From Sundance to Sarasota: A love of movies
PARK CITY, Utah
In January, I stood in line outside the famous Mary G. Steiner Egyptian Theater, shivering in the snow as I waited to watch “To Kill A Man,” a feature film, and the first film of my Sundance Film Festival experience.
As a self-proclaimed movie buff I was ecstatic to check off my bucket list attending one of the world’s most prestigious film festivals.
Before attending Sundance, I’d only experienced film festivals in Florida cities — Orlando, St. Augustine, Fort Lauderdale and Sarasota. While the crowds, the parties, and the number of celebrities elevate the Park City festival to a different status, the spirit of the festival is very much the same in Sarasota. People who love movies gather in theater settings to watch the final polished product and listen intently as filmmakers, actors and crew members explain the passion and work that went into creating what we see on the big screen.
What I loved most about Sundance was the sense of community. Along Main Street in this small ski town, moviegoers and filmmakers mingled in retail shops that were closed for the season and retrofitted to be VIP lounges and bars. Social media avenues were flooded with photos of celebrities such as Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Kristen Stewart gathered in front of the same restaurants, coffee shops and bars that I frequented.
I felt special to be among the many standing in line in the wee hours of the morning to try to grab another ticket to one of the dozens of films premiering at the festival. When shows sell out, tickets sell for hundreds of dollars online.
The Sarasota Film Festival is featuring 14 movies that were showcased at the Sundance Film Festival this year. While I haven't seen them all, there are a few I’d recommend seeing in Sarasota.
HELLION: Are you a fan of Breaking Bad? Be sure to see Aaron Paul (known for his role of Jessie Pinkman on the AMC show,) who plays the father of 13-year-old Jacob, (actor Josh Wiggins) in this gritty family tale. The motocross-obsessed teenager has a knack for getting into trouble and pushes his suffering family to the brink of collapse. It’s an emotional ride, fueled by economic struggle and tragedy. This is director Kat Candler’s debut feature film, based on her short film that screened at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.
Showing in Sarasota: April 12, 7:45 p.m. April 13, 1:15 p.m.
FRANK: This offbeat comedy follows Jon, (actor Domhnall Gleeson), a mediocre musician who joins up with a touring rock band in need of a keyboard player. But creating art is harder than it looks, especially under band leader Frank (actor Michael Fassbender,) who hides himself under a large, handmade fake head. Director Lenny Abrahamson is known for his first two films: Garage, which received the CICAE Art Cinema prize in the Directors’ Fortnight at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, and Adam & Paul, which screened at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2005.
Showing: April 12, 8 p.m.
WETLANDS: Perhaps the most controversial film showcased at Sundance this year is by director David Wnendt. It follows Helen, (actress Carla Juri) a teenager who describes herself as a living feminine hygiene experiment. Her perverse nature is explored during the film, where Helen blurs the boundaries of sexy and just downright repulsive. An intimate act leads to her hospitalization, where she flirts with a male nurse in a most unladylike manner, and dreams of reuniting her separated parents. The film is adapted from the German novel.
Showing: April 5, 9:15 p.m. April 11, 8:45 p.m.
TO KILL A MAN: Jorge (actor Daniel Candia) is a hardworking family man struggling to make ends meet when a neighbor in his poor Chilean neighborhood mugs him. When his son nearly dies trying to enact revenge, the neighbor Kalule (actor Daniel Antivilo) is arrested. Kalule is later released and makes tormenting Jorge's family his No. 1 priority, straining Jorge's relationship with his family and pushing him to the edge. Director Alejandro Fernández Almendras film is based on true events. Almendras' first feature film, Huacho, won the Sundance/NHK International Filmmaker Award and premiered during Critics' Week at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.
Showing: April 6 3 p.m. April 9 4 p.m.