Fairs & Festivals

Honoree Plummer to attend Sarasota Film Fest

The 13th annual Sarasota Film Festival has landed acclaimed movie, television and theater actor Christopher Plummer.

The recent Oscar-nominee played Captain Von Trapp in the “The Sound of Music” and voiced Charles Muntz in the 2009 Disney/Pixar blockbuster “Up.”

Plummer will be at SFF, which runs April 7-17, to accept the Cinema Master Award.

He also stars alongside Ewan McGregor (“Trainspotting,” “Star Wars”) and Mélanie Laurent (“Inglourious Basterds”) in SFF’s closing night film, “Beginners.”

“A lot of people are very happy about this,” said SFF President Mark Famiglio by phone late Tuesday. “But it’s only the beginning of a long list of announcements to come in the next couple months.”

Written and directed by Mike Mills, whose movie “Thumbsucker” earned a 2006 Independent Spirit Award nomination, “Beginners” premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.

“A young man (McGregor) is rocked by two announcements from his elderly father (Plummer): that he has terminal cancer, and that he has a young male lover,” reads the synopsis from IMDB.com.

Village Voice applauded “Beginners” in its Toronto Film Fest coverage.

“I saw the film back in September at Toronto and fell in love with it,” said SFF Artistic Director Tom Hall when he called from his home in Brooklyn, N.Y. “It’s a moving, funny, powerful story about family and love that’s perfect for our audience in Sarasota and Bradenton.”

“Beginners” is scheduled for nationwide distribution by Focus Features on June 3. The 81-year-old Plummer, whose Academy Award nomination came a year ago for the historical drama “The Last Station,” stars with Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara in director David Fincher’s hugely anticipated “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” due out in December.

“We’re deeply honored to have (Plummer),” Hall said. “He’s had such a great year with his first Oscar nomination and now ‘Beginners’ and then ‘Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ by David Fincher. I think he’s ready to have another breakout year. He’s busier than ever and has always just been brilliant, but underappreciated. It’s a big deal to honor him and we’re grateful he accepted, which I think speaks to the stature of the festival.”

The National Society of Film Critics awarded Plummer Best Supporting Actor for his work in “The Insider,” the 1999 thriller by director Michael Mann starring Al Pacino and Russell Crowe. Plummer also has won a few Emmys and, on Broadway, he won Tony Awards in 1997 for Best Actor in a Play (“Barrymore”) and Best Actor in a Musical (“Cyrano.”) His first Tony nomination for Best Actor came in 1959 for “J.B” and latest in 2007 as the title-character of “King Lear.”

Last year, SFF gave its Cinema Master Award to director John Landis (“Animal House,” “Blues Brothers.”)

Past recipients include Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron (“Monster”) and pioneering filmmaker Robert Altman (“Nashville,” “The Player,” “MASH”).

“We hope people are as excited about ‘Beginners’ and Christopher Plummer as we are,” Hall said. “This year’s festival is going to continue getting bigger than ever.”

Wade Tatangelo, features writer/columnist, can be reached at (941) 745-7057. Visit his blog at bradenton.com.

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