SARASOTA -- The Sarasota Film Festival announced its full lineup Wednesday, which boasts a total of 251 films ranging from documentary feature films to short films.
The festival, which runs April 1-10 this year, is set to officially kickoff March 31 when organizers present their Legend Award to Academy Award-winning actress Sophia Loren at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center.
Golden Globe winner Olympia Dukakis will also be honored at this year's Tribute Luncheon in partnership with the UN Women, and actress Rosie Perez will attend.
"This year, national politics have taken center stage," said Sarasota Film Festival President Mark Famiglio, in a written statement. "Consequently, many of our films, panels, conversations and social events will be imbued with themes of political reform, including the rebranding of one of our signature events, Cinema Tropicale, as Cinema Politicale."
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The film festival's Opening Night Film is "Other People," a dramedy directed by Chris Kelly about David, a gay comedy writer in New York who goes back to his childhood home in Sacramento to spend time with his sharp-tongued mother, Joanne, who's dying of cancer.
The Sarasota Film Festival's Closing Night Film is "The Congressman," directed by Jared Martin and former politician Robert Mrazek. The drama film is about a disgruntled Maine congressman who had reached a crossroads in his professional life and retreats to a small remote island in his district to deal with a fishing scandal and ends up finding purpose.
The film's Centerpiece films are "Five Nights in Maine" by director Maris Curran and "Unlocking the Cage" by directors Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker. Hegedus and Pennebaker will be in attendance.
Other festival attendees include George Hamilton, Josh Radnor, Matthew Modine and Treat Williams.
One film of local note is "Monty Comes Back," by filmmaker Thomas John Nudi. The film, shot entirely in the Anna Maria-Bradenton area, will be screened. Nudi grew up in the area.
Tickets go on sale next week. For more information, visit sarasotafilmfestival.com.
Amaris Castillo, law enforcement/island reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7051. Follow her on Twitter@AmarisCastillo.