By twhalliii | THE BACK ROW MANIFESTO by Tom Hall February 15, 2005 at 4:52AM
Ah, the nomadic life of the film festival set...
The Sarasota Film Festival wrapped on February 6th, and I am very proud of the work that was completed at the festival. It was my first year in Sarasota, and it is clear by the low-key coverage in the trades and the industry sheets that we have a long way to go to create a more visible event. That said, those who made the trip to Sarasota-- filmmakers, artists, members of the film industry-- all came away more than satisfied. The parties and rock shows all came off without a hitch, and the festival throws such spectacular events, it is not hard to understand why they have been the cornerstone of fundraising for the Festival... the Sarasota community loves to have a good time. But the most powerful piece of the festival, for me anyway, was the film program.
As the Programming Director, my job was to raise the bar for the films at the festival and create a program that addresses the broader concerns of the Sarasota community. In that regard, I think the festival was a huge success and that Sarasota is a festival to be reckoned with in the future. We had a great line-up, with films ranging from one of my favorite films of this or any year, Kings and Queen, to Condemned, a powerful local film about housing conditions in Sarasota's Janie Poe projects (Yes, Sarasota has projects). I was so proud to see that the films engaged the community, and I think we have built a strong foundation for next year's program, which I hope will be even more challenging. Keep your eyes peeled for possible acquisitions from this festival as well-- there is some interest in a few of our titles.
I know this is all a bit self-serving, but I want to spread the word on this festival and generate some real interest for next year, because if the industry embraces this festival, we could create an outstanding regional festival that is the envy of the industry by being serious about cinema as well as having fun. At least someone thinks so.
It is good to be home in Brooklyn. When I arrived, J had a little present for me (or a not so little present), one that is so perfect, it is ineffable... I collect movie posters, mostly recent French films, and My Sex Life... is one of my all time favorite films... It's the best present ever.
Of course, I need to get over to the Film Forum to see Masculine Feminine. As always, it is important to me to go to the Film Forum, my way of feeling "home" again, my reconnection with the city. I am very much looking forward to feeling well enough to go... maybe tomorrow?
I also am behind in my Oscar viewing. The dirty little secret about working at a film festival is, once the program gets rolling, you have no time to keep up with the current film line-up. So, I still need to see The Aviator and Million Dollar Baby this week as well.
So. Apologies for the long delay in writing to the blog. The festivals tend to eat up so much time, it is almost impossible to think creatively about film. I am now back in Brooklyn and getting settled in. Despite my heavy case of the flu, I am ready to get cracking on programming the Nantucket Film Festival... Lots of films I am interested in bringing in, and lots to do.
More very soon.