The Cinematic Event of the Year in Sarasota, Florida???

By tully | "Boredom at Its Boredest" by Michael Tully March 12, 2009 at 11:21AM

The Cinematic Event of the Year in Sarasota, Florida???

I just got back from the press launch of the 2009 Sarasota Film Festival, where I'm not sure people understood the incredible news that was delivered unto them. For filmmakers, this year's new competitions are very exciting: first look distribution deals with notable companies Film Movement (narrative) and First Run Features (documentary). And while that's all well and cool, this year's main retrospective has me buzzing with anticipation. I'd rather just quote the press release:

Being Hal Ashby: Mind of A Hollywood Rebel — One of the brightest lights of American cinema in the 1970’s, Hal Ashby is remembered for producing an unprecedented collection of films that defined a generation. Born in Ogden, Utah in 1929, Ashby followed his dream to California where, as a young man, he learned the craft of film editing, culminating in an Oscar for Film Editing in 1967 for his work on Norman Jewison’s classic In The Heat Of The Night. Soon after, with Jewison’s encouragement, Ashby made his directorial debut with the 1970 film The Landlord, starring Beau Bridges. Before his tragic and untimely death in 1988, Ashby went on to make over a dozen films of remarkable diversity, warmth and grace.

Ashby’s influence on the cinema has been profound, inspiring generations of filmmakers and artists who continue to shape the future of the movies. It is with tremendous pleasure that we honor the late Hal Ashby with a program featuring a retrospective of the director’s most important work, including the World Premiere of a never-before-seen Director’s Cut of the film Lookin’ To Get Out, presented in a newly re-mastered Hi-Definition print, and an evening’s salute to the Ashby’s life and career featuring some of the Director’s most important collaborators at our Tribute event on Saturday, April 4, 2009 at The Sarasota Opera House.

Among Hal Ashby’s films that will be screened throughout the 2009 SFF are: Harold And Maude; Shampoo; The Last Detail; The Slugger’s Wife; Bound For Glory; The Landlord; Lookin’ To Get Out; Coming Home and Being There.

The Festival is also proud to partner with author Nick Dawson on the launch of his new biography, Being Hal Ashby: Life Of A Hollywood Rebel. Mr. Dawson will be on hand to sign copies of his book and will be our moderator for the Tribute.

There's too much good stuff to mention, and I'm about to hop on a plane to Austin, but for anyone who appreciates movies, hurry up and book your tickets now. The Ashby tribute on Saturday, April 4th, should be especially great (Jewison, Jon Voight, David Carradine, Illeana Douglas, Ashby's daughter, and more). Much, much more on this to come.

While I'm looking forward to getting to Austin—Best Worst Movie/Troll 2 double-feature, here I come!!!—I find it hard to contain my excitement for this year's SFF. March 27th through April 5th. See you there...