Just a couple of years ago, the Cine-World Film Festival was feeling a little anemic.
The festival itself, and the Sarasota Film Society that puts on the festival every year, were both in good financial shape. But years of international recession had taken their toll on the independent film industry.
"We were doing fine," said Sarasota Film Society spokesman Tim Calandra. "But with the downturn of the economy, money just was not being freed up for independent films."
The festival started in 1990, and had always run for 10 days. When the drought of independent films hit, Calandra said, the Sarasota Film Society didn't want to fill those 10 days with films that weren't up to the quality its audiences were used to. So instead, organizers reduced the length of the festival drastically. "In 2012, we cut down from 10 to seven days," Calandra said. "We just couldn't find films. There were a few years when it was a bit of a disappointment." But now, Calandra said, the independent film world has recovered, and the Cine-World Film Festival is back up to its full and traditional 10-day format.
"Last year was the first year that the festival really gained strength," Calandra said.
The 26th annual Cine-World Film Festival begins Friday and through Nov. 15, the festival hosts about 75 screenings of 36 different films. Most of the screening are at Burns Court Cinemas in Sarasota, and some are at Lakewood Ranch Cinemas. (The Sarasota Film Society owns and operates both theaters.)
"This year we have a good mix of domestic and international films, and of narrative and documentary films," Calandra said.
One of the aspects of Cine-World that makes it distinctive is that all its films come out of the Toronto International Film Festival, one of the largest and most prestigious annual film festivals in the world. Cine-World representatives attend TIFF and select a few dozen of the best films that festival has to offer. TIFF usually features hundred of films, so Cine-World can be selective. The Toronto Festival is held in September, so the films come almost directly from there to Cine-World. All the films in Cine-World are United States premieres, Calandra said.
Among this year's highlights are the opening night film, "Youth," which stars
Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel and Rachel Weisz in a story about a retired orchestra conductor who is invited to perform for Britain's Prince Philip, and the closing night film, "Loreak," about a married woman who receives a mysterious weekly delivery of flowers from an unknown person. For film buffs, one of documentaries that should be worth checking out, Calandra said, is "Hitchcock/Truffaut," in which prominent filmmakers including Wes Anderson and Peter Bogdanovich discuss how Francois Truffaut's book "Cinema According to Hitchcock" influenced their work. Individual tickets are $10 for Sarasota Film Society members and $13 for nonmembers. Packages of 10, 20 or 40 tickets are also available. The prices are all significantly lower for members than for nonmembers, so it's worth considering becoming a member if you're going to see a lot of movies at this year's festival. Memberships start at $30, or $20 for students. Membership information and a full schedule are available at filmsociety.org.
Details: Oct. 6-15, Burns Court Cinemas, 506 Burns Lane, Sarasota, and Lakewood Ranch Cinemas, 10715 Rodeo Drive #8, Lakewood Ranch. Show times: Various. Tickets $10 for Sarasota Film Society members, $13 for nonmembers. Information: 941-955-3456, filmsociety.org.
Marty Clear, features writer/columnist, can be reacher at 941-708-7919. Follow twitter.com/martinclear.