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Highlights of the Sarasota Film Festival 10th Anniversary

The Sarasota Film Festival kicks-off its 10th Anniversary with a sneak-peak at some of the highlights of this years films, honorees and special programs; Among them is the announcement of the three major competitions, Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary Feature, and Independent Visions - each showcasing a selection of the finest films at the festival. Special programs include Face To Face: The Films of Liv Ullmann and Ingmar Bergman; and Israel@60: The Nation, The Diaspora and Beyond.

For it's 10th Anniversary the festival is thrilled to have as it’s honorary chairs, Governor Charlie Crist, United Artists CEO Paula Wagner and Creative Artists Agency (CAA) Co-Chairman Rick Nicita. They all expected to attend the 10th Anniversary Ball, where this year’s honorees will include: Charlize Theron (Battle in Seattle, In the Valley of Elah, Monster), This Is That co-founder, Ted Hope (In The Bedroom, The Savages, Towelhead - written and directed by Alan Ball) also honored this year will be writer, actor, director Stanley Tucci (Blind Date, The Devil Wears Prada).

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 on Friday April 4, 2008, is our Opening Night Film and Gala. This year’s Opening Night film comes to us on the heals of it’s World Premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. We are proud to present Steven Schachter’s film, The Deal, starring Meg Ryan, William H. Macy, Jason Ritter and LL Cool J, many of whom will be attending the festival. And as this year’s Centerpiece Film, Blind Date, starring Stanley Tucci, who will be honored at the 10th Anniversary Ball, where he will be introduced by his friend and partner (and last year’s World Cinema honoree), Steve Buscemi. Stanley will also participate in our Conversation Series at the Historic Asolo Theater. Battle In Seattle, starring Charlize Theron André Benjamin (aka André 3000 of Outkast), Woody Harrelson, Ray Liotta, Channing Tatum, Michelle Rodriguez and Martin Henderson, Produced by Redwood Palms Pictures, will be the Closing Night Film of the 2008 Sarasota Film Festival. Director Stuart Townsend and Charlize Theron will attend.

The 2008 Sarasota Film Festival Narrative Feature Competition features a cash award of $5,000.
• California Dreamin’ by Cristian Nemescu (Romania)
• Edge Of Heaven by Fatih Akin (Germany)
• Gone With The Woman by Petter Naess (Norway)
• Mongol by Sergei Bodrov (Kazakhstan)
• Munyurangabo by Lee Issac Chung (Rwanda/USA)
• Roman De Gare (Crossed Tracks) by Claude Lelouch (France)
• Then She Found Me by Helen Hunt (USA)

The Jurors for the 10th Sarasota Film Festival’s Narrative Feature Competition include John Kochman, President - UNIFRANCE USA; Writer/Producer Ligiah Villalobos (La Misma Luna)

The 2008 Sarasota Film Festival Best Documentary Feature Competition also features a cash award of $5,000.
• American Teen by Nanette Burstein
• At The Death House Door by Peter Gilbert and Steve James
• Flow: For The Love of Water by Irena Salina
• Great Speeches From A Dying World by Linas Phillips
• Song Sung Blue by Greg Kohs
• Stranded: I Have Come From A Plane That Crashed On The Mountains by Gonzalo Arijon
• To See If I’m Smiling by Tamar Yarom
• We Are Wizards by Josh Koury

The Jurors for the 2008 SFF Best Documentary Feature Competition include Head of Acquisitions for Red Envelope Entertainment, Liesl Copland; Matt Dentler, Festival Producer, SXSW Film Festival and Filmmaker AJ Schnack, (Kurt Cobain: About A Son)

The Sarasota Film Festival salutes the filmmakers and artists working outside the mainstream with the third year’s presentation of a series of movies and events called Independent Visions, a program of unique films sponsored by Heineken that challenge the status quo, celebrate the true spirit of creativity and offer a fresh perspective on filmmaking.

The 2008 Sarasota Film Festival Independent Visions Competition features a cash prize award of $5,000.
• Medicine For Melancholy by Barry Jenkins
• My Effortless Brilliance By Lynn Shelton
• Natural Causes by Alex Cannon, Paul Cannon and Michael Lerman
• The Pleasure Of Being Robbed by Josh Safdie
• Up With Me by Greg Takoudes
• Woodpecker by Alex Karpovsky
• Yeast by Mary Bronstein
• The Toe Tactic by Emily Hubley

The 2008 SFF Independent Visions Competition Jury includes Marc Mauceri, VP, First Run Features
David Nugent, Director of Programming, Hamptons International Film Festival and Nick Dawson, Filmmaker Magazine

Face To Face: The Films of Liv Ullmann and Ingmar Bergman
In honor of Liv Ullmann, our 2008 Master of World Cinema Award winner, we present the complete retrospective of the twelve film collaboration between Ms. Ullmann and the director Ingmar Bergman, one of the most fruitful relationships in the history of cinema. Ms. Ullmann will receive our 2008 Master of Cinema Award at the Luncheon Under The Banyans, Wednesday April 9, 2008 at The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, will attend the World Cinema Celebration that evening and will join us for our Conversation Series at the Historic Asolo Theater on Tuesday April 8, 2008.

• Autumn Sonata directed by Ingmar Bergman, starring Liv Ullmann
• Cries and Whispers directed by Ingmar Bergman, starring Liv Ullmann
• Face To Face directed by Ingmar Bergman, starring Liv Ullmann
• Faithless directed by Liv Ullmann, written by Ingmar Bergman
• Hour of The Wolf directed by Ingmar Bergman, starring Liv Ullmann
• The Passion Of Anna directed by Ingmar Bergman, starring Liv Ullmann
• Persona directed by Ingmar Bergman, starring Liv Ullmann
• Private Confessions directed by Liv Ullmann, written by Ingmar Bergman
• Saraband directed by Ingmar Bergman, starring Liv Ullmann
• Scenes From A Marriage (Complete TV Version) directed by Ingmar Bergman, starring Liv Ullmann
• The Serpent’s Egg directed by Ingmar Bergman, starring Liv Ullmann
• Shame directed by Ingmar Bergman, starring Liv Ullmann
Israel@60: The Nation, The Diaspora and Beyond
In partnership with the Sarasota Manatee Jewish Federation, The Sarasota Film Festival is proud to present our Israel@60 program, a selection of contemporary films that explore Jewish history, culture and identity as well as the complex diversity of art and life in Israel.

• Beaufort by Joseph Cedar (Nominated this year’s Academy Award for best foreign film.)
• Constantine’s Sword by Oren Jacoby
• The First Basket by David Vyorst
• Fugitive Pieces by Jeremy Podeswa
• The Hebrew Lesson by David Ofek, Elinor Kowarsky and Ron Rotem
• Jellyfish by Shira Geffen and Etgar Keret
• Making Trouble by Rachel Talbot
• My Brother by Yulie Cohen Gerstel
• Praying With Lior by Iliana Tractman
• Souvenirs by Shahar Cohen and Halil Efrat
• To See If I’m Smiling by Tamar Yarom

10th Annual Sarasota Film Festival’s Outreach and Education Program works in the community to foster an appreciation of the art of film, support the creative vision of filmmakers, and to entertain and educate cinema fans of all ages. Programs are designed to be hands-on, interactive and compliment film programs. In 2007, the programs reached over 21,000 attendees and benefited approximately 50 public and private schools, and numerous community organizations.

KidsFest Big Night Out, Featuring The Jimmies and School of Rock
Saturday, April 5th at 6-10pm
Payne Park, 2050 Adams Lane, Downtown Sarasota 34236
FREE and open to the public. All ages welcome.
Attire: Rock ‘n’ Roll Casual

Get ready to Rock Out at the signature family event for the 10th Annual Sarasota Film Festival, KidsFest Big Night Out! This evening of FREE fun for kids of any age (or even the young at heart) features a concert from NYC’s The Jimmies, local youth bands, Rock ‘n’ Roll glam stations for stylized hair, glitter makeup and even temporary tattoos. Photo areas will capture your new, punk look. Get creative at the games and crafts section and learn magic at the magician’s area. An eclectic assortment of food vendors will satisfy the most ravenous of kid tastes. The evening culminates with an outdoor film screening of the family classic, School of Rock, at 8:00 pm.

About the Band: The Jimmies

A 2007 Parents' Choice Gold award and Oppenheim Toy Portfolio winner, The NYC-based band The Jimmies play "real music for real kids" and will gleefully rock, swing & dance their way into your world through terribly catchy & hilarious songs for people of all ages. Their new album "Make Your own Someday" was just voted one of the Top Ten Best Albums of the year by The Fids and Kamily awards.

KidsFest Film Selections and Kids Trip
In addition to being showing twice during the Festival for the general public, every KidsFest film selection reaches local students through the KidsTrip program at no cost to the participating schools. Bus reimbursement courtesy of Embracing Our Differences.

Over the five weekdays of the Festival, over 7,000 students will enjoy the selected feature and short films which represent over nine international countries:

KidsFest Spotlight Film Selections:

Peter and the Wolf by Suzie Templeton (UK)
2008 Academy Award Winner for Best Animated Short Film

Anna and the Moods by Gunnar Karlsson (Iceland)
Featuring the vocal talents of Bjork and music by the Brodsky Quartet

KidsFest Film Selections:

• Amarelinha by Francois Choquet (USA)
• The Animal Book by Natalie Ann Hinchley and Chris Randall (UK)
• Beatless Nick by Kelly Morrison (Canada)
• Chinese Dumplings by Michelle Hung (USA)
• Dear Lemon Lima by Suzi Yoonessi (USA)
• Dorme by Sylvia Binsfeld (USA)
• Gandhi at the Bat by Stephanie Argy (USA)
• The Goat That Ate Time by Lucinda Schreiber (Australia)
• Herzog and the Monsters by Lesley Barnes (UK)
• Hunting by Janis Cimermanis (Latvia)
• The Legend of the Scarecrow by Marco Besas (Spain)
• The Librarian from the Black Lagoon by Galen Fott (USA)
• Lucky Oli by Saschka Unseld and Johannes Weiland (Germany)
• My Happy End by Milen Vitanov (Germany)
• One Rat Short by Alex Weil (USA)
• Portable Living Room by Ransom Riggs (USA)
• School of Rock by Richard Linklater (USA), starring Jack Black
• Snakebite by Matt Pinder (UK)
• Sole Mates by Susan Hebert (USA)
• Special People by Justin Edgar (UK)
• A Sunny Day by Gil Alkabetz (Germany)
• Tyger by Guiherme Marcondes (Brazil)
• Voodoo Bayou by Javier Gutierrez (Mexico)
Young Filmmakers’ Showcase
From the eight original short works by inspired high school filmmakers from Sarasota and Manatee counties, a prize of “Best Film” and two $1000 scholarships will be awarded to the top entries.

• Carter and Krazinski by Shane Spiegel and Zach Freeman
• Marching Band by Laura Fischer
• Modern Bloggers by Shane Spiegel
• Mouse Trap by Vincent Dale
• Pits In Paradise by Kimberly Sprayberry
• Skunk Number Eleven by Dave Olson
• Survey by Shane Spiegel
• Virulent by Kasey Hettig-Rolfe

Youth Screenwriting Program
For a second year, The Sarasota Film Festival has partnered with Phoenix Academy to produce screenplays with five of their students, in an effort to encourage personal expression through writing. With the goal to create a filmable script, students focus on story development and screenplay formatting.
Kids Jury & Apprentice Program
This year’s Kids Jury consists of a class of 18 aspiring film critics from New Gate School. Instructed on how to critique film by local reviewers, they preview the shorts films and select their choice for the “KidsFest Short Film Award.” The Apprentice Program teaches Kids Jury members about entertainment careers through active internships during the ten days of the annual Festival.
The Festival awards the Gerd Petrik and Dr. John Welch Scholarships to promising students in the Young Filmmakers’ Showcase.
Filmmakers in the Classroom
Visiting filmmakers from all over the world travel to area high schools and colleges and hold discussions about the process of filmmaking.

2008 Sarasota Film Festival Event Schedule

4.4 Fri. Opening Night Film and Gala: The 10-day Festival is sparked by this grand, two-tiered event. The Opening Night Film, The Deal, conceived at the Festival two years ago and co-produced by SFF Executive Director Jody Kielbasa and produced by Executive Board Member Keri Nakamoto - financed in-part from over a dozen Sarasota and Manatee investors, will be screened at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. Followed by the Gala Celebration at the glorious outdoor piazza at the John and Mable Ringling Museum for music, food and drinks - Steven Schachter, William H. Macy and Jason Ritter will be attending.

4.5 Sat. The Reel Experience at Lake Club: The Sarasota Film Festival celebrates its first Saturday at the upscale community with live music and an amazing assortment of cocktails and cuisine to compliment the breathtaking views of the surrounding lakes and residences following the presentation of that evening’s Festival Spotlight film screening at the Hollywood 20.
Filmmakers Brunch & Panel Discussion: On both Saturdays of the Festival, enjoy a free, moderated panel featuring visiting filmmakers, industry leaders and film critics in a dialogue about the art of filmmaking. With a brunch buffet available for purchase on the outdoor patio of Esca, this is a must-attend for all cineastes wanting a unique experience beyond the darkened theater.

KidsFest Big Night Out: An evening of FREE fun for kids of any age (or even the young at heart.) Featuring a variety of activities including live music, games and food, the evening will culminate with an outdoor, interactive family film in Payne Park.

4.9 Wed. World Cinema Celebration: At this high-energy outdoor event, the streets of downtown Sarasota are transformed into an expansive feast for all the senses. A multicultural mélange of cuisine, drink, dancing, live action street and stage performances. Among the Special Honorees at past celebrations have been Steve Buscemi, the acclaimed German Director Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man, Nosferatu, Aquirre: The Wrath of God), and Indian Director Deepa Mehta (Water, Bollywood/Hollywood) – Liv Ullman will be attending.
4.9 Wed. Luncheon Under the Banyans: In the gorgeous botanical fold of Marie Selby
Botanical Gardens, Sarasota welcomes and honors a film legend. Previous honorees have included Marcia Gay Harden, Joey Pantoliano, Allison Janney, Patrick Stewart, Lainie Kazan, Rita Moreno, Gena Rowlands and Tippi Hedren. This year’s honoree will be Liv Ullman, introduced by Sony Pictures Classics Co-President Michael Barker.

4.10 Thur. Cabana Culture: Watch the breath-taking sunset from the Hyatt Siesta Key beach style at this sand-between-your-toes event! Check your business shoes with the footwear valet, slip on the complimentary pair of comfortable flip flops, sip a refreshing cocktail, enjoy light hors d’oeuvres and remember why Florida is paradise on earth. As you watch the sun set, roast marshmallows to gooey perfection over the open fire pit. “Camp” in style in this pitch-perfect Sunshine State event!

Center Stage Live! – Music Café: MelEcho Entertainment and the Sarasota Film Festival present Center Stage Live! Music Café. This showcase of soulful artists features saxophone phenomenon Eric Darius, R & B premiere top 40’s band Bus Stop, Latin band Lotus Fire, jazz and R & B artist Ywada Pitts, DJ Lady Femme, and spoken word artists. These musicians will keep the crowd dancing with a mix of soulful jazz, neo-soul, and Flamenco music. Indulge in delectable hors d’oeuvres, deserts, and Café drink specials under the stars.

4.11 Fri. Night of A Thousand Stars: Dance, dine and mingle with the stars and guest filmmakers from the evening’s Spotlight featured films at one of the most exciting highpoints of the festival. Event features top DJs and live performances from guest musicians at Michael’s on East.

4.12 Sat. Closing Night Film: This final screening of the Festival showcases one of the highlights from our Festival program.

10th Anniversary Ball: Hosted by the award-winning Longboat Key Club and Resort, this black-tie, elegant event presents honors to the films in competition and to the Festival’s celebrity tributees. Previous honorees include Norman Jewison, William H. Macy, Felicity Huffman, Robert Altman, Sydney Pollack, Robert Towne, Richard Dreyfuss, Paula Wagner, Robert Benton, Leslie Caron, Jon Voight and Alan Alda. Also awarding the Heineken Red Star Award, presented to an emerging filmmaker chosen by the festival’s selection committee; last year awarded to Chad Lowe for his film Beautiful Ohio…and then we will dance the night away to Big Z Band!

Late Night Wrap Party: Loosen your tie, let your hair down and be prepared for anything! This party at the Longboat Key Club and Resort follows the Filmmakers’ Tribute Dinner and brings the festival to a close in the wee hours. Past guests have included Stephen Dorf, Christian Slater, Michael Stipe, Fred Schneider, Steven Tyler and Aerosmith, the Brazilian Girls & Woody Harrelson.

Lead Sponsors: Regal Cinema Entertainment Group, Longboat Key Club & Resort, Mercedes-Benz of Sarasota, Sky Sotheby International Realty, Amicus Foundation, Famiglio Family Foundation; Major Presenting Sponsors: Hyatt-Siesta Key Beach, The Lake Club, Michael's on East, Pineapple Square City Place, Premier Beverage & Bombay Sapphire, Sarasota Herald-Tribune & SNN 6, WWSB-ABC 7, Tampa Bay on Demand- Channel 340, The Lake Club, Bright House Network; Co-Presenting Sponsors: At Large Inc., Benderson Development Company, Comcast, Heineken, Bank of America, Hurricanes Plus, Ian Black Real Estate, LexJet, The Observer, Ringling Museum of Art, DHD, Saks Fifth Avenue, Sarasota Magazine, Serendipity Racquet Club, SRQ Magazine, Sarasota Manatee Jewish Federation; Granting Organizations: Sarasota County Tourist Development Cultural/Arts Grant, Florida Arts and Culture Division of Cultural Affairs, Publix Super Market Charities.

For more information contact the Sarasota Film Festival at 941-366-6200 or Toll Free 866-575-3456 or online at


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