BRADENTON -- Ever since the Manatee Performing Arts Center opened last year, there's been talk about it becoming the Bradenton home of the Sarasota Film Festival.
The talk came from both officials of the center, who have always envisioned movies as one element that would help make the facility's program more rounded, and from the people who run the festival, who had wanted to better serve their Manatee County audience.
The talk turned into reality for the first time Friday night, when the Sarasota Film Festival came to the Manatee Performing Arts Center to present the world premiere of "The Enduring Beauty of Memory," a documentary produced
and filmed largely in Manatee County.
"I have to say," film festival president Mark Famiglio told a near-capacity audience before the film, "I spend over half my time in Manatee County, and I prefer it."
As the audience applauded he smiled and added, "Did I just say that?"
Manatee County dignitaries said they were thrilled that the film festival was in Manatee County.
"In Manatee County," said METV board member Jim Delgado. "If I could, I'd say it 3 more time - 'in Manatee County.' "
The film was produced and directed by former Judge Durand Adams, current Judge Charles Williams and Manatee Educational Television station manager Charles Clapsaddle, the same team that created the acclaimed documentary "Through the Tunnel," about the beginning of desegregation in Manatee County.
The 67-minute film that debuted Friday looks at various aspects of memory, from purely scientific explanations from Dr. Michael Mullan, the CEO of Sarasota's Roskamp Institute, to personal recollections from area residents. Some talk of their earliest and favorite memories, others about watching their parents' memories start to fail.
One of the most compelling segments involves a Holmes Beach man who lost his memory completely and was incapacitated for many months. He was finally able to function through medication, but he has undergone continuous personality changes.
Stone Hall at the Manatee Performing Arts Center is more often home to theater than to films, but it turns out to make a fine movie house, with a quality screen and projection system and good sound.
Officials of the film festival sat they definitely plan to have a stronger presence in Bradenton in the coming years.
The 2014 festival is scheduled for April 4-13. "The Enduring Beauty of Memory" will be screened twice during the festival, at 8:45 p.m. Sunday, April 6, and at 7 p.m. Sunday, April 13, at Regal Cinemas Hollywood 20, 1993 Main St., Sarasota. For information, go to sarasotafilmfestival.com.
Marty Clear, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-708-7919. Follow twitter.com/martinclear.