Films, films and more films spell heaven for film fanatics. This year’s Sarasota Film Festival sidebar programs feature a mix of speciality films showcasing women, local filmmakers, Jewish issues and youth.
“Cinema Diaspora: International Perspective on Jewish Identity”
The festival is pleased to partner with The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee for this program, which consists of seven films that highlight the Jewish experience. They include the story of Sarasota resident Fred Raymes’ journey to reunite with his long-lost Jewish/German brother in “Menachem and Fred.”
Hall said he hopes more organizations in the community will partner with the festival in the future to give awareness to cultural issues through the medium of film.
“We love the challenge of finding work that can speak to all different parts of our community,” Hall said. “We’re eager to do that.”
“Views From The Sunshine State: Sarastoa and Florida Filmmakers”
This program pays homage to local and state talent through 22 films such as “Ms. Senior Sweetheart,” featuring Sarasota resident Ruth Berkel, and “Deadly Closure,” an action-packed thriller filmed in and around Sarasota.
“They’re all compelling stories,” said Hall. “We think it’s important to celebrate their work. Not just show it but to make it an integral part of the festival.”
“Through Women’s Eyes”
Women’s issues are the centerpiece behind the 11th annual Through Women’s Eyes film festival, which has partnered with the Sarasota Film Festival to present 11 films directed by women. They include independent documentaries and short films that highlight the lives of women around the world. The films will be shown during the first weekend of the festival.
“We really believe in their mission,” said Tom Hall, Sarasota Film Festival artistic director. “We’re all people who want to see women’s films and women filmmakers, in particular, thrive.”
“Youth on the Run: Truffaut on Childhood”
Also, the festival takes a look at filmmaker Francois Truffaut, who spent his career telling stories of childhood. Four of his classic films will be showcased at the festival, including the rarely seen “The Little Thief.”
Speaking of youth, children of all ages will get to partake in YouthFest. Film festival president Mark Famiglio said the festival is the only one in the nation that provides educational youth programming free of charge to teens and children.
The program has focused its efforts more on film education in recent years.
“In the past they’ve done those family face-painting (gatherings),” Famiglio said. “We’ve kind of veered away from that and decided to become film-centric in our approach. It’s well-received. I think it’s good for the community and it also allows children to get involved and understand how films are made.”