Friday, April 1, the Sarasota Film Festival will kick off its 18th year. In celebration, festival organizers and sponsors met for a kickoff party Wednesday, March 16, at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.
This year, says President Mark Famiglio, national politics are a hot topic of discussion, and that will be reflected in much of the festival's films, panels, conversations and social events, including the rebranded "Cinema Politicale."
Highlights of this year's festival include opening night film, "Other People," centerpiece films, "Five Nights in Maine" and "Unlocking the Cage" and closing night film"The Congressman." Festivities will kick off March 31 at the Van Wezel with a conversation with Sophia Loren; other celebrity appearances will include Olympia Dukakis, Rosie Perez, Matthew Modine, Josh Radnor, Treat Williams, George Hamilton and director and Congressman Robert Mrazek.
Like last year, the 2016 Sarasota Film Festival will also have a social-issue focus: mental health.