On Thursday March 9, about 400 press and guests gathered at the gorgeous The Long Boat Key Club and Resort here in Sarasota, FL for the announcement of our 2006 Sarasota Film Festival lineup. As I mentioned before, the city loves its film festival; Friday's newspapers had us above the fold on Page 1, and the local excitement has been palpable since we announced. Why, you ask? Well. This year's line up of films and talent is really pretty exciting, if I do say so myself; there is something for everyone, and I am really proud of what we've accomplished. What's that, you say? 185 films, 105 features from 19 countries with 35 premieres of one sort or another. And you wondered why I haven't been religious with the blogging... The Back Row Manifesto proudly presents the films and programs of the 2006 Sarasota Film Festival.
First and foremost, in a program of truly exciting screenings and events, I am really most excited to talk about Werner Herzog. This year, Werner Herzog will attend the Sarasota Film Festival and pick up our World Cinema Master Award at our World Cinema Celebration on April 5th. In addition, we will also be hosting An Evening With Werner Herzog, where Werner will screen his classic film Little Dieter Needs To Fly and we will take a (first time ever!) sneak peek at scenes from his upcoming fiction film, Rescue Dawn (which was based on Little Dieter). The highlight for me has been putting together a 14 film retrospective of Werner's non-fiction films, a project I have been working on for months and months.
MAN AGAINST NATURE: THE NON-FICTION FILMS OF WERNER HERZOG
No artist has represented the powerful conflict between mankind and the natural world with more insight and daring than Werner Herzog. As part of our salute to Mr. Herzog’s career, the Sarasota Film Festival is honored to present an extensive retrospective of his non-fiction filmmaking.
Echoes From A Sombre Empire (1990)
Fata Morgana (1970)
The Great Ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner (1974)
Grizzly Man (2005)
How Much Wood Would a Woodchuck Chuck (1976)
La Soufrière (1977)
Land of Silence and Darkness (1971)
Lessons of Darkness (1992)
Little Dieter Needs To Fly (1997)
My Best Fiend (1999)
Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe(1980, Directed by Les Blank)
Wheel of Time (2003)
The White Diamond (2004)
The Wild Blue Yonder (2005)
Werner Herzog will receive the 2006 World Cinema Master Award
For the second year, we're featuring three competitions; Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary Feature, and Independent Visions Competition. I think we have some great films in this line-up, and I am hopeful that we can properly honor celebrate this tremendous work at our festival.
Best Narrative Feature Competition
Beowulf & Grendel
Director: Sturla Gunnarsson
The Death of Mr. Lazarescu
Director: Cristi Puiu
Director: Hiner Saleem
Director: Abel Ferrara
Director: Kelly Reichardt
Director: Cate Shortland
Twelve and Holding
Director: Michael Cuesta
Best Documentary Feature
51 Birch Street
Director: Doug Block
Director: Ian Inaba
Director: Gary Tarn
Clear Cut: The Story of Philomath, OR
Director: Peter Richardson
Huldufólk 102 (World Premiere)
Director: Nisha Inalsingh
Director: John Hyams
Dir: Steven Cantor
Independent Visions Competition
Director: Michael Tully
Director: Erica Dunton
The Guatemalan Handshake
Director: Todd Rohal
Our Very Own
Director: Cameron Watson
Director: Ali Selim
Director: Robert Connolly
Wild Tigers I Have Known
Director: Cam Archer
This year, the festival is Opening with the East Coast premiere of Leslie Greif's Funny Money which stars Chevy Chase in a performance that should re-establish him as one of America's top funnymen, Penelope Ann Miller, Christopher McDonald and many more. Chevy Chase, Penelope Ann Miller, and Christopher McDonald will all be attending the screening at The Van Wezel Performing Arts Center for 1,736 film goers and the after party for about 1,000 or so, held in the gorgeous palazzo of the Ringling Museum Of Art on March 31st. In addition, I just found out that Gene Simmons of KISS will be bringing his crew from the A&E reality show Family Jewels to the Opening Night party, and as a Michigan boy, I have already put in my request for Detroit Rock City. It is going to be a fun evening.
Chevy Chase and Penelope Ann Miller in Funny Money
This year is the first year the Sarasota FF has ever had a Closing Night Film! In previous years, when the fest was scheduled in late January/early February, we always had to compete with the Super Bowl (a huge bummer). Now, with our new dates, we are thrilled to be announce that we will be hosting the East Coast Premiere of Robert Altman's A Prairie Home Companion. I can't divulge who is attending the screening quite yet, but let me just say that if all of our i's get dotted and t's crossed in the coming few days, there will be a big announcement on this front (fingers crossed). Regardless, a tremendous movie and I am so excited to share it with our community. I am not only a huge Robert Altman fan, but I love Garrison Keillor's radio program as well. What would Sunday be without This American Life and A Prairie Home Companion? Public radio is HOT!
Garrison Keillor, Meryl Streep, and Lindsay Lohan in A Prairie Home Companion
The Regal Cinemas Filmmakers Tribute, April 8th, 2006
The Regal Cinemas Filmmakers Tribute dinner is our festival's big gala; 850 people enjoy a four course meal at the Long Boat Key Club. This year, we have an amazing line-up of honorees, all of whom we are thrilled to have as our guests. This year's Filmmaker's Tributees are:
Ms. Paula Wagner receiving our 2006 Excellence in Producing Award
Ms. Felicity Huffman receiving our 2006 Breakthrough Performer Award
Mr. Robert Towne receiving our 2006 Filmmaker Award
Mr. William H Macy receiving our 2006 Career Achievement Award
and we may be annoucing more in the coming days. We're deeply honored these amazing artists will be joining us for what should be a powerhouse night. I have to say, Robert Towne is one of my all-time heroes, and I can't believe I get to host both he and Werner Herzog in the same festival. But William H Macy and Felicity Huffman, and Paula Wagner? Sort of unreal to me.
Robert Towne, William H Macy, Felicity Huffman, Paula Wagner
Saturday night features two events, as the Tribute Dinner followed by our Late Night Wrap party, which this year features a Mission Impossible 3 theme and will feature a live performance by Brazilian Girls (whose debut record has basically been the soundtrack of the SFF offices for the past three months).
Speaking of music, we are bringing back the Independent Visions celebration this year. After last year's three show juggernaut, this year, we're celebrating Queer Cinema with the U.S. Festival premiere of Lesli Klainberg and Lisa Ades' Fabulous! The Story of Queer Cinema, Alex Hinton's history of queer hip hop Pick Up The Mic with a performance by punk rock drag cabaret superstars Kiki and Herb and rappers Aggracyst, JenRo, Juba Kalamka, Katastrophe from Pick Up The Mic. It all takes place on Thursday April 6th.
Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid: Kiki and Herb
There are so many other things to talk about. We're showing the amazing A Lion In The House twice, and donating 50% of all proceeds to filmmaker Julia Reichert and the other 50% to the Sarasota Wellness Community, a local charity that benefits cancer patients. I am hopeful we can raise some serious cash for both.
In addition, we have a cool SFF Classics program this year, including new 35mm prints of Spirit of The Beehive and Black Orpheus (if you can't get to the Film Forum, bring the Film Forum to you!), as well as a screening of William A. Seiter's Skinner's Dress Suit from 1926, the first movie ever shown in Sarasota.
And on and on and on... I'll post more as we draw closer. I am really excited. I know this may be the longest post ever, but with SXSW going on, it is tough to get the word out there. Might as well DIY, no? Full list of films below. I hope that you can join us this year for some Sun, Cinema, and Celebration!
The films: 51 Birch Street Abel Raises Cain The Aluminum Fowl The Amateurs American Blackout Anamnesis Andrew Jenks Room 335 Anna und der Soldat Apologist Arnie the Doughnut Armonia Art School Confidential Asylum Before The Music Dies Beowulf and Grendel Bing Can Sing The Bituminous Coal Queens of Pennsylvania Black Orpheus Black Sun Blame Falls Boxed Boynton Beach Club The Bridesmaid Bright Lights Carhenge: Genius or Junk? Causa Noble, Una Celamy Christy Rd Cigarettes and Fresh Air City of Mermaids Clear Cut: The Story of Philomath, OR Cocaine Angel A Cold Day for Johnson The Conventioneers Dammi Il La The Day the World Saved Shane Sawyer Dealbreaker The Death of Mr. Lazarescu District B13 Down In The Valley The Dreaded Beard Ears,Open. Eyeballs, Click. Echoes From A Somber Empire Edmond Elles Ètaient Cinq Ellington Was Not a Street The Empire In Africa Fabulous! The Story of Queer Cinema Fata Morgana The Filchak’s Take a Gamble Find Love Five Minutes, Mr. Welles The Flooded Playground Free Lunch From Philadelphia to the Front Funny Money Gabrielle Give ‘Em Belle! Gran Salto, El The Great Ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner Grizzly Man The Guatemalan Handshake Hansel and Gretel Hello, Thanks Hibernation The Hidden Blade Historia de Invierno, Una Hold Up The Hole Story The Holy Modal Rounders: Bound To Lose Hoot How Much Wood Would a Woodchuck Chuck How’s My Driving Huldufólk 102 Hung I Was a Dancer The Intruder Iron Island Ish Johnny Berlin Journey To Justice Juxtaposer Kiki and Herb Reloaded Kilometre Zero The King Kinky Boots KZ La Soufrière Lady and The Tramp Lady Vengeance Land of Silence and Darkness Lessons of Darkness Life A Life to Live A Lion In The House Little Dieter Needs To Fly Lonesome Jim Look Both Ways Lucid Lucky Number Slevin Lyra Lezama The Man Who Walked Between the Towers The Mantis Parable Mary Memory for Max, Claire, Ida and Company Mongolian Ping Pong Mr. Malikai Battles the Airplane Muerte Es Pequeña, La Mute My Backyard Was a Mountain My Best Fiend My Dad is 100 Years Old My Suicidal Sweetheart Neo Ned La Neuvaine No Vacancy Note Of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin The Notorious Bettie Page November Guest Old Joy One Sung Hero Only Human O-Nu-Ri Our Very Own Passive Smoker The Peace Tree A Perfect Couple The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes Pick Up The Mic A Prairie Home Companion Prom Date Purvis of Overtown Puzzlehead Range Rank Roberto the Insect Architect Robots Are Blue The Rope Runaway Skinner's Dress Suit Slow Time Solidarity Somebodies Somersault The Sonnets Special People Spirit of the Beehive Stars! Stars! Stars! Stomp! Shout! Scream! Sweet Land Syd Solomon: the Man, the Artist Tanzmäuse Tears in the Rain The Ten Steps Tes Cheveux Noirs Ihsan Three Dollars Tina Barney: Social Studies ‘Tis Autumn: The Search For Jackie Paris Transamerica Troop 1500 Twelve and Holding Twitch Two Harbors The Unseen Kind-Hearted Beast Up on the Rope Vers le Sud The Virgin of Juarez Volare Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe Westbound/Eastbound What Are the Odds? What Remains The Wheel Of Time The White Diamond Who Gets To Call It Art? Who’s the Top? Why Shakespeare? Wild About Books The Wild Blue Yonder Wild Tigers I Have Known Winter Sea Word Play Wrestling With Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner Wristcutters: A Love Story You’re Gonna Miss Me