Women filmmakers and stars take the spotlight at the 19th Sarasota Film Festival, set to run March 31 – April 9 in the arts-heavy west Florida seaside town. Take Every Wave: The Life Of Laird Hamilton, the story of super-surfer Hamilton that debuted at Sundance, gives helmer Rory Kennedy (Last Days in Vietnam, Bobby Fischer Against The World) the opening night slot. Eleanor Coppola’s romantic comedy Paris Can Wait, with Diane Lane and Alec Baldwin, will be the closer.
Docu star helmer Barbara Kopple’s This Is Everything: Gigi Is Gorgeous, about a champion diver transitioning from male to female, will be among the centerpiece films, while Aisha Tyler’s (Archer, The Talk) Axis will compete in the Independent Visions section with her feature debut, shot entirely inside one car in Los Angeles and about Tristan (screenwriter Emmett Hughes) whose life is falling apart.
“This year’s festival is reflective of the power and strength women around the world showcase every day, and we couldn’t be happier,” said fest president Mark Famiglio. “To have iconic and talented women such as Diane Lane, Rory Kennedy, and Aisha Tyler attend the festival this year is a great honor.”
Director Kennedy will be honored with the UN Women Impact Award at the fest’s Tribute Luncheon on opening day. Lane will be presented with the Sarasota Film Festival Award for Cinematic Excellence and will also participate in SFF’s “In Conversation with…” series on Saturday, April 8th at the Florida Studio Theatre. Also participating in the festival’s “In Conversation with…” series is Tyler, whose Axis marks her feature-length directorial debut.
The Centerpiece section also will feature Michael Almereyda’s Marjorie Prime, based on Jordan Harrison’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated play of the same name and starring Jon Hamm, Geena Davis, Lois Smith and Tim Robbins. The festival will also be holding a special screening of Jill Campbell’s Mr. Chibbs, a documentary about the life of former NBA star Kenny Anderson.