Sarasota Film Festival comes to Bradenton

A locally made documentary premieres at the Manatee Performing Arts Center

mclear@bradenton.comFebruary 9, 2014 

Memory Film Poster

"The Enduring Beauty of Memory" was written, filmed and produced entirely in the Bradenton area. It's the fourth film project for Durand Adams, Charles Williams and Charles Clapsaddle. PHOTO PROVIDED

This year, the Sarasota Film Festival is coming to Bradenton.

At 7 p.m. March 14, the film festival will premiere a documentary called "The Enduring Beauty of Memory" at the Manatee Center for the Performing Arts,

After its premiere in Bradenton, the film will become part of the film festival rotation. The festival itself starts in early April.

"The Enduring Beauty of Memory" was written, filmed and produced entirely in the Bradenton area. It was written by retired circuit court Judge Durand Adams and current court Judge Charles Williams and directed by Adams, Williams and Charles Clapsaddle, the station manager of Manatee Educational Television.

The film explores, through personal anecdotes and scientific explanation from Dr. Michael Mullan of Sarasota's Roskamp Institute, the way memory works and the way it shapes our lives.

"When you look at how memory works," Adams said, "it really is a wonderful invention. It is who we are."

Adams and his partners in the film asked Bradenton area residents what their very first memory was, what their best memory was and how their own memory worked. They punctuate those personal thoughts with discussions from Mullan, who uses paintings at the Ringling Museum of Art as metaphors to explain how the science of memory operates.

It's the fourth film project for Adams, Williams and Clapsaddle. Their best-known work is "Through the Tunnel," a look at the last days of segregation and the first days of integration in Manatee County, told largely by alumni of the county's only African-American high school.

The Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg will screen "Through the Tunnel" as part of a presentation that starts at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11. Adams and Williams will be there for a panel discussion after the film.

The screening of "The Enduring Beauty of Memory" comes the same day that the festival schedule will be announced, and tickets will go on sale to the general public.

"We'll have a table and people will be able to look through the schedule and buy tickets," said Charlie Ann Syprett, the festival's development director. "We're bringing the box office to Bradenton."

From the time the Manatee Performing Arts Center opened last spring, officials of both the center and the film festival have been expressing a desire to work together.

"I had never been to the Manatee Performing Arts Center before," Syprett said. "But everybody in Sarasota is talking about how exquisite it is. And it really is every bit as exquisite as I had been told it was."

Janene Witham, the executive director of Manatee Players, the theater company that operates at the Manatee Performing Arts Center, said working with the Sarasota Film Festival is an important step forward in the center's goal to offer a wider variety of arts and entertainment. She ad other officials said she hoped the center would lead to a Manatee County presence for the film festival.

"It was always one of our strategic objectives," she said. "It gives us an opportunity to showcase our facility to a new audience base."

Both Witham and Spyrett had the same response when they were asked whether they expected the Sarasota Film festival to expand its offering in Bradenton: "Absolutely."

Marty Clear, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-708-7919. Follow

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