Momoa heads to Sarasota for film premiere

The 'Game of Thrones' stars in a new road movie he directed and co-wrote

mclear@bradenton.comApril 6, 2014 

"Road to Paloma": Jason Momoa, star of "Game of Thrones" and "The Red Road," wrote, directed and stars in this biker road movie that is having its world premiere at the Sarasota Film Festival. Jason Momoa will be here for the screenings. It is a lot of fun and audiences will be the first in the world to see the film. Show time: 7:30 p.m. April 12. PUBLICITY PHOTO

Most people know Jason Momoa from "Game of Thrones," a big-budget HBO series with rich production values.

"Road to Paloma" is nothing like that.

Momoa will be in Sarasota this week for the screening of "The Road to Paloma." He's the star of the movie, which he directed and co-wrote.

"We did it on almost no budget," he said in a phone interview from Seward, Alaska, where he's filming another movie., "Sugar Mountain."

"I wrote it with a couple of buddies. There was one camera. We slept in the dirt and edited in my Airstream."

The new film screens at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Momoa is flying in from Alaska just to be there.

It's not being officially billed as the world premiere of the film. That will actually come later, when the film -- which already has earned a distribution deal -- hits the theaters.

But the Sarasota Film Festival screening will be the first time the pubic has had a chance to see the film.

"We entered it into Sundance, but it didn't make it," he said. "It almost made it."

Someone from the Sundance Film Festival saw the film, he said, and liked his portrayal of a Native American enough that they offered him a role, also playing a Native American, in "The Red Road," a new Sundance TV series.

In "Road to Paloma," Momoa plays a Native American on the run. On his reservation, he had avenged a crime against his family, and the law is looking for him.

The description from the festival says the film "channels the spirit of the great American cinema of the 1970s, utilizing beautiful photography and a wisecracking antihero protagonist to tell the story of a life spent running down the road."

"I didn't want it to be just a chase movie," he said. "It's more in the spirit of a road movie, but there's a message to it."

Also starring in the "Road to Paloma" is Momoa's wife, Lisa Bonet of "The Cosby Show" fame; Sarah Shahi from "Person of interest" and Michael Raymond James of "True Blood."

It also features a great soundtrack by Atlanta band Radiobirds, he said, and the band will come to the festival to perform songs from the film and other music at festival's 1137 Party on Saturday at Louies Modern, 1289 N. Palm Ave. in Sarasota.

Momoa will be at the party, but he won't be performing.

"I'll just be dancing and drinking," he said.

Among the other big-name actors heading to Sarasota for the festival is Richard Jenkins, a veteran actor probably most recognized from "Six Feet Under." He's appearing in "God's Pocket," director John Slattery's film that's part of the festival. He'll attend the festival screening of the film at the Sarasota Opera House 7 p.m. April 11. Earlier that day, at 3 p.m. he'll be at Florida Studio Theatre for a conversation with New York Magazine critic David Edelstein.

Among the hundreds of films at this year's festival, which continues through April 13, are a couple that have a strong connection to Bradenton.

"The Enduring Beauty of Memory," which premiered at the Manatee Performing Arts Center, has two festival screenings, at 7 and 8:45 p.m. today at the Regal Hollywood 20.

Also on the festival schedule is "Old Monster," a new film by Bradenton native and Southeast High School alumnus Kevin Clarke-Ryan. The film stars Sylvia Miles and has already won awards at film festivals around the country. That screens at 1:15 p.m. Monday.

IF YOU GO

What: Screening of "Road to Paloma," with writer/director/star Jason Momoa in attendance

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Red carpet begins at 6:30 p.m.

Where: Hollywood 20, 1993 Main St., Sarasota

Tickets: $20

What: 1137 PARTY When: 11:37 p.m.-2 a.m. SaturdayWhere: Louies Modern, 1289 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota Tickets: $40/$100 VIP

Box office

The festival's box office is at Regal Hollywood 20, 1993 Main St., Sarasota. Single film tickets are $13 general admission, $10.50 for SFF members, $8 students with ID. Spotlight or Centerpiece film tickets are $20. Matinee tickets: $10. Packages are available.

Tickets, and the complete schedule of films and events, are available at www.sarasotafilmfestival.com or by calling 941-366-6200.

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

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