Review: Bull Street Premiere and After Party at Sarasota Film Festival

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Review: Bull Street Premiere and After Party at Sarasota Film Festival

The excitement was palpable as movie-goers gathered for the opening night of the Sarasota Film Festival. The spotlight was on “Bull Street,” the highly anticipated premiere that promised to kick off the festival. Written and directed by Lynn Dow, a promising newcomer.

Bull Street unfolded on screen, transporting the audience into the gritty, atmospheric world of its protagonist. The film masterfully navigated themes of ambition, betrayal, and redemption, weaving a narrative that kept viewers on the edge of their seats. The performances were nothing short of outstanding, with each actor breathing life into their characters and adding layers of complexity to the story.

The direction was equally commendable, with the filmmaker demonstrating a keen eye for detail and a knack for building tension. From the atmospheric cinematography to the haunting soundtrack, every element of Bull Street came together to create an immersive cinematic experience.

But the night was far from over. The festivities continued at the after party at Ovation Hotel where filmmakers, actors, and festival-goers mingled over drinks and hors d’oeuvres. The atmosphere was electric as guests shared their favorite moments from the film and exchanged insights into the creative process behind its making.

The party provided a perfect opportunity to celebrate the talent and dedication that went into bringing Bull Street to life, while also fostering connections within the filmmaking community. It was a night of laughter, camaraderie, and shared passion for cinema—a fitting start to what promises to be an unforgettable festival.

In conclusion, the premiere of Bull Street at the Sarasota Film Festival was a resounding success, captivating audiences with its gripping story and stellar performances. As the festival continues, it sets a high bar for the caliber of films and experiences that attendees can expect in the days to come.

Matthew Greer, Amy Madigan, Gary Ray Moore on the red carpet. © Candace Carson 2024

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Sarasota Film Festival Announces Full Program Slate for 26th Annual Edition,

Running April 5 through April 14

 

Festival to Open with Lynn Dow’s BULL STREET

 

Festival to Close with Steve Buscemi’s THE LISTENER,

Buscemi to Attend and Participate in Q&A Conversation

 

Centerpiece Films to Include Jeff Dupre’s THIS IS A FILM ABOUT THE BLACK KEYS, Ethan Berger’s THE LINE, and Warren Skeels’ THE MAN IN THE WHITE VAN

 

Sarasota Native and THE LINE star Austin Abrams to

Attend and Receive SFF’s Rising Star Award

 

2023 Nominees for Academy Award for Best Live Action

Short Film to be Showcased

 

Tickets & Passes On Sale March 22

 

Feature Images Available HERE

 

Sarasota, FL (March 21, 2024) – The Sarasota Film Festival (SFF) announced today the full slate of programming for the upcoming 26th annual edition. Live and in-person screenings and events will take place across Sarasota April 5 through April 14, 2024. The 26th Sarasota Film Festival will feature a lineup of films that includes 64 features, with 4 World Premieres, 1 North American Premiere, 7 East Coast Premieres, and 24 Florida Premieres; and 81 short films.

 

The festival is set to open on April 5 with the East Coast Premiere of Lynn Dow’s BULL STREET, a stirring drama where a South Carolina small-town lawyer faces local politics, an unwavering judge and the town’s past in the battle of her life when her estranged father’s family tries to evict her and her grandmother from the only home she has ever known, starring Loretta Devine and Amy Madigan. Dow, Madigan, and additional cast members will attend the festival in-person and participate in a post-screening talkback.

 

On Saturday, April 13, the festival will close with a special presentation of Steve Buscemi’s THE LISTENER, a film that is a stirring testament to the power of empathy, following a crisis hotline worker (Tessa Thompson) enduring the pressures of her job. Director Steve Buscemi will also be in attendance and will participate in a Q&A conversation immediately following the film’s Florida Premiere screening. THE LISTENER is a Vertical release.

 

Jeff Dupre’s THIS IS A FILM ABOUT THE BLACK KEYS, which examines the story of Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney’s journey from a basement jamming session in Akron, Ohio to rock ’n’ roll super-stardom, will play its Florida Premiere as the festival’s Documentary Centerpiece film on Friday, April 12.

 

Narrative Centerpiece screenings include the April 12 East Coast Premiere of Warren Skeels’ THE MAN IN THE WHITE VAN, a thriller inspired by a true story, diving into the eerie underbelly of a seemingly idyllic 1974 Florida town and following the harrowing experience of young Annie Williams, whose carefree existence is turned upside down as she becomes stalked by an ominous man in a white van, starring Sean Astin and Madison Wolfe; and the April 13 Florida Premiere of Ethan Berger’s THE LINE, a chilling, nuanced thriller exploring the moral ambiguity of loyalty to tradition, as seen through a college sophomore in the throes of fraternity culture, starring Alex Wolff, Austin Abrams, Lewis Pullman, Halle Bailey, and Angus Cloud. Star and Sarasota-native Austin Abrams will attend the festival and receive SFF’s Rising Star Award.

 

Abram’s star power has been shining brighter and brighter. He has been winning fans and critical acclaim in his series regular role as beloved ‘Ethan’ in HBO’s EUPHORIA. Most recently, he can be seen starring opposite Camila Mendes and Maya Hawke in the Netflix feature DO REVENGE. No stranger to popular YA material, he starred as ‘Dash’ in the cult favorite series, DASH & LILY, produced by Shawn Levy & 21 Laps and was seen starring opposite Lili Reinhart in the Amazon Studios feature, CHEMICAL HEARTS, directed and adapted by Richard Tanne based on Krystal Sutherland’s novel OUR CHEMICAL HEARTS.

Abrams will next be seen in perhaps his biggest role yet as a lead role opposite George Clooney and Brad Pitt in the Jon Watts directed film WOLFS expected to premiere later in 2024. No stranger to critical and commercial films – Abrams has been a frequent guest at the Sundance film festival having been with five separate projects in his career including the Duplass produced PENELOPE, STARLING GIRL opposite Eliza Scanlen, Jimmi Simpson, and Lewis Pullman, PUZZLE opposite Kelly Macdonald and Liv Hewson, and KINGS OF SUMMER opposite Nick Robinson and Gabe Basso.

 

“I could not be more thrilled with the depth and quality of the films that makeup the lineup for our 26th annual edition,” said Sarasota Film Festival Chairman and President of the Board Mark Famiglio. “It is incredibly special that we also have the opportunity to honor a young talent in Austin Abrams- whose work has spanned prestige television to independent film– and to welcome him back to the community that helped launch his passion for the arts. We are proud to continue supporting film education, and to help spur creative output and tourism in the greater Sarasota area through the festival’s partnerships this year with Ringling College of Art and Design, Art Advocates, and many more local institutions.”

 

SFF also announced this year’s Spotlight presentations, including screenings of Natalie Rae and Angela Patton’s DAUGHTERS, a powerful documentary distributed by Netflix and following four young girls as they prepare for a special Daddy Daughter Dance with their incarcerated fathers, as part of a unique fatherhood program in a Washington, D.C.; Jeff Zimbalist’s HOW TO COME ALIVE WITH NORMAN MAILER, following the life and times of an American icon, from his formative years in Brooklyn through his career as a preeminent cultural voice; Dheeraj Akolkar’s LIV ULLMAN: THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED, a delightful, engaging portrait of one our greatest actresses, brimming with intimate memories and profound reflections on her hopes, fears, grief, rejections, dreams pursued, and lessons learned; Dawn Porter’s LUTHER: NEVER TOO MUCH, an emotional and jubilant celebration of Luther Vandross and his music that resonates with evocative power; Stephen Soucy’s MERCHANT IVORY, telling the story behind the longest running partnership in the history of cinema that has produced such classics as Howard’s End, A Room with a View and The Remains of the Day; Amei Wallach’s TAKING VENICE, exploring the true story behind the rumors that, at the height of the Cold War, the U.S. government rigged the most influential art exhibition, the Venice Biennale, so that their chosen artist, Robert Rauschenberg, could win the festival’s Grand Prize; and Noah Pritzker’s feature comedy EX-HUSBANDS, following a middle aged man overwhelmed by his pending divorce and the declining health of his father, starring Griffin Dunne and Roseanne Arquette.

 

During the festival’s Opening Weekend, SFF is also proud to host an April 6 showcase of all five Live Action Short Film nominees at the 96th Academy Awards, which include Misan Harriman’s THE AFTER, Vincent René-Lortie’s INVINCIBLE; Lasse Lyskjær Noer’s KNIGHT OF FORTUNE; Nazrin Choudhury’s RED, WHITE AND BLUE; and the recipient of this year’s award: Wes Anderson’s THE WONDERFUL STORY OF HENRY SUGAR, which marked the first Oscar win for Anderson. On April 12, the festival will also screen short film THE LAST REPAIR SHOP, the winner of the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Film at the 96th Academy Awards. Editor Nick Garnham Wright will attend and participate in a post-screening Q&A.

 

The Narrative Feature Competition will showcase GOODBYE JULIA, directed by Mohamed Kordofani; THE NATURE OF LOVE, directed by Monia Chokri; Utopia’s PET SHOP DAYS, directed by Olmo Schnabel; RED ROOMS, directed by Pascal Plante; and Magnolia Pictures’ THELMA, directed by Josh Margolin.

 

The Documentary Feature Competition will include A HOUSE IS NOT A DISCO, directed by Brian J. Smith; INTO THE SPOTLIGHT: THE JAKE ILARDI STORY, directed by Liam Jordan; PORCELAIN WAR, directed by Brendan Bellomo & Slava Leontyev; SONGS OF EARTH, directed by Margreth Olin; and National Geographic Documentary Films’ SUGARCANE, directed by Emily Kassie and Julian Brave NoiseCat.

 

Independent Visions competition will feature ART THIEF, directed by Arthur Egeli; BLOOM, directed by Mark Totte; CURRY SCENT, directed by Christa Boarini; GOOD BAD THINGS, directed by Shane D. Stanger; and PUDDYSTICKS, directed by Megan Seely.

 

Narrative films in the 2024 slate also include: Janis Pugh’s CHUCK CHUCK BABY, Jason Cannon’s CLOWNS LIKE ME, Joanna Arnow’s THE FEELING THAT THE TIME FOR DOING SOMETHING HAS PASSED, Agnieszka Holland’s GREEN BORDER, Vito Trupiano’s HELLBENT ON BOOGIE, Natalie MacMahon’s THE MEANING OF A RITUAL, Ken Loach’s THE OLD OAK, and Matt Winn’s THE TROUBLE WITH JESSICA.

 

Documentary films in the 2024 slate also include: Tarek Albaba’s 36 SECONDS: A PORTRAIT OF A HATE CRIME, Ben DiGiacomo’s BAD LIKE BROOKLYN DANCEHALL, Alexis Bloom & Svetlana Zill’s CATCHING FIRE: THE STORY OF ANITA PALLENBERG, Jared Brown’s CHUCK OWEN AND THE JAZZ SURGE PRESENT: THE MAKING OF WITHIN US – THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY ALBUM, James Erskine & Rachel Ramsay’s COPA ‘71, Stephan Peterson & Sonya Ballantyne’s THE DEATH TOUR, H James Gilmore’s FIELDING DREAMS, Emily Sheskin’s JESSZILLA, Luke Willis’ LADY LIKE, Stewart M Schulman’s LEFT ALONE RHAPSODY, Elia Moutamid’s MAKA, Aistė Stonytė’s THE MAMMOTH HUNT, Nicholas Bruckman’s MINTED, Muta’Ali’s MOVIEPASS, MOVIECRASH, Mark Cousins’ MY NAME IS ALFRED HITCHCOCK, Dennis Scholl & Kareem Tabsch’s NAKED AMBITION: BUNNY YEAGER, Ruth Leitman’s NO ONE ASKED YOU, Zachary Russell’s SOMEONE LIVES HERE, Johan Grimonprez’s SOUNDTRACK TO A COUP D’ETAT, Zoe McIntosh’s STYLEBENDER, Liz Lachman’s SUSAN FENIGER. FORKED, Ryan Olson & Isaac Gale’s SWAMP DOGG GETS HIS POOL PAINTED, Beth Lane’s UNBROKEN, and Rebecca Cammisa’s YOURS IN FREEDOM, BILL BAIRD.

 

In the narrative lineup, the festival will host the World Premieres of CURRY SCENT and HELLBENT ON BOOGIE; the East Coast Premieres of BLOOM, BULL STREET, THE MAN IN THE WHITE VAN, and PUDDYSTICKS; and the Florida Premieres of CHUCK CHUCK BABY, THE FEELING THAT THE TIME FOR DOING SOMETHING HAS PASSED, GREEN BORDER, THE LINE, THE LISTENER, THE NATURE OF LOVE, NO ONE ASKED YOU, THE OLD OAK, and PET SHOP DAYS. In the documentary lineup, the festival host the World Premieres of FIELDING DREAMS: A CELEBRATION OF BASEBALL SCOUTS and INTO THE SPOTLIGHT: THE JAKE ILARDI STORY; the North American Premiere of THE MAMMOTH HUNT; the East Coast Premieres of THE DEATH TOUR, THIS IS A FILM ABOUT THE BLACK KEYS, and MOVIEPASS, MOVIECRASH; and the Florida Premieres of BAD LIKE BROOKLYN DANCEHALL, CATCHING FIRE: THE STORY OF ANITA PALLENBERG, A HOUSE IS NOT A DISCO, HOW TO COME ALIVE WITH NORMAN MAILER, JESSZILLA, LUTHER: NEVER TOO MUCH, NOCTURNES, ORGANIC RISING, PORCELAIN WAR, SOMEONE LIVES HERE, SONGS OF EARTH, STYLEBENDER, SUSAN FENIGER. FORKED, SWAMP DOGG GETS HIS POOL PAINTED, and YOURS IN FREEDOM, BILL BAIRD.

 

SFF also announced lineups for all 13 programs of short narrative and documentary films.

 

Alongside the film programming, this year’s SFF features nightly events, including an Opening Night Party at the Sarasota Modern, Closing Night reception at Sage, filmmaker receptions at Art Avenue Gallery, and the Fantastical Friday Night Street Party in the Rosemary District on April 12, produced by SRQ Beats.

 

The festival is also proud to announce the lineup for this year’s Narrative and Documentary Juries. The Narrative Jury includes veteran Film Executive Megan Colligan, Photographer and Filmmaker Alex Hedison, Warner Bros. Picture Company’s Communications Executive Katie Martin Kelley, and award-winning Production Designer and former Governor of the Designers Branch of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Wynn Thomas. The Documentary Jury includes Emmy Award-winning Producer and principal of Olive Productions Wren Arthur, IndieWire’s Digital Director Christian Blauvelt, and DOC NYC Artistic Director Jaie Laplante.

 

This year’s festival poster artist is Diana Dubrovska. Dubrovska, a Ukrainian artist who found refuge in California after fleeing the horrors of war, brings her experiences to life through her vibrant and dynamic artwork.

 

The 26th annual Sarasota Film Festival, which will take place from April 5 through April 14th, greatly appreciates the support of its personal and corporate sponsors, including the Famiglio Family Foundation, Sack Family Foundation, Wallack Family Fund, CMX CinéBistro, BMW of Sarasota, Ringling College, SRQ Airport, METV, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Stella Artois, Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, voco Sarasota, Netwurx, New College of Florida, Sarasota Magazine, Sarasota Orchestra, SRQ Beats, SRQ Magazine, Sarasota Out, Sarasota Performing Arts Foundation, Visit Sarasota County, Sande Caplin & Associates, The Observer Media Group, The Realm Group, Sage Restaurant, Art Avenue, Senior Friendship Centers,Tamiami Tap, Family Beautiful Magazine, Westcoast Woman, Venice Art Center, WSLR, and iHeartMedia. The festival is sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, Florida Council on Arts and Culture, Sarasota County Tourism Development Tax Revenues as well as the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and Gulf Coast Community Foundation.

 

This year’s festival will also feature an exciting new partnership with USA Swimming, formed in conjunction with the Open Water National Championships taking place May 3-5 at Sarasota’s Nathan Benderson Park. SFF will welcome athletes and representatives from USA Swimming at this year’s edition to receive a donation directly supporting the USA Swimming Foundation, which aims to provide the opportunity for every person in the US to learn to swim.

 

Tickets for the festival will be available for purchase beginning March 22 online and at the in-person box office at Regal Hollywood – Sarasota, open daily from 12PM-6PM until the commencement of the festival. Visit https://www.sarasotafilmfestival.com/ to purchase tickets and for further information on the 26th annual Sarasota Film Festival and all year-round programming.

 

2024 Sarasota Film Festival Lineup:

OPENING NIGHT FILM

BULL STREET

East Coast Premiere

dir. Lynn Dow (USA), 2024

In this stirring drama, a South Carolina small-town lawyer (Malynda Hale) faces local politics, an unwavering judge (Amy Madigan) and the town’s past in the battle of her life when her estranged father’s family tries to evict her and her grandmother (Loretta Devine) from the only home she has ever known.

CLOSING NIGHT FILM

THE LISTENER

Florida Premiere

dir. Steve Buscemi  (USA), 2022

In this stirring testament to the power of empathy, Tessa Thompson (in a masterful performance) plays a crisis hotline worker enduring the pressures of her job in this new film from director Steve Buscemi.

 

NARRATIVE CENTERPIECE FILMS

THE LINE

Florida Premiere

dir. Ethan Berger (USA), 2023

This chilling, nuanced thriller explores the moral ambiguity of loyalty to tradition, as seen through a college sophomore in the throes of fraternity culture. Featuring Sarasota native Austin Abrams.

 

THE MAN IN THE WHITE VAN

East Coast Premiere

dir. Warren Skeels (USA), 2024

Inspired by a true story, The Man in the White Van dives into the eerie underbelly of a seemingly idyllic 1974 Florida town and follows the harrowing experience of young Annie Williams, whose carefree existence is turned upside down as she becomes stalked by an ominous man in a white van.

 

DOCUMENTARY CENTERPIECE FILM

THIS IS A FILM ABOUT THE BLACK KEYS

East Coast Premiere

dir. Jeff Dupre (USA), 2024

The story of Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney’s journey from a basement jamming session in Akron, Ohio to rock ’n’ roll super-stardom.

*Please note this film is also screening in the Music Focus Sidebar.

 

SPOTLIGHT FEATURES

DAUGHTERS

dir. Natalie Rae and Angela Patton (USA), 2024

Four young girls prepare for a special Daddy Daughter Dance with their incarcerated fathers, as part of a unique fatherhood program in a Washington, D.C., jail.

 

EX-HUSBANDS

dir. Noah Pritzker (USA), 2023

This poignant comedy follows a middle aged man overwhelmed by his pending divorce and the declining health of his father, who plans a getaway to Tulum, insistent he knows nothing of his son’s plans to be there at the same time for a bachelor party.

 

HOW TO COME ALIVE WITH NORMAN MAILER

Florida Premiere

dir. Jeff Zimbalist (USA), 2023

The life and times of an American icon, from his formative years in Brooklyn through his career as a preeminent cultural voice.

*Please note this film is also screening in the Jewish Focus Sidebar.

 

LIV ULLMANN: A ROAD LESS TRAVELED

dir. Dheeraj Akolkar (USA), 2023

A delightful, engaging portrait of one our greatest actresses, brimming with intimate memories and profound reflections on her hopes, fears, grief, rejections, dreams pursued, and lessons learned.

*Please note this film is also screening in the Arts Sidebar.

 

LUTHER: NEVER TOO MUCH

Florida Premiere

dir. Dawn Porter (USA), 2024

Luther Vandross started his career supporting David Bowie, Roberta Flack, Bette Midler, and more. His undeniable talent earned platinum records and accolades, but he struggled to break out beyond the R&B charts. Intensely driven, he overcame personal and professional challenges to secure his place amongst the greatest vocalists in history.

*Please note this film is also screening in the African-American & The African Diaspora and Music Focus Sidebars.

 

MERCHANT IVORY

dir. Stephen Soucy (USA), 2023

The story behind the longest running partnership in the history of cinema that has produced such classics as Howard’s End, A Room with a View and The Remains of the Day.

*Please note this film is also screening in the Arts and LGBTQ+ Focus Sidebars.

 

TAKING VENICE

dir. Amei Wallach (USA), 2023

This fun caper movie explores the true story behind the rumors that, at the height of the Cold War, the U.S. government rigged the most influential art exhibition, the Venice Biennale, so that their chosen artist, Robert Rauschenberg, could win the festival’s Grand Prize. Told with an extraordinary cast of experts and insiders from the art world with extensive archival footage.

*Please note this film is also screening in the Directed by Women and Arts Sidebars.

 

NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITION

GOODBYE JULIA

dir. Mohamed Kordofani (Sudan), 2023

Amid the social and political upheaval of Sudan in 2005, two women’s disparate lives become unexpectedly entangled in tragedy, friendship and lies in this moving tale.

*Please note this film is also screening in the African-American & The African Diaspora Sidebar.

 

THE NATURE OF LOVE

Florida Premiere

dir. Monia Chokri (Canada, France), 2023

A sexy, witty romcom examining romantic passion in a real-world environment that follows philosophy lecturer Sophia’s happily intellectual life disrupted when she meets a rugged building contractor.

*Please note this film is also screening in the Directed by Women Sidebar.

 

PET SHOP DAYS

Florida Premiere

dir. Olmo Schnabel (USA), 2023

A riveting portrait of lost young men in search of connection whose activities drag them into a dead-end world of passion, drugs and depravity in the backstreets of New York City.

*Please note this film is also screening in the LGBTQ+ Focus Sidebar.

 

RED ROOMS

dir. Pascal Plante (Canada), 2023

Kelly-Anne is riveted by a high profile case of a serial killer. When reality blurs with her morbid fantasies, she goes down a wicked path to seek the final piece of the case’s puzzle in this wonderfully creepy tale of the dark web and over-the-top obsession.

 

THELMA

dir. Josh Margolin (USA), 2024

When 93-year-old Thelma Post (June Squibb) gets duped by a phone scammer pretending to be her grandson, she sets out on a treacherous quest across the city to reclaim what was taken from her. A thrilling and delightful story exploring aging, family and autonomy.

*Please note this film is also screening in the Jewish Focus Sidebar.

 

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE COMPETITION

A HOUSE IS NOT A DISCO

Florida Premiere

dir. Brian J. Smith (USA), 2024

An intimate and humorous film that peers into one of the world’s only “homo-normative” communities, the island “paradise” of Fire Island Pines, told through home video, archival footage, and eccentric character portraits of the vibrant present.

*Please note this film is also screening in the LGBTQ+ Focus Sidebar.

 

INTO THE SPOTLIGHT: THE JAKE ILARDI STORY

World Premiere

dir. Liam Jordan (USA), 2022

An action-packed look at the highs, lows, and injuries Osprey’s Jake Ilardi endures on his journey to the US Olympic Skateboard team, and his mission within his local community to keep their skatepark operational and free to the public.

*Please note this film is also screening in the Sports Focus sidebar.

 

PORCELAIN WAR

Florida Premiere

dir. Brendan Bellomo & Slava Leontyev (USA, Ukraine), 2024

Amidst the chaos and destruction of the brutal Russian invasion of Ukraine, three artists defiantly find inspiration and beauty as they defend their culture and their country in this Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner.

*Please note this film is also screening in the Arts Sidebar.

 

SONGS OF EARTH

Florida Premiere

dir. Margreth Olin (Norway), 2023

A majestic symphony of stunning beauty for the big screen. With director Margreth Olin’s 85-year-old father as a guide, we experience Norway’s most scenic valley, Oldedalen in Nordfjord.

*Please note this film is also screening in the Directed by Women Sidebar.

 

SUGARCANE

dir. Emily Kassie, Julian Brave & NoiseCat (USA, Canada), 2024

This Sundance award winner is a gripping investigation where unmarked graves at an Indian residential school unearth secrets below and above ground, igniting a reckoning in the lives of survivors and their descendants (including the film’s co-director).

*Please note this film is also screening in the Directed by Women Sidebar.

 

INDEPENDENT VISIONS FEATURE COMPETITION

ART THIEF

dir. Arthur Egeli (USA), 2023

After stealing a painting from a local museum, a passionate-but-untalented artist is thrust into the midst of the biggest art theft in modern history. Inspired by true events.

*Please note this film is also screening in the Arts Sidebar.

 

BLOOM

East Coast Premiere

dir. Mark Totte (USA), 2023

The touching story of an Indiana woman in her late sixties who embarks on a road trip across America, wandering through towns, memories and reckoning with her past.

 

CURRY SCENT

World Premiere

dir. Christa Boarini (USA), 2024

A refreshing tale about a Bradenton-based Indian immigrant family desperately grasping for the American Dream by trying to find their daughter, Geetha, a wealthy match before their visas run out.

*Please note this film is also screening in the Directed by Women Sidebar.

 

GOOD BAD THINGS

dir. Shane D. Stanger (USA), 2024

A young man with muscular dystrophy steps out of his comfort zone and into the world of online dating. An unexpected match challenges him to be vulnerable and sparks a profound journey of self-acceptance.

 

PUDDYSTICKS

East Coast Premiere

dir. Megan Seely (USA), 2024

A joyously twisted comedy that follows anxious videogame designer Liz’s therapeutic odyssey into a secret society of adults who play like they are little kids.

*Please note this film is also screening in the Directed by Women Sidebar.

 

NARRATIVE FEATURES

CHUCK CHUCK BABY

Florida Premiere

dir. Janis Pugh (United Kingdom), 2023

Helen’s humdrum world takes a surprisingly interesting romantic turn with the return of her charismatic childhood friend Joanne. This is the musical rom-com set in a Welsh chicken processing plant you never knew you needed.

*Please note this film is also screening in the Directed by Women and LGBTQ+ Focus Sidebars.

 

CLOWNS LIKE ME

dir. Jason Cannon (USA), 2023

A humorous, poignant, and profound examination of the stigmas attached to developmental disorders and mental illnesses, offering hope to anyone on a journey to achieve mental wellness.

 

THE FEELING THAT THE TIME FOR DOING SOMETHING HAS PASSED

Florida Premiere

dir. Joanna Arnow (USA), 2023

A mosaic-style comedy following the life of a woman as time passes in her long-term casual BDSM relationship, low-level corporate job, and quarrelsome Jewish family.

*Please note this film is also screening in the Jewish Focus Sidebar.

 

GREEN BORDER

Florida Premiere

dir. Agnieszka Holland (USA), 2023

A harrowing story set on the border of Poland and Belarus that offers a glimpse into the lives of refugees  fleeing to the European Union and the humanitarian activists working to help them reach safety.

*Please note this film is also screening in the Directed by Women Sidebar.

 

HELLBENT ON BOOGIE

World Premiere

dir. Vito Trupiano (USA), 2023

In this tender, humorous Florida-set drama, Quinn runs away from her overbearing mother with the help of her reckless brother in hopes of achieving her dream of becoming a dancer.

 

THE MEANING OF A RITUAL

dir. Natalie MacMahon (Germany), 2023

A coming of age story about two women from different generations, who have more in common than they are willing to admit. An empathic, young plant doctor gifted with extrasensory powers and an emotionally fragile, isolated artist, must rescue each other to rediscover the essence of living.

*Please note this film is also screening in the Directed by Women Sidebar.

 

THE OLD OAK

Florida Premiere

dir. Ken Loach (United Kingdom), 2023

A story of anger and tolerance when a group of Syrian refugees moves into a floundering English village, and a decisive rift fueled by prejudices develops between the community and its newest inhabitants.

 

THE TROUBLE WITH JESSICA

dir. Matt Winn (USA), 2023

A dead body, a nosy neighbor and a blueberry clafoutis dessert are just a few of the items a couple on the verge of financial collapse encounters over one very eventful evening in this hilarious black comedy.

 

DOCUMENTARY FEATURES

36 SECONDS: PORTRAIT OF A HATE CRIME

dir. Tarek Albaba (USA), 2023

Out of the 2015 tragedy of three Muslim-Americans shot point blank in North Carolina, comes this moving look at a resilient community in pursuit of the truth and, ultimately, the proper justice.

 

BAD LIKE BROOKLYN DANCEHALL

Florida Premiere

dir. Ben DiGiacomo & Dutty Vannier (USA), 2023

A celebration of the Jamaican dancehall music scene that reverberated across Brooklyn in the 90s and its ever-present influence on a younger generation. Executive produced by Shaggy.

*Please note this film is also screening in the African-American & The African Diaspora and Music Focus Sidebars.

 

CATCHING FIRE: THE STORY OF ANITA PALLENBERG

Florida Premiere

dir. Alexis Bloom & Svetlana Zill (USA), 2023

An exploration of the life of Anita Pallenberg, European actress and rock ’n’ roll muse. Told in Anita’s own words, from her unpublished memoir, and in the words of her family and others close to her, this bittersweet film is a never-seen-before look at life with The Rolling Stones.

*Please note this film is also screening in the Directed by Women and Music Focus Sidebars.

 

CHUCK OWEN AND THE JAZZ SURGE PRESENT: THE MAKING OF WITHIN US – THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY ALBUM

dir. Jared Brown (USA), 2022.

This documentary takes audiences through the creative process, showcasing the collaboration that went into crafting the celebrated 25th-anniversary album of Chuck Owen and the Jazz Surge.

 

COPA ‘71

dir. James Erskine & Rachel Ramsay (UK), 2023

In this documentary executive produced by Serena and Venus Williams, the filmmakers use archival footage and new interviews to tell the story of the captivating yet “unofficial” 1971 Women’s World Cup, a moment virtually erased from the history of soccer.

*Please note this film is also screening in the Directed by Women and Sports Focus Sidebars.

 

THE DEATH TOUR

East Coast Premiere

dir. Stephan Peterson & Sonya Ballantyne (Canada), 2023

The Death Tour follows wrestling hopefuls across remote Indigenous communities in Canada’s far North on “the most grueling tour in indie wrestling.” This test of strength and grit will show how far some are willing to go to live their dreams.

*Please note this film is also screening in the Directed by Women and Sports Focus Sidebars.

 

FIELDING DREAMS: A CELEBRATION OF BASEBALL SCOUTS

World Premiere

dir. H James Gilmore (USA), 2024

An intimate journey profiling baseball scouts, the unsung heroes of America’s pastime, who use their instincts and intuition to find the ballplayers of tomorrow in the face of growing technology, data and big business.

*Please note this film is also screening in the Sports Focus sidebar.

 

JESSZILLA

Florida Premiere

dir. Emily Sheskin (USA), 2023

New Jersey’s Jesselyn Silva, a three-time national boxing champion,is on her way to superstardom, dominating the junior ranks at theage of 15. With her every step of the way is her father Pedro, a single

parent who helps her navigate coaches, training schedules, and the angst of teenage life. When a devastating diagnosis threatens the father-daughter tandem, the pair turn to each other to fight their

greatest opponent yet.

*Please note this film is also screening in the Directed by Women and Sports Focus Sidebars.

 

LADY LIKE

dir. Luke Willis (USA), 2024

Enrapturing profile of Rex Wheeler, better known to the outside world as drag queen extraordinaire and Ru Paul’s Drag Race finalist Lady Camden, who works with Rex to save his inner child after a troubled and traumatic childhood.

*Please note this film is also screening in the LGBTQ+ Focus Sidebar.

 

LEFT ALONE RHAPSODY

dir. Stewart M Schulman (USA), 2023

A look at the life of pianist John Bayless, who becomes an internationally renowned performer and recording artist, suffers a debilitating stroke, and begins a career comeback in this journey through music, illness and determination.

*Please note this film is also screening in the Music Focus Sidebar.

 

MAKA

dir. Elia Moutamid (Italy), 2023

An exploration of displacement, identity, and belonging in following noted Cameroon-born author Geneviève Makaping’s life in Italy and perilous migration journey. A story of a Black woman reclaiming the narrative and speaking out against the media’s representation of immigrants.

*Please note this film is also screening in the African-American & The African Diaspora Sidebar.

 

THE MAMMOTH HUNT

North American Premiere

dir. Aistė Stonytė (Lithuania), 2023

The incredible story of Lithuanian theater director (and now Sarasota resident) Jonas Jurašas’ leaving his country in 1968 in the wake of a play banned by the Soviets, the secret filming of that play and Jurasas’ new life in America and eventual return to his homeland.

*Please note this film is also screening in the Directed by Women and Arts Sidebars.

 

MINTED

dir. Nicholas Bruckman (USA), 2023

A fascinating look at the intersection of art, commerce, and digital ownership through the rise and crash of the NFT market.

 

MOVIEPASS, MOVIECRASH

East Coast Premiere

dir. Muta’Ali (USA), 2024

The unbelievable origin story, meteoric rise and stranger-than-fiction implosion of the theatrical movie subscription app, MoviePass, as told through the eyes of the visionary co-founders, complete with the unique challenges they faced only to eventually find themselves cast aside, watching from the sidelines, as new executives seized control and havoc ensued.

 

MY NAME IS ALFRED HITCHCOCK

dir. Mark Cousins (United Kingdom), 2022

In a most unique fashion, along with a bevy of clips, My Name Is Alfred Hitchcock re-examines the vast filmography and legacy of one of the 20th century’s greatest filmmakers through a new lens: through the

auteur’s own voice.

*Please note this film is also screening in the Arts Sidebar.

 

NAKED AMBITION: BUNNY YEAGER

dir. Dennis Scholl & Kareem Tabsch (USA), 2023

The scintillating story of Miami’s Bunny Yeager, a trailblazing model, designer, and photographer who popularized the bikini, invented the selfie, discovered Bettie Page, and introduced feminist agency in sexy pictures in the ’50s.

*Please note this film is also screening in the Arts Sidebar.

 

NO ONE ASKED YOU

Florida Premiere

dir. Ruth Leitman (USA), 2023

Comedian, disrupter extraordinaire and The Daily Show co- creator Lizz Winstead and her team of activists crisscross the U.S. to support abortion clinic staff and bust stigma. Pop culture icons and next-gen comics fuel this six-year road film activating small-town folks to rebuild vandalized clinics, exposing wrongdoer politicians, domestic terrorists, and media neglect as the race to the bottom ensues.

*Please note this film is also screening in the Directed by Women and LGBTQ+ Focus Sidebars.

 

SOMEONE LIVES HERE

Florida Premiere

dir. Zachary Russell (USA), 2023

A modern-day David and Goliath story, set against the backdrop of North America’s housing crisis, when a carpenter takes it upon himself to build, and make accessible, small, life-saving shelters for the unhoused residents of Toronto during the pandemic.

 

SOUNDTRACK TO A COUP D’ETAT

dir. Johan Grimonprez (Belgium, France), 2024

A vibrant film essay, likely the most music-filled history lesson you’ll ever partake, that marries jazz and politics to unravel the colonial machinations of power in the Congo circa 1960.

 

STYLEBENDER

Florida Premiere

dir. Zoe McIntosh (USA), 2023

An intimate look at Israel Adesanya, the Nigerian born New Zealand based MMA champion, which goes beyond the ring and delves deep into an unlikely fighter’s journey. Exploring themes of masculinity, bullying and even the healing power of dance, this documentary is a poignant examination of the complex, exciting and sometimes controversial person known as “The Last Stylebender.”

*Please note this film is also screening in the African-American & The African Diaspora, Directed by Women, and Sports Focus Sidebars.

 

SUSAN FENIGER. FORKED

Florida Premiere

dir. Liz Lachman (USA), 2023

The wildly entertaining behind-the-scenes story of award-winning celebrity chef Susan Feniger on her first solo restaurant and her passionate struggle and quest to bring global street food under one roof in the form of a new L.A. restaurant.

*Please note this film is also screening in the Directed by Women and LGBTQ+ Focus Sidebars.

 

SWAMP DOGG GETS HIS POOL PAINTED

Florida Premiere

dir. Ryan Olson & Isaac Gale (USA), 2024

Hidden away, deep in the suburbs of Los Angeles, legendary cult musician, songwriter and producer Swamp Dogg, alongside housemates Moogstar and Guitar Shorty, have transformed their home into an artistic playground. Together, they navigate the tumultuous music industry, forging a unique and inspiring bond across time and space.

*Please note this film is also screening in the African-American & The African Diaspora and Music Focus Sidebars.

 

UNBROKEN

dir. Beth Lane (USA), 2023

The daughter of a Holocaust survivor embarks on an international quest to uncover answers about the plight of her mother and her six siblings who, as mere children, escaped Nazi Germany relying solely on their own youthful bravado and the kindness of German strangers.

*Please note this film is also screening in the Directed by Women and Jewish Focus Sidebars.

 

YOURS IN FREEDOM, BILL BAIRD

dir. Rebecca Cammisa (USA), 2023

Florida Premiere

Oscar-nominated filmmaker Rebecca Cammisa gives us a portrait of Bill Baird, who has been called the devil incarnate, pervert, CIA agent, saint, the unsung hero of the birth control battle and whose decades-long fight for women’s right to abortion is as relevant as ever.

*Please note this film is also screening in the Directed by Women Sidebar.

 

SFF FOCUS: ENVIRONMENT

COMMON GROUND

dir. Joshua Tickell & Rebecca Harrell Tickell (USA), 2023

The solution of Regenerative farmers to bring soil health across the continent and beyond. 105m

 

CONSERVATION ACROSS CONTINENTS: MADAGASCAR

dir. Fredric Lehne (USA), 2024

Lemurs are the most unique and most endangered primates in the world. This documentary film discusses the work of Lemur Conservation Foundation in Madagascar and Myakka City, Florida.

 

NOCTURNES

Florida Premiere

dir. Anupama Srinivasan & Anirban Dutta (USA, India), 2024

This uniquely immersive Sundance Award winner transports us to the mountainous forest of the eastern Himalayas, where researchers seek to describe and understand moth diversity at different elevations as a way to urge us all to look more closely at the hidden interconnections of the natural world.

 

ORGANIC RISING

Florida Premiere

dir. Anthony Suau (USA), 2023

A thorough look at the organic food culture – both the history and current practices – that demystifies the regulatory process and farming methods to give us informed choices for maintaining a strong and robust agricultural future.

 

WOMEN OF THE WATERSHED

dir. Scott Michael Barnett (USA), 2024

A young woman journeys to the source of the Everglades headwaters to better understand the historic challenges of water management and pollution that now threaten this fragile ecosystem. Along the way she meets a new generation of advocates who are redefining the balance of women in conservation.

 

NARRATIVE SHORTS

BAD DRIVER

dir. Antonia Grilikhes-Lasky (USA), 2024

The end of a relationship leaves a woman desperate to reassert her independence by overcoming her driving phobia. But when she finds herself in the driver’s seat, she turns into a compulsive oversharer who can’t start the car. Luckily, her new driving companion won’t let her off the hook so easy.

 

BEIN’ GREEN

dir. William Givens-Jensen (USA), 2023

Olivia, a talented biracial actress, participates in an audition through a Zoom call. Her agent calls with positive feedback but tells her she needs to go back on tape and act more “authentically black.” Olivia defiantly tapes herself, expressing her exhaustion with being judged, and chooses to embrace who she is whether they like it or not.

 

BIRD HOURS

dir. Kyle Dubiel (USA), 2023

Lars and Frances are two young professionals who work day in and day out for Sol Corp. Their routine consists of putting on VR Headsets and transporting their souls into the “cloud”. After reports of absurd catastrophic news events, Lars smashes his and Frances’ headsets and they escape their apartment into

a sun-drenched world of unknowns.

 

CHAUNCEY

dir. Daniel Rashid & Reilly Anspaugh (USA), 2023

When Zoe brings her new boyfriend home for the first time, she decides to hide her childhood stuffed animal Chauncey in the sock drawer. But when she starts to her Chauncey’s voice in her head, she has to choose whether to continue hiding him, or to reveal the truth and risk disaster.

 

COUPLE OF CARDS

dir. Toky Randriamahazosoa & Andrianiaina Ramanasoa (USA), 2024

Two silly old farts – Fredric Lehne and Reed Birney – have coffee at Ida’s diner, like they do every morning, when unexpected events compel them to confront the past, their lifelong rivalry, and the memory of the gal who broke both their hearts, while still giving hope for the future.

 

COLOR OF AUTUMN

dir. Aimiende Negbenebor Sela (USA), 2023

Inspired by a true story, this film depicts a precocious eight-year-old Black girl who lives with her hardworking parents and her adoring, wise grandmother in a quaint house on the Southside of Chicago. Nestled within the safety of her neighborhood and focused on the comforts and stresses of her family’s hard-won middle class life, Dottie Grimsby has little awareness of racial tension or the isolation of segregation. But she is about to find out.

 

DARK ROOM

dir. Christine Juarbe (USA), 2023

A successful woman attempts to work through childhood trauma through lucid dreaming. Can she face the truth?

 

DELTA

dir. Jing Ai Ng (USA), 2023

The Chinese-American Lee family, who has lived in the Mississippi Delta for generations, is preparing for the day by taking inventory at their grocery store. The two Lee siblings — Phoebe and Raymond — work in tandem like they have all of their lives. Except this summer is different. Phoebe is leaving home for a college far from Mississippi, and in doing so is saying goodbye to her older brother and an entire way of life.

 

DRAGONFLY

dir. Julia Morizawa (USA), 2023

A young girl learns of her mother’s survival of the Tokyo Firebombing on March 9-10, 1945 through the eyes of her brother’s spirit.

 

EATING 38 CHEESEBURGERS

dir. Andrew Schwab (USA), 2024

A twenty-first century ouroboros. It’s burgers all the way down.

 

ESTELA, IS IT YOU?

dir. Fabian Martin & Victor Martin (USA), 2023

A grieving woman communicates with her dead husband through her car radio.

 

FLOWER

dir. Lauren Finerman (USA), 2023

Rose struggles to get by as her mother’s caretaker while experiencing housing insecurity when she finds a source of hope in an unexpected place– her community.

 

GREETINGS

dir. Stephanie Bencin (USA), 2023

After struggling over what to write in a coworker’s birthday card, Trish discovers that whatever she writes comes true. At first this goes great, but when her coworkers accidentally forget her own birthday, things…take a turn.

 

HOMECOMING

dir. David R. Hardberger (USA), 2023

A woman is awakened in the middle of the night by her husband at the front door. When she tries to tell him he can’t be there anymore, he ignores her words.

 

INFRACTION

dir. Timothy Blackwood (USA), 2023

When a prison guard is murdered on the job, his replacement and an inmate form an unlikely relationship with life-altering ramifications. This film is based on the real life story of Philadelphia native Terrance Lewis who served 21 years in prison for a murder he did not commit.

 

THE LIFT

dir. Laura Maccabee (USA), 2024

Following the loss of his husband, a grief-stricken retiree (Sam Anderson) finds renewed connection with a mysterious young woman who’s attempting to terminate a pregnancy.

 

LITTLE ORANGE FLAGS

dir. Julianna Gelinas Bonifacio (USA), 2021

Twelve-year-old Iris is sent to live on a farm in rural Pennsylvania after an encounter with her mom’s boyfriend.

 

LESSONS

dir. Shawn Butcher (USA), 2024

Family ties are tested after a pre-teen boy reveals his face in a robbery gone wrong.

 

MAIN CHARACTER ENERGY

dir. Sohale Dezfoli (USA), 2023

An actor goes into an open call but misses an important detail in the character description.

 

MEETING MR. OSCAR

dir. Toni Short & Jeongwon Lee (USA), 2023

Audrey, a middle aged woman sleepwalking through her life, encounters an elderly eccentric stranger, Mr. Oscar, who challenges her way of thinking and daily routines. Their unexpected friendship becomes a catalyst for her to step out of her comfort zone and move forward in a new direction.

 

PANO

dir. Henry Miller (USA), 2024

Film photographer, Tanner Pletzke, captures the essence of his surroundings, weaving a deeply personal narrative through mesmerizing panoramic collages that blur the line between art and photographic memory. Pushing the boundaries even further, he brings his collages to life as awe-inspiring physical installations, inviting viewers to step into a captivating world where complex emotions and hidden stories await.

 

RUMIA

dir. Anthony Vazquez (USA), 2024

The vision for this film was to utilize the perspective of what so many woman go through in life. Showcasing how a subject that is rarely discussed, is something that happens to so many woman around the world everyday.

 

SLEEPING ALONE

dir. Kelsea Buaman-Murphy (USA), 2023

Sleeping Alone is a short comedic thriller that follows Andy, a young woman from the city, as she attempts to enjoy a night of housesitting in the countryside. Over the course of the evening, her minor fears about sleeping in a house by herself begin to mount, forcing her to take increasingly extreme actions.

 

SPARE ME

dir. Wilderley Mauricette (USA), 2024

Spare Me tells the story of “Trey Compton” a young African American man confronting his past to overcome changing a flat tire. Throughout the story, the viewer is shown flashbacks to showcase what connection Trey has to this certain location which is a sundown town, and why changing a tire is no easy

task for him to undertake. This is also a period piece, so the Production design, costumes, and props will reflect a southern state during the early 1930s/40s, and have a focus on sundown towns during that time period.

*Please note this film is also screening in the African-American & The African Diaspora Sidebar.

 

STRANGE CREATURES

dir. Nicholas Payne Santos (USA), 2024

Desperate to see her brother again, a young woman visits the site of his death. Starring Quinn Jackson (It Cuts Deep) and Sean-Michael Wilkinson (American Horror Story), with Christine Nyland (An Unquiet Grave).

 

THE DOLLCATCHER

dir. Jamey Hastings (USA), 2023

A woman’s attempt to catch a few hours of peace and solitude in the woods is interrupted in the night by a mysterious girl.

 

THE MISSING VOICE

dir. Jeremie Dameme (USA), 2023

Chole, a victim of domestic violence is caught between trusting the police force that has so far proven unreliable in truly protecting her and her abuser’s campaign of threats and manipulation.

 

THE OSSAN

dir. Venita Ozols-Graham (USA), 2023

After her wealthy new husband dies unexpectedly, a young widow contacts a mystical Ossan to protect her from the teenaged step sons hell bent on eliminating her to regain control of the estate.

 

THE SUIT

dir. Carol McCann (USA), 2023

Inspired by a song of the same name written by the legendary songwriter Hugh Prestwood, the film follows a salt of the earth older woman and her granddaughter who go in search of the perfect suit for Grandpa, a man who has spent his life “scratchin’ the earth.”

 

WHEN UNFETTERED

dir. Derek Franzese (USA), 2023

When an AI humanoid’s proprietor passes away, she is released on a journey where she discovers what it means to feel emotion after encountering and befriending a special child.

 

WHY DOGS HOWL

dir. Sandi Johnson (USA), 2023

After meeting online, a BOY and GIRL are out on their first date. It rapidly devolves into the BOY vomiting out his life in a Howl that ultimately encompasses the entire universe.

 

DOCUMENTARY SHORTS

ALOK

dir. Alex Hedison (USA), 2024

A compelling portrait of ALOK, acclaimed nonbinary author, poet, comedian, and public speaker. Executive-produced by Jodie Foster.

 

BURTON ROCKS CALLING

dir. Burton Rocks (USA), 2024

Burton Rocks’ health left him isolated. So, he started calling some of America’s biggest stars. They answered. Forty years later, Burton shares his fascinating collection of interviews for the first time.

 

DAG CAMERA REPAIR

dir. Atesh Atici (USA), 2024

Don Goldberg is one of the few master Leica repair technicians left in the world. He is overworked and his millennial clients don’t make it any easier, but his son is determined to follow in his footsteps.

 

ENTERING PORNLAND: ROSI

dir. Benjamin Nolot (USA), 2022

Rosi is a high school teacher who is loved by her students. When her battle to pay off her college loans prompts Rosi to seek a more lucrative source of income, she ends up getting hired as a porn actress. But the glow of her newfound stardom quickly fades when Rosi realizes her new career isn’t what she thought it might be.

 

FINDING FATE

dir. Beth Toni Kruvant (USA), 2023

The film centers on the lives and experiences of these three mothers – and the ferocity with which they fight to protect their children and families. In doing so, the viewer gets a rare glimpse of how powerful the maternal spirit is during a time of war. Through valuing each other’s histories and current realities, Finding Fate reveals that when we find common ground, we can unite to help build a shared future.

 

I HAVE A NAME

dir. Eric S. Vaughn (USA), 2024

A poignant documentary that unfolds alongside Jon Linton, an artist who lost a friend and colleague to addiction and homelessness. In an attempt to process what happened, Jon walked out into to world, with his camera, to open himself to the reality of what it is to be unhoused. He wandered into a human experience akin to Tolstoy walking out into his beloved Moscow in the late 1800s.

 

IMPOSSIBLE IS JUST A WORD

dir. Jen Stafford (USA), 2023

Chris Nikic made history by becoming the first athlete with Down Syndrome to complete the IRONMAN, the world’s most grueling triathlon. Amidst his astounding athletic accomplishments and intellectual disability, we uncover Chris’ greatest aspirations from homeownership to falling in love, drawing on points of relatability that resonate universally.

 

KIM JONG, ALFAMAN AND THE PROBE: A LEMONS RACE:

dir. Yasmin Sanie-Hay (USA), 2023

This documentary follows the wild and wacky adventures of three teams in the infamous 24 Hours of LeMons endurance race for $500 cars.

 

MISS BROWN

dir. Christina Burchard (USA), 2023

“Miss Brown” is a documentary-hybrid highlighting the enterprising spirit of Gina Fiore who uses her intellect and street smarts to become an elite player in the game of Blackjack. Over the course of her career she has led various teams, taking over 10 million dollars out of the casinos.

 

THE CALM UNDER THE WATER

dir. Cam Brooks (USA), 2024

An artist who is paralyzed from the neck down confronts several obstacles on his journey towards happiness and inner peace.

THE SCHOOL OF CANINE MASSAGE

dir. Emma D. Miller (USA), 2024

The Ojai School of Canine Massage provides professional training in the art and science of dog massage therapy. With a mix of whimsy and tenderness, this film offers a portrait of this singular school and its dog-loving participants —revealing how people heal dogs and dogs heal people.

 

THE PERFECT SHOT: ANTARCTICA

dir. Quinn Halleck (USA), 2023

In this Stephen King story adaptation, Larry deals with his sister’s disappearance, and discovers what he is, and isn’t responsible for, as he searches for her.

 

FOREIGN SHORTS

BURN OUT

dir. Chloe Culpin (United Kingdom), 2023

Heena, on the brink and desperate to get out of her soul-less, money driven job, goes on a midweek pub session with her co-workers where they all descend into animalistic chaos.

 

ECOSPHERE

dir. Vito Pistone (Belgium), 2024

A fire ant named Redd ends up separated from her colony inside a huge glass bowl called the Ecosphere. She befriends a group of local bugs who help her get back home, but is that really where she belongs?

 

A GOOD DAY WILL COME

dir. Amir Zargara (Canada), 2024

Arash is a professional wrestler with dreams of representing his country and winning gold medals. The country is in turmoil and its people are suffering. Arash must decide between using his platform to stand up to tyranny, or put his head down and remain silent.

 

KINGS

dir. Olivier Côté (Canada), 2024

Elias and Laurent are the only two new counsellors at camp this summer. When their initiation goes sideways, Laurent tries to get out of it – and the entire group ridicules him. Elias is trapped: he either needs to reject his friend, or risks being rejected himself.

 

LIMITE

dir. George Nicholas (Mexico), 2023

Sixteen-year-old Manuel lives in Tijuana, Mexico with his grandfather while his mom works in the United States. When he meets a girl, he sees an opportunity to assert his independence, but what he doesn’t know about her will push him to the limit.Inspired by real events.

 

PILL NATION

dir. Bruno Tadeu (Brazil), 2024

Dante is an old gay activist who refuses to retire. Facing the inevitable end of his existence, he decides to fulfill his old plans of opening the first LGBTQIA+ retirement house in Brazil, ignoring the advice of his great friend, Francisca, who argues that they no longer need to care.

 

THE PHOTOGRAPHER

dir. Alexander Graeff (France), 2023

France, 1936. Gerta, a young German photoreporter, lives in exile with her companion, the Hungarian photographer André Friedmann. When the Spanish civil war breaks out, they are determined to cover the events and thus to fight fascism. Faced with the newspapers’ reluctance to send them to Spain, Gerta decides to invent a new identity for them.

 

PRIMOS

dir. Ricardo J Varona (Puerto Rico), 2023

During a teenage road trip to the west coast of Puerto Rico, 16-year-old Cristóbal begins to suspect that his crush, Yazmín, and cousin Marcos are secretly seeing eachother.

 

ROOSTER’S CROW

dir. Alexandre Lefebvre (Canada), 2023

Drowned in a family reunion chaos filled with testosterone and pig roast, REYNALD will try to prove to his nephew, his family but mostly himself that’s he’s still king.

 

THE SKATES

dir. Halima Ouardiri (Canada), 2023

Mina loves to skate. Today, her father, recently divorced from her mother, accompanies her to her first figure skating lesson. An ordinary day if something hadn’t happened to the skates.

 

THE WAITING

dir. Voker Schlecht (Germany), 2023

Karen Lips is researcher and lives for several years in a tiny little shack in Costa Rica to observe frogs. When she leaves the cloud forest for a short time and returns, the frogs are gone. All of them. Karen sets out to find them – and encounters a horrible truth.

 

TWENTY

dir. Jason Hogan (United Kingdom), 2024

TWENTY is the story of the girl behind the number. Made in partnership with the charity SHELTER, the film follows Emily, a homeless ballet dancer undertaking a potentially life-changing audition.

 

2K5

dir. Nicole Pott (United Kingdom), 2023

It’s 2005, Ellie and her ‘BFF 4lyf’, Zoe, listen to rap music and slam rhymes every day, dreaming of the big stage. But, at twelve, for Ellie, it’s easy to be a dreamer and less easy to ignore the harsh realities as the only Black kid at school.

 

RINGLING SHORTS

ART AS A MEANS OF BREATH

dir. Celi Mitidieri (USA), 2022

The community leader and artist Yoleidy Rosario-Hernandez explores the connections between art and ancestry in the journey to find zirself.

 

BLINDS WIDE OPEN

dir. Ben Sutherland (USA), 2023

An agoraphobic man named Greg, fears that someone outside of his apartment window is watching him. Every night he enjoys a routine of watching conspiracy filled videos from a public access TV talk show and

has dinner with his only trusted friend, his neighbor. However, his paranoia is heightened when the talk show host begins speaking to him, informing him

that his neighbor may not be what he seems.

 

HEATHER

dir. Sarah Forest (USA), 2024

Daisy, a young woman, lives at home balancing taking care of her ill and hyper-religious mom. Daisy becomes obsessed and infatuated with Heather Brown, a VHS aerobics instructor. Heather begins talking to Daisy through the TV, showcasing some demonic quirks.

 

I <3 KATY

dir. Peyton Leopold (USA), 2023

Two unsuspected lovers join forces to tackle a local graffiti legend. What starts out as a manic pixie dream turns into a cold harsh reality they both have to face.

 

SUPER COOL REAL HORSE

dir. Jeno Broschofsky (USA), 2023

Roommates and so-called friends make a small bet that turns into a high stakes battle through movie genres to decide who is the better storyteller.

 

TESILFY

dir. Jackson Fowler (USA), 2024

A fast paced display of the Tesla car.

 

SARASOTA FILMMAKERS NARRATIVE SHORTS

BLUE BOY

dir. Tyler Riggs (USA), 2024

Insecure New Jersey bodybuilder, Joey Rossi aka Joey Muscles, starts doing steroids in a last ditch effort to go pro.

 

CHROMA

dir. Taoquan Fu (USA), 2024

 

DEEP AWAKENING

dir. Steve Stein (USA), 2024

Across the country, video calls are interrupted when hackers break into a widely used chat application and broadcast a message using AI to all users that will change their lives forever.

 

FOUNDATION

dir. Steven Hedrick, Jr. (USA), 2024

When her girlfriend goes missing in a high-rise hotel, a lonely young woman desperately searches for her with the help of the night manager.

 

NOVA

dir. Tristan Anthony Ortiz (USA), 2024

After mysteriously vanishing in space, a young astronaut suddenly reemerges twenty years later to find the world and his wife have moved on.

 

SCREAMING INTO THE WIND

dir. Kevin O’Neill (USA), 2024

Evie Ingle, trapped in her grief and abusive marriage, takes matters into her own hands to break that cycle. Through visual and sonic storytelling, the audience will experience the inner world of Evie’s struggle without the use of dialogue.

 

SHIP OF THESEUS

dir. Michael Zhang (USA), 2024

In a post-biological revolution dystopia, Theseus, a young fighter with an unwavering sense of his father’s values, confronts a moral crossroads. As he battles cybernetically enhanced opponents in underground fights, he must decide whether to preserve his humanity or embrace technological augmentation for power.

 

SUPERSTITIOUS

dir. Melany Andrea Di Pietro Cecere & Carolina Rapp (USA), 2024

Superstitious tells a story about a clumsy and anxious fair named Ailbhe who owns a magic shop and does her best to avoid bad luck until one day an adorable black cat named Jinx stumbles into her store. Chaos ensues as Ailbhe gets progressively more stressed with every step Jinx takes. Will Ailbhe be able to overcome her fears to save them both before it’s too late?

 

TREVOR HURT SOMEONE

dir. Sam Pinnelas (USA), 2024

Straight male best friends Sean and Trevor deliberate the events of the preceding night, when Trevor sexually assaulted Sean, at the bar where it happened.

 

WERNER HERZOG SAVES TAXI DRIVER

dir. John Stevenson (USA), 2024

Two unsuspected lovers join forces to tackle a local graffiti legend. What When Martin Scorsese threatens to kill the head of Columbia Studios in response to its cut of his masterpiece TAXI DRIVER, film buddies Steven Spielberg and George Lucas enlist the help of the only filmmaker hardcore enough to save him… WERNER HERZOG!

 

WREN’S WORLD

dir. Hollis Rosenkranz (USA), 2024

Wren, fourteen, insecure, and tasked with watching her sister for the summer, is forced to spend her days at the community pool. Plagued by bikini-clad bodies surrounding her, Wren is sick of feeling inadequate and is intrigued when presented with the opportunity to finally become perfect.

 

SARASOTA FILMMAKERS DOCUMENTARY SHORTS

BAAR

dir. Dev Walker (USA), 2024

After battling a life-threatening disease, a young man with down syndrome proves that challenges are meant to be overcome and that there’s no obstacle big enough to steal his joy. His determination is inspirational. His kindness is golden. His name is Joey Baar.

 

CONNECTIONS

dir. Corey Marr & Lisa Mills (USA), 2024

A close look inside the world of a Special Olympian, Becky Richter.

 

DEAR TAMPA BAY

dir. Amanda Moore (USA), 2024

Tampa Bay is one of the areas in our nation most vulnerable to climate change. But Tampa Bay isn’t alone, communities across the Gulf coast face similar climate impacts.

 

FINISH

dir. Dev Walker (USA), 2024

Against all odds, a young man with autism and tourette syndrome enters a grueling gravel race, pushing himself to the limit as he faces physical and mental challenges along the way.

 

NOT ROD

dir. Becca Greene & Alex Pollack (USA), 2024

As a renowned Rod Stewart tribute artist, George Orr entertains sold out crowds with his singing and Chardonnay-soaked banter. NOT ROD is a short documentary about a big personality who reminds us that it is never too late to do what you love.

 

SPACE COAST

dir. Justin Barber (USA), 2024

People from around the world gather on the Space Coast to witness the launch of Artemis-1, the ‘World’s most powerful rocket.’ But Mark, a veteran of the Space Shuttle Program, doubts this ‘moondoggle’ will ever fly.

 

THE FENTANYL PROJECT

dir. KT Curran (USA), 2024

The Fentanyl Project is a 26 minute, short documentary about the impact of illegal fentanyl abuse in Sarasota/Manatee counties.

 

About Sarasota Film Festival

Held annually in Sarasota, Florida, the Sarasota Film Festival emphasizes the best in cinema alongside exciting programs and events, with hundreds of films screened each year including features, documentaries, shorts, and kid-friendly picks. SFF brings the best new and established independent filmmakers to the Festival with local programs that showcase its idyllic community. The Sarasota Film Festival is a 501©3 non-profit arts organization. It is the largest film fest in the Southeast, one of the largest in North America, and draws over 50,000 ticket holders annually. The festival regularly hosts industry attendees and media and has been covered by The New York Times, Variety, GQ, Entertainment Weekly, Vanity Fair, IndieWire, The Hollywood Reporter, USA Today, Rolling Stone, The New York Post, and The New York Daily News, among others. For more information, please visit: https://www.sarasotafilmfestival.com/

 

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