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Sarasota Film Festival releases full lineup

The festival will be held online April 27 through May 3.

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  • | 3:51 p.m. April 23, 2020
"Revival" follows a group of four older New York choreographers as they teach dance to senior citizens for the first time.
"Revival" follows a group of four older New York choreographers as they teach dance to senior citizens for the first time.
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The 22nd annual Sarasota Film Festival will be held online from April 27 through May 3, and the lineup includes features, documentaries and kid films. 

Tickets will go on sale the first day of the festival. An all-access pass will cost $30. Each film or short program will cost $3.99, though educational programming is free. 

“Now more than ever we feel the demand for entertainment and we are excited to work with local organizations to not only bring delightful and engaging films but ones that highlight the Sarasota and Florida community as a hub for the arts and as a global destination,” Mark Famiglio, co-founder and president of the Sarasota Film Festival, said in a statement.

To purchase tickets, view a complete schedule and watch films, visit the festival website, or download the Sarasota Film Festival smartphone app. 

The festival will include an Audience Award competition for feature-length films, which will be voted on by viewers. A local panel of judges will award prizes for shorts and student-direct films.

“We thank all the filmmakers for sharing their work with us and hope our dedicated and loyal audiences find comfort and intrigue in these unique stories and voices,” Famiglio said. 

The 22nd Sarasota Film Festival lineup includes the following films: 

Feature Films

American Trial: The Eric Garner Story
Director: Roee Messinger
Summary: What if, instead of a grand jury indictment, New York City Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo had undergone a criminal trial for the highly publicized death of Eric Garner? This film creates a realistic legal setting and depicts that imagined trial through unscripted improvisation between nonprofessional actors and two criminal legal teams. 

Born to Be
Director: Tania Cypriano
Summary: The Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery Wing at the Mount Sinai Hospital provides treatment to the transgender population that desires some form of reconstructive surgery. This documentary follows the lives of patients and staff that form the center’s community and shares the story of what it’s like to undergo the radical procedures that the clinic provides.

A crime thriller set in the American South,
A crime thriller set in the American South, "Bruiser" follows a low-level enforcer as he fights to keep his family together.


Director: Jon Mark Nail
Summary: A crime thriller set in the American South, this film follows a low-level enforcer as he fights to keep his family together. When a mix of bad luck and big ambitions sets him out on the biggest job of his life, he starts to examine the relationship between violence and prosperity.

Darkness in Tenement 45
Director: Nicole Groton
Summary: Sixteen-year-old Joanna has been living with her overbearing aunt Martha in a low-income NYC tenement since a violent outburst left her fighting a feeling she can only describe as the “darkness.” Weeks after moving in, a biological threat from the Soviet Union leaves the building boarded up and the tenants locked inside. With food dwindling and Martha’s controversial role as leader expanding, Joanna realizes she must face  her darkness and her aunt in order to save the tenants. 

The Dog Doc
Director: Cindy Meehl
Summary: A founding father of integrative veterinary medicine, Dr. Marty Goldstein and his colleagues in South Salem, N.Y., have created a mecca for holistic care. Combining conventional medical training with cutting-edge alternative therapies, Dr. Marty’s philosophy offers an example of how improving overall health rather than merely treating disease is transformative for all living things.

Driven to Abstraction
Director: Daria Price
Summary: M. Knoedler & Co. was once the oldest and most respected art dealerships in New York City. Founded in 1846, the institution’s dramatic 2009 demise shook the art world, creating lingering questions on the validity of our ideas around authorship and the role that high-end forgery plays in the industry of art dealership. 

Erotic Fire of the Unattainable
Director: Frank Vitale
Summary: A meditation on love after 60, this romantic comedy follows a social circle of successful islanders as they bounce in and out of each other’s lives. Nothing is off-limits, as the leads talk about food, fiction and most of all, each other.

Film About a Father Who
Director: Lynne Sachs
Summary: Between 1984 and 2019, filmmaker Lynne Sachs shot 8mm and 16mm film, videotape and digital images with her father, Ira Sachs, a bohemian businessman from Park City, Utah. This film is her attempt to understand the web that connects a child to her parent and a sister to eight siblings, some of whom she has known all of her life, others she only recently discovered. With a nod to the Cubist renderings of a face, Sachs’ cinematic exploration of her father offers simultaneous, sometimes contradictory views of one seemingly unknowable man who is always there, public, in the center of the frame, yet somehow ensconced in secrets.

"For Fear of Kofi" investigates the circumstances of a March 2010 police shooting at the University of Florida.

For Fear of Kofi
Director: Marina Petrovskaia
Summary: For Fear of Kofi investigates the circumstances of a March 2010 police shooting at the University of Florida. University Police responded to a 911 call from graduate housing: a student stating concern about her neighbor, Kofi, a fellow Ph.D student from Ghana. According to her report, he was having a mental breakdown and she could hear him yelling. 90 minutes later, police forced their way into his apartment and shot him repeatedly, nearly killing him. The University tried to contain the story using non-disclosure agreements. However, not everyone agreed to remain silent. 

Land Mine
Director: Tirtza Even
Summary: This experimental documentary is best described as a biopic—not of a person, but of a building. Focused on Even’s childhood home, the film uses lyrical camera work and a series of in-depth interviews to explore how the last half century has affected the Israeli residents of an apartment building nestled in the Givat Ram neighborhood of West Jerusalem.

Director: Juliana Tafur
Summary: With hatred and polarization on the rise around the world, List(e)n invites people in the U.S. with opposing viewpoints on guns, abortion and immigration to listen to each other. The documentary features participants whose personal lives deeply intertwine with these topics, including one of the survivors of the Parkland school shooting. 

Microplastic Madness
Director: Atsuko Quirk, Debby Lee Cohen
Summary: With stop-motion animation, heartfelt kid commentary and interviews of experts and renowned scientists who are engaged in cutting edge research on the harmful effects of microplastics, this documentary conveys an urgent message in user-friendly terms.  

Director: Heather Young

Summary: The lines between kindness, cruelty and self-destruction are blurred in this vérité character sketch of a middle aged alcoholic. Populated entirely with nonprofessional actors, this film is a raw, dark and humane portrait of love and companionship taken to their extremes. 

"Pacarrete" is an old and crazy ballet dancer. When she returns home to Brazil to perform for the people, no one seems to care.

Director: Allan Deberton
Summary: Pacarrete is an old and crazy ballet dancer. Over the years, she works as the teacher for classic dance and ballet in Fortaleza, Brazil, with ambition. After retirement, she goes back to her hometown and decides to give a dance performance as a gift to the people on the eve of the city's 200-year anniversary party. But it seems nobody cares.

Director: Josefina Rotman Lyons
Summary: In spring 2017, four older choreographers, once seminal participants in the modern dance world and Broadway, started the monumental task of choreographing dances with a diverse group of New York senior citizens, most of whom had never danced on stage before. Over a few intense months, the choreographers brought their ideas to life and sparked joy in the senior dancers. 

Ride Till I Die
Director: Tony Rammos
Summary: For Ricky Ringer, bull riding was always his life, but he could never win a championship. Twenty-five years later, Ringer, his son, Lil' Ricky, and fellow rider Ernie Courson, continue to ride. Despite warnings from his wife, mother and his ailing body, Ricky is determined to chase the elusive title or die trying.

Ruth Weiss, The Beat Goddess
Director: Melody C. Miller
Summary: This biopic focuses on an under-appreciated female poet from the Beat generation. It is interspersed with interviews, traditional documentary footage and collaborative video interpretations of Weiss’s work. 

Director: Jake Thomas
Summary: This piece of magical realism explores complex relationships. Mother and daughter, self and body, and feline and master. A house cat’s sudden Kafka-esque transformation into a human being raises profound questions about how we navigate our own embodied existence and the role that non-human animals play in our lives.

This is not a Burial, It's a Resurrection
Director: Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese
Summary: Among the pythonic mountains of land-locked Lesotho, an 80-year-old widow winds up her earthly affairs, makes arrangements for her burial and prepares to die. But when her village is threatened with forced resettlement due to the construction of a reservoir, she finds a new will to live and ignites a collective spirit of defiance within her community. 

In "Shedding," a house cat’s sudden transformation into a human being raises profound questions about how we navigate our own embodied existence and the role that non-human animals play in our lives.

The War and Peace of Tim O'Brien
Director: Aaron Matthews
Summary: This film follows O’Brien on his journey writing his next and last book. What makes wars worth fighting? This intimate film bout the struggles of a world-renowned war writer illuminates the everyday ties between duty, art, family and the trauma of war.

A Way Out
Director: Charles Clapsaddle, Durand Adams and Charles Williams
Summary: This documentary explores how women get out of abusive relationships. It is essentially a documentary which draws upon the portrait of a woman who was nearly killed by her ex-husband in an attack. It follow her through her escape, recovery and redemption. That woman, Kim Donatelle, recounts the details of the day on which she nearly died and describes how her best friend did die when she tried to come to Kim’s aid.

A Woman Who Climbs Trees
Director: Puja Kolluru
Summary: A Woman Who Climbs Trees is about a woman so passionate about becoming a scientist nothing in life could stop her. Her journey is a lesson and an inspiration to many young men and women struggling through a never-ending battle of career and family hurdles. 

Zoro's Solo
Director: Martin Busker
Summary: A fish out of water story about a 13-year-old refugee from Afghanistan. This film documents the struggles of an often brash and confrontational young boy and his struggle to succeed in a new country. Funny and ultimately uplifting, this movie will appeal to anyone who’s ever been the new kid at school.

Animated Short Films

Director: Adrian Bobb
Summary: In the snow-covered ruins of 24th century Toronto, AEGIS, a humanoid war machine, leads a team of five robotic digital-humans into the the real world to retake an enemy-occupied server installation vital to the survival of their digital home.

Faithy, Hey
Director: Emily Hubley
Summary: Artist/filmmaker Faith Hubley drew a self-portrait in her journal every day for the last decades of her life. Years later, her daughter revisits specific memories and dreams and considers a relationship altered by death. 

Grab My Hand: A Letter to my Dad
Directors: Camrus Johnson, Pedro Piccinini
Summary: In this retelling of his dad's relationship with his best friend, "Grab My Hand" is Camrus Johnson’s gift to his grieving father and a message to all to cherish every second you have with the ones you love while you still can.

In "Darkness in Tenement 45," a 16-year-old must figure out how to fight back against her aunt and feed those who are stuck inside with her.

Director: Christopher Lawerence
Summary: Set in the Virgin Islands, a young girl and her mother, experience one of the world’s most powerful hurricanes.

Director: Giovanna Lopalco
Summary: A group of men in white clothing walk a young woman in a strange procession. In this obscure landscape, a perpetual biological universe will transform her body.

There Were Four of Us
Director: Cassie Shao
Summary: In a room, there are four people.

Waters of March
Director: Elizabeth Lewis
Summary: Waters of March is the classic written by Tom Jobim and performed by jazz singer Stacey Kent. The delicately rendered animated drawings move at a rollicking pace transitioning back and forth from real to abstract images telling the ever changing story of loss and hope.

Documentary Short Films

Far Faint Lights
Director: Paolo Aguilar Boschetti
Summary: Tradition is tradition for the four elderly brothers of a small Spanish town that has long since been abandoned. They are helping each other survive in a ghost town. The brothers stick together for their ancestral home which has now become and ancestral town.

Into the Light
Director: Michael Volpe
Summary: Three British Forces veterans find peace and escape from PTSD through opera. Through music they are able to find escape and passion in this inspiring documentary.

Motorcycle Man
Director: Daniel Lovering
Summary: Dave Roper has become a hero in the world of motorcycle racing. After 48 years, we look at the life and accomplishments of a man who truly never slowed down.

"Microplastic Madness" is a documentary focusing on the harmful effects of microplastics.

The Tall Bike Joust
Director: Sam Frazier, Jr.
Summary: Every year a local bicycle shop puts on The Tall Bike Joust, an event just as insane as it sounds. Multiple contestants sit on top of high mounted bikes to joust each other in an effort to provide benefits for the at-risk kids in their town.

Las Vegas Bender
Director: Danny Corey
Summary: This is the story of Leticia Maldonaldo, a neon light bender from Las Vegas, who dreams of one day creating the lights on the Las Vegas Strip. Inspired by her performer mother and the town she grew up in, she will stop at nothing to reach her dreams.

Love Birds
Director: Ashley Mosher
Summary: A filmmaker discouraged by her marriage and life back home meets Noe and indigenous Amazonian painter who captures birds to paint them. Inspired by the life and passion Noe has, she begins to discover true belonging might be more  connected with nature than she once thought.

A Syrian Woman l Human Stories From Jordan
Directors: Louis Sayad DeCaprio, Khawla Al Hammouri
Summary: Years of conflict in Syria have left many women widowed and alone. Now refugees, many of the women end up in new countries like Jordan. 

Wax Paul Now
Directors: Val Bodurtha, Rebecca Shaw, Sophie Mann
Summary: Paul Giamatti is an Oscar nominated actor who has appeared in many famous films, however, he isn't in Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. Three women campaign to change that.

Midnight Shorts

Conspiracy Cruise
Director: Brad Abrahams
Summary: On a conspiracy theory-themed cruise, the host begins to question that whether the grand conspiracy is the lack of one at all. As tension rises and mysterious events start to go on in the background, the passengers of the cruise start to accuse the host of being in on all the conspiracies. 

The Helping Hand
Director: Brenden Hubbard
Summary: Parents have become too reliant on technology when raising children. When a new baby monitor begins speaking to their child, they are too oblivious to notice anything insidious occurring.

The History of Monsters
Director: Juan Pablo Arias Munoz
Summary: In a post apocalyptic world overrun by horrifying monsters, a women who has already dealt with abuse struggles to accept a new man into her house. Caught between desire for human touch and the distrust that has built up over the years, she must figure out a new approach.

Director: Alexander Black
Summary: Struggling every day against the forces of evil gives Detective Mark Kessler a reason to go on despite losing everything. Now that he is searching for a missing girl in the dark streets of London, he begins to realize his assumptions of evil in the world might be spot on.

Director: Carlyn Hudson
Summary: In a society that has become isolated, Kerry, the heiress to a waffle company, hires friends to attend sleepovers with. The friendships she purchases are never enough, and Kerry takes it into her own hands to create something "meaningful."

Narrative Shorts

Director: Brett Dameron
Summary: When two women move into the same house 101 years apart, their collective experiences are shared. As they both slip further into depression, their shared experiences bring them together in beautiful ways.

Ava In The End
Director: Ursula Ellis
Summary: After dying in a very embarrassing way, a woman wakes up thousands of years in the future to find she is the last human left. Brought back by artificial intelligence, Ava must come to grips with her new nightmare.

The Ball Method
Director: Dagmawi Abebe
Summary: Alice Ball, a 23 year-old African American chemist living in 1915 Hawaii, fights against racial and gender barriers to find an effective treatment for leprosy before Kalani, a 10-year-old patient, is exiled into the leper colony of Molokai.

"Ruth Weiss, The Beat Goddess" is a biopic that focuses on an under-appreciated female poet from the Beat generation.

Extra Sauce
Director: Alireza Ghasemi
Summary: Right before an actor is set to go on stage he dies by suicide. Now he talks with the angel of death over a meal about the events leading up to his death and a potential second chance.

I Only Miss You When I'm Breathing
Director: Ashley Wren Collins
Summary: Inspired by tragically true events, a husband and wife struggle with rejoining society after the devastating loss of their son to a school shooting.

No Traveler Returns
Director: Ellie Foumbi
Summary: A young African immigrant's experiences in America bring him to the edge of extremism. This film offers an intimate look into the pressures and fear that leads to violent acts.

The Reception
Director: Sean Peter Sakamoto
Summary: After a wedding for two men is attacked by a hateful militia, the fathers of the grooms are now bunkered underground. They discuss the lives of their sons and what could have been done to stop their deaths. 

Signal Problems
Director: Adam Volerich
Summary: Public transportation, especially subways, are notoriously unreliable. Watch as the voice actor for the subway tries and succeeds at making it even more confusing

The Artisan
Director: Adrian Cardenas
Summary: A year after his wife’s death, Daniel sees her impact on every place and face in his small Cuban community.

Director: Jeremy Merrifield
Summary: School can be tough and kids can be even cruel. Sam attempts to fly under the radar with both his sexuality and any attention he receives. This is all changed after he is beaten in a viral video and must decide if striking back is the right answer.

Friends Like That
Director: Francesca de Fusco
Summary: Familiarity and proximity reignite chemistry when Maia stays at an ex-girlfriend’s after a breakup.

He Left Instructions
Director: Zeke Farrow
Summary: After the loss of their brother, two estranged sisters show up to collect his belongings. What they find is his last instructions for them.

My Dinner with Werner
Director: Maverick Moore
Summary: Actor Klaus Kinski and Oscar Award-winning director Werner Herzog made movie after movie together until one day it stopped. Now Kinski will stop at nothing short of setting up a fake date for Werner to get his revenge in this comedic reimagining of actual events.

Director: Katherine Tolentino
Summary: After three years of living in America on her own, Chinese teenager Wendy Zhang is struggling. Her teachers don't care about her, her host family doesn't understand her and her own parents are too far away to help. When Wendy's new roommate moves in and starts outperforming her, Wendy's bitterness grows into rage.

Florida Shorts

¡Come! (eat)
Director: Lizette Barrera
Summary: A Latinx student yearns for homogeneity until an educator teaches her to embrace her cultural uniqueness.

All the Wrong Things
Director: Chelsea Gonzalez
Summary: Despite kind intentions, endearingly awkward Willy says literally all the wrong things when talking to Lucy, his crush.

Director: Parker Alexander Meyers
Summary: Can personality be programmed? Can chemistry be coded? Or, are feelings not born of biology less real?

Her Place
Director: Kathryn Parks
Summary: A modern couple’s reality is disparately narrated with the words of “The Good Wife’s Guide.”

Director: Joshwa Walton
Summary: “Immigrating”... “returning home”... Marco wonders if those he departs from just see him as “leaving.”

Pie Car
Director: Sage Hall
Summary: Filmed inside a historic Sarasota train car, “Pie Car” imagines the storied circus melodramas its walls would have once housed.

Director: Austin Gorski
Summary: Can a priest reconcile the requirements of confessional privilege with the demands of his conscious?

(You'll Make it in) Florida
Director: Phil Chernyak
Summary: When a magazine ad comes to life, a depressed English teacher and her dog embark on a wild ride through the wonders of the Sunshine State.


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