The original title of the film was "The Road Back," and it was supposed to chronicle the triumph of one of the greatest athletes of his generation, as he returned to the top levels of his sports after a devastating bout with testicular cancer.
But now the film is called "The Armstrong Lie." It's about the disgrace of a hero, about how a storied figure finally had to tell the world that he was a cheater and a liar.
Alex Gibney's "The Armstrong Lie" is the opening-night film of the 24th annual Cine-World Film festival, which gets underway Friday, with a screening of the Armstrong film at 7 p.m. at Burns Court Cinemas in Sarasota.
"He started doing the film before there was any kind of drug scandal," said Mike Kayatta, artistic director of the Sarasota Film Society, which organizes Cine-World. "The scandal starts while he's filming, and the film itself kind of becomes integrated into that."
There are more than 40 films in this year's 10-day festival, including mainstream Hollywood movies, obscure foreign films, low-budget independent films and documentaries.
"The common thread is quality," Kayatta said. "What we try to do is make it so that if you buy a pass and go see 10 films that you pick at random you'll end up having a pretty good time."
Kayatta and other Sarasota Film Society representatives attend other prestigious film festivals, including the massive Toronto Film Festival, and select the best new films that are available. So even though none of the films have been in general release, and few people have seen them, some of them already have some buzz.
Roberts, Meryl Streep and Ewan McGregor, that's often mentioned in the same sentence as the word "Oscar." It's based on the stage play by Tracy Letts, a dark comedy that won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2008. It's scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 2 and 8 at Burns Court Cinemas, and 7:45 p.m. Nov. 5 at Lakewood Ranch Cinemas.
Also from the roster of films on this year's festival that seems destined for mainstream success is "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom," starring Idris Elba as Nelson Mandela. (2 p.m. Nov. 3 and 7 p.m. Nov. 9 at Burns Court, 7:45 p.m. Nov. 4 at Lakewood Ranch.)
But the more obscure films can be just as rewarding. "Generation War" began its life as an acclaimed miniseries that Kayatta described as "a German version of 'Band of Brothers.'"
"They didn't have any way to import it as a miniseries," he said. "So it's been edited down to a five-hour movie that we're showing in two parts."
Both parts will screen Nov. 9 at Burns Court. Part I is at noon, Part II at 2:30 p.m.
Another foreign film that's getting a lot of attention is "Like Father, Like Son," a Japanese drama about a man who finds that the boy he has raised for six years is not his biological son. American filmmakers have already bought the rights to do a remake.
The original version will close the Cine-World Film Festival at 7 p.m. Nov. 10 at Burns Court.
Details: Cine-World Film Festival, Nov.1-10, Burns Court Cinemas, 506 Burns Lane, Sarasota, and Lakewood Ranch Cinemas, 10715 Rodeo Drive, Lakewood Ranch. Individual film tickets are $9 for Sarasota Film Society members, $12 for nonmembers. Black Passes, good for 10 films, are $80 for members and $110 for nonmembers. Red passes, good for 20 films, are $150 for members and $210 for nonmembers. Silver Passes, for 40 tickets, are $280 for members and $400 for nonmembers. Membership to Sarasota Film Society is $30 for one person or $50 for two, so if you're going to buy a black, red or silver pass, it's worth it to become a member first. Membership also entitles patrons to $5 regular movie tickets year-round at the Burns Court and Lakewood Ranch, plus other benefits. Information: 941-364-8662, www.filmsociety.org.
Marty Clear, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 971-708-7919. Follow twitter.com/martinclear