From high-priced cocktail parties to free screenings for the entire family, here are some events that should add to the fun and excitement of this year’s Sarasota Film Festival.
Opening Night Film: “Last Days in Vietnam”
6 p.m. (red carpet), 7 p.m. (film) Friday; Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota; $25-$55.
Director Rory Kennedy, whose "Ethel" documentary about her famous parents was the audience favorite at SFF two years ago, returns to the festival with her new documentary “Last Days in Vietnam.” In addition to Kennedy, other special guests are expected to walk the red carpet.
Opening Night Party
9-11 p.m. Friday; Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall; $95 (party); $150 (VIP film and party).
Following the screening of “Last Days in Vietnam,” filmgoers with a party ticket are invited to the Van Wezel’s grand foyer for live music, cocktails and appetizers. Inside can get a bit cramped, especially around the food and booze tables, but it should be delightful at the venue’s new Sunset Terrace overlooking Sarasota Bay.
Moonlight Movies: “The Little Mermaid”
7:30 p.m. Saturday; Siesta Key Beach; free
Attendees are invited to enjoy a free screening in the sand of the Disney animated classic “The Little Mermaid.” Bring a beach blanket and be prepared for a giant sing along of “Under the Sea.”
UN Women Reception
5:30-8 p.m. Saturday; Wells Fargo Waterfall Lobby, 1819 Main St., Sarasota; $85; Two for $160.
The 15th annual presentation of Through Women's Eyes features independent documentaries, narratives, and short films by directors who increase awareness of the lives of women throughout the world. The accompanying reception features a sophisticated yet relaxing setting that is ideal for mingling with these remarkable filmmakers while sipping libations and nibbling tasty treats.
11 a.m.-1 p.m. April 11; Sarasota Yacht Club, 1100 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota; $100.
Sip mimosas, enjoy the musical repertoire of a classical pianist and then dine on a lunch prepared by the Sarasota Yacht Club’s chefs. This year’s Tribute Luncheon is being held in honor of Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe, the subject of the film "Sewing Hope."
8:30-11:30 p.m. April 11; Sarasota Yacht Club, 1100 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota; $150.
SFF’s biggest and best bash returns to the Sarasota Yacht Club with another island-themed serving of live music, first-rate fashion, exotic cuisine and Caribbean cocktails. Cinema Tropicale provides a sexy setting to get all social with filmmakers, visiting artists and everyone else trying their best to look and act fabulous.
Closing Night Film & Awards
6 p.m. April 12; Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota; $25 (balcony), $35 (orchestra), $55 (VIP).
The Filmmakers Tribute Awards is SFF’s annual salute to the festival standouts in various categories. Following the awards presentation will be the screening of the Closing Night Film, “The One I Love.”
11:37 p.m.-2 a.m. April 12; Louies Modern, 1289 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota; $40, $100 (VIP).
Oh, yes, the “late-night unwrap party,” which used to get pretty wild. Maybe it still will. Find out this year in the chic setting of Louies Modern but don’t wait too late to purchase a ticket, which includes limited cocktails while late night menu options are available for purchase. “Because of our high profile guests in the film and music industry, entry to this year’s event will be extremely restricted,” reads SFF’s print and online guide.
SARASOTA FILM FESTIVAL