The 16th Annual Sarasota Film Festival is getting into full festive mode with a lineup of movies for its Moonlight Movies program, which begins Friday, Jan. 24. The program, which is free and open to the public, will showcase movies from a variety of genres.
The Holding Cell, directed by screenwriter and local filmmaker KT Curran, will be the lead film in the Moonlight series program and will be shown at the Out-of-Door Academy on Deer Drive in Sarasota. This will be the first time in the festival's history that an SFF World Premiere Movie will be screened prior to the actual film festival, which will run from Friday, April 4 to Sunday, April 13.
The Holding Cell, based on true stories of Sarasota-area teens, focuses on the tragic world of prescription drug abuse and addiction among teenagers who choose escape over change.
The film further spotlights the illegal drug trade that earned Florida the moniker, "Oxy Express," because of easy access to prescription pain killers at more than 1,000 pain clinics throughout the state.
The film's running time is around 34 minutes, with a discussion afterward.
According to Emily Harris, SFF Education Director, in addition to The Holding Cell, the series will feature movies for all age groups. She explains that the education department's mission is to “educate, inspire and entertain students” in area schools.
“We chose films that are geared for different age groups,” says Harris, stating that the “well-rounded” group of films chosen is a collaborative effort among the people on the education committee and the schools.
“For example, Mary Poppins will appeal to all ages,” she says, “While The Holding Cell is more for students in the ninth grade and older, because of the movie's theme.”
The Hunger Games, The Little Mermaid and Dirty Dancing are among the seven films featured in this year's Moonlight Movie program, which runs from Friday, Jan. 24 to Saturday, April 5.