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SFF announces movie lineup

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SFF BLACKFISH

Production still from the Sarasota Film Festival opening film "Blackfish"

The lineup for the 15th annual Sarasota Film Festival unveiled Wednesday showcases a wide slate of award-winning feature films and shorts.

But there is also a dash of intrigue: Three feature films made locally, including “Blind Pass,” starring Booker High School graduate Danielle White, will not be on the marquee. Two were rejected and no application was submitted on the other because the director said a neighboring film festival values local films more.

All three films will instead be shown at the Gasparilla International Film Festival in Tampa later this month.

The absence of local films raised questions about whether the Sarasota festival that includes 222 selections should promote locally made productions.

Sarasota Film Festival director Tom Hall defended the selection process, saying it reflects the festival’s goal of attracting top films from around the world that have yet to be widely released.

“The lineup is really diverse, we’re trying to bring the best films to the community,” Hall said. "We started work back in September and I think we’ve done a very good job of finding and securing films the audience will respond to that are state of the-art but also speak to different aspects of our community. I’m excited to see these films connect with audience.”

It is hard to dispute the quality of this year’s lineup.

The festival, April 5-14, will showcase narrative and documentary films that have previously taken honors at the prestigious Venice, Sundance and Toronto film festivals. The selections announced also include numerous short film programs, including a collection of eight local titles dubbed “SRQ Shorts.”

Opening the festival will be the killer whale documentary “Blackfish” that was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, will be screened at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. The closing night film, Oscar-nominated filmmaker Noah Baumbach's comedy "Frances Ha," can be seen at the Sarasota Opera House. The festival's 2013 Terry Porter Visionary Award will go to Andrew Bujalski's "Computer Chess," which won a prize as the best feature to focus on science or technology at Sundance.

While the festival will surely impress cinephiles eagerly awaiting the latest by acclaimed indie and international directors like Bujalski, Olivier Assayas and Xavier Dolan, moviegoers who enjoy seeing their hometown on the big screen might be disappointed.

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Danielle White during the filming of "Blind Pass." Photo by Rod Millington

"Blind Pass," the most high-profile local film completed in the past year, which features an appearance by a multiple Golden Globe nominee Armand Assante, received a rejection letter.

The rejection came even though filmmaker Steve Tatone enjoyed a level of local stardom when his homegrown dramatic musical "Beautiful Noise" sold out six showings at the 2011 Sarasota Film Festival.

But “Blind Pass,” filmed in Sarasota and Ireland, did not make the cut, even though it featured actress Danielle White from Sarasota.

"Blind Pass" will be screened later this month, however, at the seventh annual Gasparilla International Film Festival in Tampa, along with several other Sarasota-made features and shorts.

"Danielle and I are disappointed our film didn't make the cut to our hometown film fest; yet thankful that all our Suncoast fans can drive to Gasparilla on March 22 (in Tampa), or Fort Myers Beach Film Festival on April 25- 28, to catch 'Blind Pass,'" Tatone said. "We're also looking into ways to screen the film for charity here in town in April."

"We don't comment on the particulars of a film at all, so I have no comment on the reasons why the film is not playing the Sarasota Film Festival," Hall said. "We're proud of our program and wish Steve the best, as we do all the filmmakers who have submitted films."

Co-produced with White, "Blind Pass" is a psychological thriller about Carrie (White), a talented singer who begins to go blind following the death of her powerful, eccentric father (played by Armand Assante). Carrie is sent to see a psychiatrist played by Chris McKenna, an actor probably best known for playing Patrick Westhill in the "90210" TV reboot.

In January, Tatone screened "Blind Pass" during an invitation-only event at Burns Court Cinemas in Sarasota. "Whether it will have a reception equal to 'Beautiful Noise' is hard to say," wrote Carrie Seidman in her review of the film for the Herald-Tribune. "While it has a more complex story line, stronger acting and is, overall, a better effort, it suffers from erratic pacing, confusing editing and a perplexing conclusion that I had to get my cinephile son to sort out for me afterward."

Joseph Restaino, board president and program director of the Gasparilla International Film Festival praised "Blind Pass."

“For an independent film to take its crew to Ireland and shoot is really impressive," Restaino said. "Right around 25 percent of our movies are Florida films and this was one of the best."

He added, "We want to be the first to show Florida films."

The Gasparilla festival is also where filmgoers can see popular downtown Bradenton bar The Lost Kangaroo and a local cast in Lakewood Ranch-based director Karl Wilson's debut feature "Breaking Up with Rosie."

Sarasota director Austin McKinley's shorts "Life in a Glass House" and "Quicklime" are being shown at the Tampa festival, as well.

Restaino chose Leslie Glass' "The Silent Majority," a documentary that reports on four programs that help teens stay drug, alcohol and tobacco free, as the closing night film this year at Gasparilla.

Largely shot in Sarasota, it will be screened at Tampa Theatre March 24, where it will also have a starring role at the 30th anniversary party for the Tampa-based Drug Abuse Comprehensive Coordinating Office. Sarasota County Sheriff Thomas Knight is scheduled to be on a panel at the screening.

In 2011, Glass' documentary "The Secret World of Recovery" played to a packed house at the Van Wezel as part of the Sarasota Film Festival. Glass, who lives in Sarasota, said she skipped submitting her latest work to the hometown festival.

"The Tampa film festival has been completely welcoming to local filmmakers," she said. "They're very interested in serving their community."

Hall acknowledged that Sarasota has a "vibrant filmmaking community" that he appreciates and tries to offer a platform, but not "a huge filmmaking community."

"We can't take every movie, making a film here doesn't guarantee access," Hall said. "We're trying to show the best new work we can, to show the best new work available. There are dozens of films we're not showing that we would like to show."

SARASOTA FILM FESTIVAL 2013:

NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITION

THE COLD LANDS, directed by Tom Gilroy (North American Premiere)

CONCUSSION, directed by Stacie Passon

THE HUNT, directed by Thomas Vinterberg

I USED TO BE DARKER, directed by Matthew Porterfield

IT FELT LIKE LOVE, directed by Eliza Hittman

LAURENCE ANYWAYS, directed by Xavier Dolan

POST TENEBRAS LUX, directed by Carlos Reygadas

SOMETHING IN THE AIR, directed by Olivier Assayas

Narrative Feature Competition Jury

Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York/ Chair, The New York Film Critics Circle

Alicia Van Couvering, Filmmaker Magazine/ Producer, TINY FURNITURE

Miranda Siegel, New York Magazine

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE COMPETITION

AFTER TILLER, directed by Lana Wilson and Martha Shane

CITIZEN KOCH directed by Carl Deal and Tia Lessin

CUTIE AND THE BOXER, directed by Zachary Heinzerling

DEATH METAL ANGOLA, directed by Jeremy Xido (North American Premiere)

SURVIVAL PRAYER, directed by Benjamin Greené

TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM, directed by Morgan Neville

WE ALWAYS LIE TO STRANGERS, directed by AJ Schnack, David Wilson

WITHOUT SHEPHERDS, directed by Cary McClelland, Imran Babur

Documentary Feature Competition Jury

Drew Taylor, Indiewire/The Playlist

Donna Freydkin, USA Today

Nick Dawson, Filmmaker Magazine

INDEPENDENT VISIONS COMPETITION, presented by Factory 25

THE DIRTIES, directed by Matthew Johnson

THE FORGOTTEN KINGDOM, directed by Andrew Mudge

NOR'EASTER, directed by Andrew Brotzman

THE OXBOW CURE, directed by Yonah Lewis & Calvin Thomas (World Premiere)

SOFT IN THE HEAD, directed by Nathan Silver (World Premiere)

A SONG STILL INSIDE, directed by Gregory Collins (World Premiere)

THIS IS MARTIN BONNER, directed by Chad Hartigan

TOWHEADS, directed by Shannon Plumb

Independent Visions Jurors

Matt Grady, Founder, Factory 25

Alex Ross Perry, Director, THE COLOR WHEEL

Michael Tully, Editor In Chief, Hammer To Nail/ Director, SEPTIEN

C. Mason Wells, Curator, The IFC Center/ Writer, Mubi.com

Parties/Events:

Saturday, April 6th

UN WOMEN RECEPTION
Art Center Sarasota
6:30PM

Friday, April 12th

Tribute Luncheon
Sarasota Yacht Club
11AM

Cinema Tropicale
Sarasota Yacht Club
8:30PM

Saturday, April 13th

Filmmaker Awards/Closing Night Film (FRANCES HA)
Awards 6PM
Film 7PM

Late Night Party
THE FRANCIS
11:37PM

The 2013 Sarasota Film Festival

FEATURE FILMS

AFTER TILLER, directed by Lana Wilson and Martha Shane

ALIYAH, directed by Elie Wajeman

THE ANGELS’ SHARE, directed by Ken Loach

AUGUSTINE, directed by Alice Winocour

THE BALLAD OF THE WEEPING SPRING, directed by Benny Toraty

BARZAN, directed by Alex Stonehill and Bradley Hutchinson (World Premiere)

BEAUTY AND THE BREAST, directed by Liliana Komorowska

BETWEEN US, directed by Dan Mirvish

BIG STAR: NOTHING CAN HURT ME, directed by Drew DiNicola

BLACKFISH, directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite

BRAVE MISS WORLD, directed by Cecilia Peck

BROKEN, directed by Rufus Norris

BURMA, directed by Carlos Puga

C.O.G., directed by Kyle Patrick Alvarez

CASTING BY, directed by Tom Donahue

CITIZEN KOCH, directed by Carl Deal and Tia Lessin

THE COLD LANDS, directed by Tom Gilroy (North American Premiere)

COMPUTER CHESS, directed by Andrew Bujalski

CONCUSSION, directed by Stacie Passon

THE CRASH REEL, directed by Lucy Walker

CUTIE AND THE BOXER, directed by Zachary Heinzerling

DEAD MAN’S BURDEN, directed by Jared Moshe

DEATH METAL ANGOLA, directed by Jeremy Xido (North American Premiere)

THE DEFLOWERING OF EVA VAN END, directed by Michiel ten Horn

THE DIRTIES, directed by Matt Johnson

THE DISCOVERERS, directed by Justin Schwarz

THE END OF TIME, directed by Peter Mettler

FALL AND WINTER, directed by Matt Anderson

FILL THE VOID, directed by Rama Burshtein

FIRST COMES LOVE, directed by Nina Davenport

FORBIDDEN VOICES, directed by Barbara Miller

THE FORGOTTEN KINGDOM, directed by Andrew Mudge

FRANCES HA, directed by Noah Baumbach

A GIRL AND A GUN, directed by Cathryne Czbek

GOOD OL’ FREDA, directed by Ryan White

THE GREAT CHICKEN WING HUNT, directed by Matt Reynolds

THE GREY AREA, directed by Noga Ashkenazi

A HIJACKING, directed by Tobias Lindholm

HOMEFRONT HEROINES: THE WAVES OF WWII, directed by Kathleen M. Ryan

THE HUNT, directed by Thomas Vinterberg

I USED TO BE DARKER, directed by Matthew Porterfield

IN THE FOG, directed by Sergei Loznitsa

IN THE HOUSE, directed by François Ozon

IT FELT LIKE LOVE, directed by Eliza Hittman

THE KINGS OF SUMMER, directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts

LA SIRGA, directed by William Vega

LA SOURCE, directed by Patrick Shen

LACE BITE, directed by Sharron Bates and Carmen Klotz

LAND OF HOPE, directed by Sion Sono

THE LAST SENTENCE, directed by Jan Troell

LAURENCE ANYWAYS, directed by Xavier Dolan

THE LIST, directed by Beth Murphy

LITTLE FUGITIVE, directed by Morris Engel, Ruth Orkin, and Ray Ashley

MAIDENTRIP, directed by Jillian Schlesinger

MARIA THE KOREAN BRIDE, directed by Maria Yoon

MEDORA, directed by Andrew Cohn and Davy Rothbart

MONSTERS, directed by Melissa Thompson

MORE THAN HONEY, directed by Markus Imhoof

MUSICWOOD, directed by Maxine Trump

MY NAME IS FAITH, directed by Jason Banker, Jorge Torres-Torres, and Tiffany Suedela-Junker

NEWLYWEEDS, directed by Shaka King

NEXT YEAR JERUSALEM, directed by David Gaynes (World Premiere)

NO ONE LIVES, directed by Ryûhei Kitamura

NO PLACE ON EARTH, directed by Janet Tobias

NOR’EASTER, directed by Andrew Brotzman

NOTHING WITHOUT YOU, directed by Xackery Irving

THE OXBOW CURE, directed by Yonah Lewis and Calvin Thomas (World Premiere)

PASADENA, directed by Will Slocombe (World Premiere)

PERSISTENCE OF VISION, directed by Kevin Schreck

THE PERVERT’S GUIDE TO IDEOLOGY, directed by Sophie Fiennes

PLIMPTON! STARRING GEORGE PLIMPTON AS HIMSELF, directed by Thomas Bean and Luke Poling

POST TENEBRAS LUX, directed by Carlos Reygadas

THE RAMBLER, directed by Calvin Lee Reeder

REALITY, directed by Matteo Garrone

REMOTE AREA MEDICAL, directed by Jeff Reichert and Farihah Zaman

RENOIR, directed by Gilles Bourdos

RICKY RAPPER AND COOL WENDY, directed by Mari Rantasila

RUNNING FROM CRAZY, directed by Barbara Kopple

RUNNING WILD: THE LIFE OF DAYTON O. HYDE, directed by Suzanne Mitchell

RUTA DE LA LUNA, directed by Juan Sebastián Jácome

SALMA, directed by Kim Longinotto

SHEPARD AND DARK, directed by Treva Wurmfeld

SOFT IN THE HEAD, directed by Nathan Silver (World Premiere)

SOMETHING IN THE AIR, directed by Olivier Assayas

A SONG STILL INSIDE, directed by Gregory Collins (World Premiere)

THE SPECTACULAR NOW, directed by James Ponsoldt

STILL MINE, directed by Michael McGowan

SURVIVAL PRAYER, directed by Benjamin Greené

THÉRÈSE DESQUEYROUX, directed by Claude Miller

THIS IS MARTIN BONNER, directed by Chad Hartigan

TOWHEADS, directed by Shannon Plumb

TRAILBLAZERS IN HABITS, directed by Nancy M. Tong

TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM, directed by Morgan Neville

UP HEARTBREAK HILL, directed by Erica Scharf

VENUS AND SERENA, directed by Maiken Baird and Michelle Major

THE WALL, directed by Julian Roman Pölsler

WE ALWAYS LIE TO STRANGERS, directed by AJ Schnack and David Wilson

WHEN I WALK, directed by Jason DaSilva

WHICH WAY IS THE FRONT LINE FROM HERE? THE LIFE AND TIME OF TIM HETHERINGTON, directed by Sebastian Junger

WITHOUT SHEPHERDS, directed by Cary McClelland

WORLD CIRCUS, directed by Angela Snow

YOU AIN’T SEEN NOTHIN’ YET, directed by Alain Resnais

ZARAFA, directed by Rémi Bezançon and Jean-Christophe Lie

Last modified: April 1, 2013
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