Fairs & Festivals

Second Sarasota Fringe Festival begins today

SARASOTA — In life, it’s good to have options.

Like job options, food options and yes, even film options.

The second year of the Sarasota Fringe Film Festival — not to be confused with the Sarasota Film Festival — offers what it calls “Reel Films for Real People.” Complementing the Sarasota Film Festival, the Fringe Film Festival feature films that intrigue with topics such as local history, local music by physicians and people who dare to kiss underneath Sarasota’s famous kissing statue.

“There are loads of wonderful films,” said Patrick Nagle, Fringe Festival founder.

More than 200 films will be shown during the five-day festival, which opens 6 p.m. today at the Main Street Plaza with music and the premiere of “Dr. Idol . . . Rx Music!”

The film is on last year’s “Dr. Idol . . . A Battle of the Bands” event, which featured area doctors singing with their bands for charity. The winner of the contest was Bradenton’s Dr. Robert Koser, a family practice physician.

The film was produced by Nagle and features a behind-the-scenes look at the doctors at home, work and on stage. Nagle hopes to debut the film on TV as a series in the near future, too.

“It’s a very, very cool film that shows the relationship between medicine and music,” Nagle said.

This year’s event is expected to draw between 3,000 to 5,000 fans — a big jump from last year’s 100 films and a 1,000 attendees.

“It’s going to be huge,” Nagle said.

Other highlights include a night-long film series about Andy Warhol called “All Night With Andy,” a “Taste of Fringe” food cafe and a Kids Day filled with kid-centric films, clowns and a yo-yo demonstration. The family-friendly day will have something for everyone.

“It doesn’t mean that their parents have to be bored,” said Mary Manilla, director of public relations for the Fringe Film Festival.

“Many of Thursday’s films will be works that center on Sarasota — from a Circus Sarasota documentary to a look a homelessness in the film ‘A Tale of Two Cities.’”

Also, Ringling College of Art and Design has developed a partnership with the budding festival to showcase student work. As the festival grows, Nagle hopes the partnership will develop intern opportunities for film students in the future, along with extended education in the classroom.

“We want to see young filmmakers make more films about here and stay here,” Nagle said.

The Sarasota Fringe Festival began last year after the Sarasota Film Festival sent out a rejection e-mail to the filmmakers who didn’t make it in — with the e-mail addresses of all the 350 people who were rejected attached to the e-mail by accident.

The group of rejects bonded, developing the Fringe Festival. The fest now touts itself as a festival where all entries are accepted, not rejected.