggy Boy (Ireland, Spain, UK) starring Aiden Quinn; the US Premiere of Jannik Johansen’s bumbling crime drama Stealing Rembrandt (Denmark); Byambasuren Davaa and Luigi Falorni’s deliciously intriguing The Story of the Weeping Camel (Mongolia); John-Paul Davidson’s documentary The Sweatbox (England) featuring Sting and Eartha Kitt; Alejandro Agresti’s Valentin (Argentina) starring Carmen Maura; and the black comedy Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself (Denmark) from director Lone Scherfig.

Our No Boundries section finds films such as the Southeast Premiere of Sur Corcoran’s Gory Gory Hallelujah; Nick Willing’s Hypnotic (aka Doctor Death) starring Goran Visnjic, Shirley Henderson and Colin Farrell; V.J. O’Burril and James M. Taylor’s hilarious Silver Scream; and Blood Feast (Feast of Flesh) from director Herschell Gordon Lewis, starring Thomas Wood (and incorporated into Joe Bob Briggs’ In Focus panel). And speaking of Joe Bob…who appears with us thanks to the Manatee Community College Film Club, where he will also appear on Jan 23 to present a special screening of THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON and at An Evening With Joe Bob Briggs to include discussion and signing.

In Women’s Voices, a selection of films from around the world by and about women, we will present a number of terrific documentaries guest programmed by Claire Terraciano (of the Tribeca Film Fest, among others) including from France the Florida Premiere of Patrick Jeudy’s Ce que savait Jackie Kennedy (What Jackie Knew); the World Premiere of Lesli Klainberg & Virginia Reticker’s In the Company of Women featuring Lili Taylor, Jodie Foster and Tilda Swinton; Barbara Hammer’s riveting Resisting Paradise (in competition); the Southeast Premiere of Risk/Reward (in competition) from director Elizabeth Holder and Xan Parker; the Southeast Premiere of Caroline Libresco Gabbert’s Sunset Story; Tupperware (in competition)from director Laurie Kahn-Leavitt and featuring Karen MacDonald and Will LeBow; and a rare presentation of Sandra Hochman’s illuminating The Year of the Woman. As part of Women’s Voices we will also present two incredible narrative dramas Patty Jenkins’ frightening Monster starring Charlize Theron and Christina Ricci; and the Florida Premiere of Deborah Kampmeier’s Virgin starring Spirit Award Best Actress nominee Elizabeth Moss; Robin Wright-Penn and Daphne Rubin-Vega.

This year’s special programming from up north is our Canadian Showcase featuring such films as the US Premiere of Anita McGee’s The Bread Maker; the Southeast Premiere of Stephen Fry’s directorial debut Bright Young Things starring Stephen Fry and Peter O’Toole; the US Premiere of Flower and Garnet from director Keith Behrman starring Callum Keith Rennie; the US Premiere of Vikram Jayanti’s documentary Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine; Ron Mann’s documentary Go Further featuring Woody Harrelson, Natalie Merchant and Anthony Kiedis; Marion Bridge from director Weibke Von Carolsfeld and starring Molly Parker; the US Premiere of Benjamin Ratner’s Moving Malcolm (in competition) starring Ratner, Elizabeth Berkley and John Neville; the US Premiere of Barbara Willis-Sweete’s Perfect Pie; and the US Premiere of Guy Bennett’s Punch starring Michael Riley.

The SFF offers year round educational and outreach activities, culminating in the full schedule of screenings and events throughout the festival inin January. HeadedHead by Director of Education and Outreach, Hans Wohlgefahrt, SFF’sSFF’s approach to educational programming is innovative and simple. “Our mission is to encourage media literacy through filmmaker interactions, screenings, seminars and s andmulticultural community events.”.” Specific offerings include:

Tropicana KidsFest
KidsCritics introduces young people to process of film analysis and critiquesisue in an accessible forum that promotes enthusiastic discourse among peers. The KidsJury is a panel of young Manatee and Sarasota County cineastes, grades 5-8,, who engage in a two week discourse prior to announcinging their top ‘flick picks’ chosen from the Kids Short Film Package. Billy Norris, 15 year-old film critic for the Xpress segment of The St. Petersburg Times, will moderate the KidsJury for the second year and facilitate commentary at the KidsCritics Press Conference on Saturday, January 24 at 11:30am in the Comcast Filmmakers Pavilion in the Courtyard at Main Plaza.
Full Sail On Tour presents this years Filmmakers In The Classroom program, in which visiting festival filmmakers visit area teens inin classrooms with technicians from Full Sail who reinforce the creativity and ingenuity of making movies today. This program This program ooffers students practical information about careers and trends in the film and entertainment industry.
The KidsTrip Program balances film screenings with experiential learning. Students view a package ofof nationally and internationally renowned short films; visit the projection booth at Regal Cinemas on a Behind-the-Scenes Tour; explore the Community Foundation of Sarasota County’s new Filmmaking and Animation Station and observe an active film crew documenting the festival -with a chance to appear in the film, at the.F Full Sail On Tour production truck. This mobile studio offers hands on experienceexprience applying technologies Board of Directorsies for various aspects of filmmaking and practicalpractial information about preparing for careers in inthe entertainment industry .
KidsShort selections (critiqued by our KidsJury) include Joe, a film of determination and kindness; Anna Tchernakova’s poetic Sea and Stars; the animated I Want a Dog and FSU film school’s live-action and animated A Work in Progress about trying to fit in for audiences at the elementary level. Middle School-audiences see Abbie Down East, set in a remote lighthouse in Maine during the great storm of 1856; Showa Shinzan set in WWII, evoking the look and feel of Japanese Bunraku poetry; Dia de los Muertos about the ancient Meso-American holiday; and two selections by students in a collaborative program between Capital Children’s Museum and the National Gallery of Art, Trial and Error and Self Portrait (1889).

KidsTrip, Filmmakers in the Classroom and A Separate Peace will reach thousands of area students, weekdays January 26 through January 30. School groups will use a study guide produced by the Sarasota Herald Tribune’s “Newspaper in Education” program delivering editorial content that supports Sarasota and Manatee County curricular guidelines and writing exercises that offer unique FCAT preparation.

Featured programming includes the World Premiere of John Kent Harrison’s Winning Season starring Matthew Modine, Kristen Davis, Shawn Hatosy and William Lee Scott and an Interactive Screening of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory presented by Turner Classic Movies with special guests from Florida Studio Theatre’s Improv Troop
Each day in the Comcast Filmmakers Pavilion in the Courtyard at Main Plaza starts with a Filmmakers Breakfast, where a panel of visiting filmmakers informally discusses a variety of topics over coffee and pastry. In Focus is a series of free panel discussions. Profoundly Disturbing: The Seminar with renowned B-Movie essayist Joe Bob Briggs; A Brown Bag Luncheon with Women Make Movies’ Debra Zimmerman and Various Filmmakers;Sandra Hochman’s “The Year Of The Woman” with UNIFEM’s Judy Helgager; Pitching: The Workshop; and Florida Focus, where Florida Filmmakers present digital films.
selections Joe, a film of determination and kindness; the for audiences at the elementary levelool-audiences see, two selections by students in a collaborative program between Capital Children’s Museum and the National Gallery of Art,.

The reach thousands of area students, . School groups will use a delivering editorial content that supports Sarasota and Manatee County curricular guidelines and writing exercises that offer unique FCAT preparation. in the Comcast Filmmakers Pavilion in the Courtyard at Main Plaza starts with a panelof informally over coffee pastry. In Focus is a series of free panel discussions. essayistSandra Hochman’sThe herepresentdigitalThe SFF continues its outreach initiatives in partnership withwith First Step, an organization whose mission is to prevent and treat alcohol/drug addictions and associated disorders to promote fully functioning, productive individuals whose lives are positive.. Like last year’s presentation of Manic, First Step will partner on a screening and discussion following the Southeast Premiere of Lindsey Crystal’s loving documentary of her Grand Uncle, My Uncle Berns (in competition). The film features Lindsey’s dad, Billy Crystal.

Sunday, January 25 is an especially tall day for short films. The Festival of Shorts is among the most exciting programs at any film festival, with first forays by undiscovered raw talent andand new ideas from visionary filmmakers. AlthoughAlthough short film packages run throughout the festival, the Festival of Shorts includes a three-hour student showcase and a concentration of filmmaker appearances with $ 10 all-day admission. The Festival of Shorts is sponsored by Full Sail school of Film.

10 Days Celebrating The Best In Independent Film
Over 14545 Independent Features, Short, Documentary and Student Films

1.23 Friday Opening Night Film and Party
Opening film If Only starring Jennifer Love Hewitt in person at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall w/ after party in the Grand Foyer. Featured band is DJ Le Spam & the Spam All-Stars.

1.24 Saturday CineSymphony!: A Salute To The Oscars
Guest conductor Emil de Cou conducts Florida West Coast Symphony for an evening of cherished film scores with clips on the big screen.

1.25 Sunday Festival of Shorts
A full day of themed short film packages, with filmmaker Q&A’s.

Women’s Voices
Evening program ofof films by, for and about women.follows Women and Wine – a mixer where women winemakers toast women filmmakers at Mattison’s City Grille.

1.26 Monday UpClose: Interactive Celebrity Symposium
Intimate, moderated discussion with celebrated film artist. Previous guest subjects include Rod Steiger, Michael York & Olympia Dukakis.

1.28 Wednesday World Cinema Celebration:
This eclectic indoor/outdoorio street party is the grand finale for a day of international film screenings. Street performers and selected restaurants converge at Southside Village between Morton’s Gourmet Market & Fred’s Restaurant for sensational, multi-cultural entertainment and cuisine.

1.29 Thursday Luncheon Under the Banyans
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens hosts intimate affair honoring the life and work of a visiting film actor. Prior honorees are Gena Rowlands, Tippi Hedren, Shirley Jones, & Rita Moreno.

1.30 Friday Night of A Thousand Stars
Evening lineup of independent buzz films at Hollywood 20. DanceD, mingle and celebrate the independent spirit with the filmmakers at Michael’s on East. The evening’s entertainment will be provided by one of Florida’sFlorida most versatile party bands, Private Stock.

1.31 Saturday Awards Ceremony
Afternoon press conference and awards presentation.
Filmmakers Tribute Dinner
Black-tie banquet at Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota for Regal Entertainment’s Career Achievement Award Honoree. Prior honorees are Jon Voight, Alan Alda, Sydney Pollack & Richard Dreyfuss.
Late Night Wrap Party
Loosen thethe tie, let down thethe hair-do, and prepare for the unexpectedthe unexpected at this energetic after-hours party. Past guests have included Stephen Dorf, Christian Slater, Michael Stipe, Fred Schneider and Steven Tyler with a live set byby Aerosmith.

2.1 Sunday Best of the Fest
A day of screenings of the festival’s most popular, often sold-out, films.

And, of course, we wholeheartedly thank our Corporate and Individual sponsors for their support and generosity .We offer special mention to Major Presenting Sponsors: Amicus Foundation; Bank of America; Comcast; Mark P. Famiglio Foundation; Michael’s on East; Regal Cinemas; The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota; Sarasota-Herald Tribune; Stone Enterprises; WWSB Channel 40 and Presenting Sponsors: Bright House Networks; Celebrations! Catering by Café L’Europe; Full Sail; Gravity Free; Marquee en Ville; Morton’s Gourmet Market & Fred’s; Orion Bank; Plaza at Five Points; Prudential Palms; Sarasota Magazine; Sign Zoo; SRQ Magazine and WFLA Channel 8.

Tickets for the events at the 2004 Sarasota Film Festival are available by calling the Sarasota Film Festival at 941-364-9514 or by logging on to www.sarasotafilmfestival.com or by going to The Sarasota Film Festival Box Office in Sarasota Main Plaza, adjacent to Hollywood 20 at 1991 Main Street, Suite 108 directly across from Crisper’s Restaurant. Single film tickets go on sale January 12 (available on web and at box-office only).

The 2004 Program is still in formation and this information is subject to change. And, of course, there’ll be more exciting news to come….

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