Sarasota, FL (April 9, 2021) – The Sarasota Film Festival (SFF) announced today Roadside Pictures’ documentary RITA MORENO: JUST A GIRL WHO DECIDED TO GO FOR IT as the festival’s Opening Night Film on April 30, 2021. Bleecker Street’s DREAM HORSE be featured as the festival’s Closing Night Film starring Academy Award® nominee and Emmy Award® winner Toni Collette (KNIVES OUT, THE SIXTH SENSE) and Emmy Award® winner Damian Lewis (ONCE UPON A TIME … IN HOLLYWOOD, TV’s BILLIONS, HOMELAND) on May 8, 2021. The festival will also screen IFC’s film CENTIGRADE as a Midnight Horror Special starring Vincent Piazza (JERSEY BOYS, BOARDWALK EMPIRE) now available on Hulu.
Additionally it was announced that filmmakers James Reed and Pippa Ehrlich, who directed MY OCTOPUS TEACHER, now streaming on Netflix and nominated for Best Documentary Feature at this year’s Academy Awards, will receive the Excellence in Documentary Filmmaking Award this year. The film documents filmmaker Craig Foster as he forges an unusual friendship with an octopus living in a South African kelp forest, learning as the animal shares the mysteries of her world. The film will play as the festival’s Centerpiece and Reed and Ehrlich will participate in the festival’s popular “In Conversation With…” series.
RITA MORENO: JUST A GIRL WHO DECIDED TO GO FOR IT, directed by Mariem Pérez Riera’s, examines legendary performer Rita Moreno’s career from her upbringing in Puerto Rico to her success on Broadway and in Hollywood. Bleecker Street’s DREAM HORSE, tells the true story of Jan Vokes, a Welsh cleaner and bartender, who decides to breed and rear a race horse, directed by Euros Lyn (TV’s DOCTOR WHO, DAREDEVIL). In Brendan Walsh’s CENTIGRADE, a married couple fights for survival, trapped inside a frozen car following a blizzard.
“With the arts playing a more influential role in today’s society now more than ever, we are thrilled to program such engaging and intriguing films that are sure to delight our audiences,” said Mark Famiglio, Chairman and President of the Sarasota Film Festival. “We are excited to honor James Reed and Pippa Ehrlich with this year’s Excellence in Documentary Filmmaking Award, and applaud their work with the Academy Award-nominated MY OCTOPUS TEACHER whose maritime themes and messages are important to the Sarasota community.”
The 23rd annual Sarasota Film Festival, which will take place from April 30th to May 9th with virtual and in-person events, greatly appreciates the support of its corporate sponsors, including The Famiglio Family, Sack Family, Wallack Family Fund, Amicus Foundation, CMX Cinemas, Embassy Suites by Hilton, Stella Artois, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, WSLR, Netwurx, Jewish Federation, Family Beautiful, Sarasota Scene Magazine, Intermedia Productions, Sande Caplin & Associates, SMAA, iHeart Media, SarasotaOUT, Top 10 Sarasota, SNN, and METV. The festival is sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture as well as the Sarasota County Tourism Development Tax Revenues.
This year the Sarasota Film Festival will be presented in a hybrid format featuring outdoor, public as well as virtual screenings and events including the popular live Q&A’s and conversations. After popular demand during the 2020 edition, the festival will continue its presentation of programming in various formats for local and national audiences. Tickets for the festival will go on sale beginning Thursday, April 15, 2021. Additional programming announcements will be made in the coming weeks.