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Community Platform Series 'a cry from the heart'

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Sarasota is known as an arts town. Film is one of our home-grown arts. Several talented local directors are determined to get the message out. Examples of their work will be shown at this year's Sarasota Film Festival's Community Platform Series. Each film is a cry from the heart.

Director Leslie Glass, "The Secret World of Recovery" explores the journey from addiction to recovery. Glass is a celebrated journalist and best-selling mystery author, but she wants to make it clear that this is not a painful tale.

"It's an upbeat, positive film," she says. "Thanks to certain high-profile celebrities, the media has been filled with negative images of addiction and recovery. I wanted to set the record straight."

For Glass, creating the documentary was literally a journey. The filmmaker traveled the country with her daughter, screenwriter Lindsey Glass. ("She's proud to say that she's in recovery," the director notes.) The mother and daughter team explored the spectrum of national and local rehabilitation facilities, and captured the narratives of people who've turned their lives around.

"We've seen enough about the wreckage of addiction," Glass notes. "I wanted to show the other side. Rehab works, and it's time to get the message out there."

A panel discussion follows the screening, as part of a full day of free addiction prevention and recovery awareness events organized by Reach Out Recovery. 12:45 p.m. April 10, at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Free, but ticket required.

Director Charles Clapsaddle's "Through the Tunnel" presents a different journey. His film revisits a chapter of community history many would rather forget: the painful early days of integration. During that turbulent period, a surprising force helped bring people together across the country-high school football. In our area, African-American football players of the Lincoln High were integrated into the Manatee High football team in 1969. Despite vocal critics, head coach Eddie Shannon created a powerhouse team. In the process of winning football games, Shannon's dream team won hearts and minds. A filmmaker's discussion follows screening. 7:15 p.m. April 14 at the Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota.

Director Brad Bryan's "The Observer and the Observed" is more of a journey of the mind. The New College alumnus shadowed 16 area artists, who became confidantes of four families coping with children affected by mental health challenges. Each artist created an artistic response to their families. In the process, the distinction between observer and observed blurred-until each artist felt like part of the family. The art was ultimately exhibited at Art Center Sarasota, in collaboration with the Sarasota Partnership of Children's Mental Health. Bryan's documentary proves that the human connection was as vital as the artistic one. 6:30 p.m. April 9 and 6 p.m. April 11 at Regal Cinemas Hollywood 20, 1993 Main. St., Sarasota.

Last modified: April 5, 2011
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