After last year’s virtual offerings, the Sarasota Film Festival will return with a hybrid format that includes more than three dozen in-person screenings and a street party during its 10-day run starting Friday April 30th.
It’s a good feeling for the President of the Sarasota Film Festival, Mark Famiglio, who worked with his staff to plan the event during the pandemic. He is very excited to be working with local filmmakers and having personal films again.
“I am deeply hopeful,” he said. “There are some great things to see and discuss with your fellow citizens. There is nothing like sitting in a theater for human experiences and conversations.”
The conversation begins on April 30 with a screening of “Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Chose,” the opening documentary about the journey of the actress and performer with a rare EGOT status: she won an Emmy, Grammy , Oscar and Tony Award. Famiglio said Moreno had attended the festival in the past and her story would go well with the festival’s start.
“Rita Moreno: Just a girl who chose it”, the horror special “Centigrade”, the graduation film “Dream Horse” and around a quarter of the over 130 films at the festival will be shown in person in the CMX CinéBistro Siesta Key Theater. Famiglio said a selection of personal films were chosen to appeal to a wide audience.
“We wanted things that we thought would be of more interest,” he said. “We have selectively curated films that we found provocative and then we try to pick other films that convey those kinds of thoughts and conclusions. The opening and closing films are more family-oriented.”
The festival has had a number of in-person parties and events in the past, attended by all types of actors, directors and creatives. While this isn’t entirely feasible in 2021, the festival will still have a street party in downtown Sarasota on May 7th. It’s a slower but calming return to normal that leaves Famiglio optimistic about the future.
“It’s not like the years before and it’s not like the years to come,” said Famiglio. “We switch … we do what each art group tries.”