The folks in charge of the 23rd Sarasota Film Festival (SFF) did a terrific job pulling off another marvelous event. The hybrid approach to their programming – with screenings offered both in theaters and virtually – led to a comfortable first step back to normalcy. Centered around a community who is clearly heavily invested in the arts, the people in this tropical paradise have made their annual festivity one worth making the trip to attend.
Following their gala, SFF announces winners in six genres of film. I had the privilege of being on the jury for the Narrative Feature category. You can read my full recap of films in competition for that prize here. You can also read my review for the Closing Night Film, Dream Horse, here. I was fortunate enough to present the film to the Sarasota audience, and my interview with director Euros Lyn followed the screening.
Just as they did when I attended in 2019, SFF provided a wonderful experience once more. This is a burgeoning film festival that I would recommend to anyone.
Winners: Best Summer Ever won the Narrative Competition Prize; Chasing Childhood won the Documentary Prize; Harana won the US Narrative Short Competition Prize; The Departure won the International Short Competition Prize; One All the Way won the Documentary Short Competition Prize; Strawberry Mansion won the Independent Vision Award.
Special Jury Prizes were also awarded to Blueberry and Through the Night.
SFF also presented the Terry Porter Visionary Award presented by The Husking Foundation went to A Kaddish for Bernie Madoff.
Additionally, East of Middle West won the Audience Award for Feature Film and Desert Heart was given the Audience Award for Short Film.