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Arts and Entertainment Wednesday, Apr. 18, 2012 10 years ago

Socially Awkward Starstruck Blonde Navigates the Sarasota Film Festival

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by: Kristen Pace

So I’m sitting here at the Filmmaker’s Lounge feeling a bit like, how should I say, a fish out of water? I attended the Red Carpet, opening night film, and opening night party. This is my first Sarasota Film Festival and my first, shall we say, “brush with fame.” It wasn’t at all like I expected. First of all, there was no Jon Hamm. Nowhere to be found. Naturally, I began the evening in a state of devastation and did my best to hold back tears.

I was expecting to rub shoulders with famous celebrities and give out my card like an out of control fame-worshipping whorehound  - prepared to whip my panties off like a ready and willing banshee to a gritty, unshaven Harrison Ford look-alike who would find it almost impossible not to hit on me!  After all, I had applied tan, glistening body make-up in an attempt to transform myself from pasty blonde with a hefty dose of 11 pounds of winter weight into slinky bronze goddess.

The red carpet is actually an absolutely and unabashedly terrifyingly claustrophobic area with people, their people, and their people trying to corral everyone into their respective proper positions. There was no manual for how a hack journalist is supposed to behave at these types of events. “Get in line for anyone you want to interview,” I was told. “Where is the line?” I meekly asked. “I don’t really know hon, but get out of the way.” I walked around awkwardly for a few moments before ducking away in terror just as Frank Langella of the Sarasota Film Festival’s opening night film, 'Robot and Frank', made his grand appearance. I got a few good shots, but nothing to write home about.

So after having recovered from my reversion to high-school dork moment on the red carpet and gathering up my guts again, I made my way to the Filmmakers’ Lounge on Sunday afternoon. I ran into Michael Dunaway, an Atlanta native and editor of Paste Magazine. I explained my pathetic lady column and how I had made it my goal to see all the lovey dovey, tear your heart out romantic flicks when he imparted a little bit of Sarasota Film Festival wisdom to me.

Michael is one of 9 jurors to judge the films in the SFF—there are 9 films in his category, independent visions. I asked him for a few recommendations on what a gal like me might find entertaining, and he gave me a few good pointers. He suggested 'That’s What She Said' which he described as one of those “bright, raunchy, the-way-women-really-actually-talk-to-each-other-when-nobody-is-looking type films.” Anne Heche plays DeeDee, who is preparing her best friend BeBe (Marcia Debonis) for a date, when a stranger interrupts their coffee shop pow-wow and the day they had planned morphs into a twisty sidetracked tale. You can still catch 'That’s What She Said' tomorrow, Thursday,  April 19 at 3:45.

After suggesting a raunchy flick, he steered me towards 'Goodbye First Love', directed by Mia Hanse Love, which he described as your classic “coming of age story and meditation on how to mend a broken heart.” I immediately figured out that he either secretly read my column or was some kind of psychic film-picking guru for lonely blonde single women. 'Goodbye First Love' will be shown tomorrow (Thursday), April 19 at 1:45 p.m. and Saturday, April 21 at 2:45 p.m. (French with English subtitles).

I also have my eyes on 'Missed Connections' by Director Martin Snyder about a gal who posts on an anonymous section of Craigslist,  in which people try to connect with random strangers who may have also felt a spark near the bananas in the produce aisle at 3:15 on a Wednesday. I have actually done this with a fine looking gentleman I once found myself behind in traffic, but that was a whole other column...

Though a shameless romantic at heart, I’m looking forward to 'The Day' more than anything. I do like a good horror flick, and of course there’s Dominic Monaghan. I’ve been faithfully carrying around my black sharpie like a Trekkie sporting plastic Spock ears, and I’m hoping to play it cool enough on the red carpet that I don’t frighten his security. You can catch Director Douglas Aarniokoski’s film and the potential of a full blown Blonde Out of Water spectacle on either Friday, April 20th at 8:30 p.m. or Saturday, April 21st at 8:30 p.m.

See you on the red carpet!

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