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Sarasota Film Festival’s 2024 Lineup Includes Sundance Favorites and Steve Buscemi’s ‘The Listener’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Steve Buscemi’s “The Listener” is heading to the Sarasota Film Festival.

The 26th edition of the Florida fest will feature live and in-person screenings and events that will take place across Sarasota beginning on April 5. The 10-day fest will feature 23 narrative features, 41 documentary features and 81 short films.

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Buscemi will be in Sarasota to participate in a Q&A following the screening of “The Listener,” which will serve as the closing night film. About a crisis hotline worker enduring the pressures of her job, the film starring Tessa Thompson made its world premiere at Venice Film Festival in 2022.

Lynn Dow’s “Bull Street,” starring Loretta Devine and Amy Madigan, will open the fest on April 5. The drama centers on a South Carolina small-town lawyer (Malynda Hale) as she faces local politics and an unwavering judge (Madigan) when her estranged father’s family tries to evict her and her grandmother (Devine) from her home.

Jeff Dupre’s documentary “This Is a Film About the Black Keys,” which examines the story of musicians Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney’s journey from a basement jamming session in Akron, Ohio, to rock ’n’ roll super-stardom, will make its Florida debut as the festival’s centerpiece film on April 12. The film made its world premiere earlier this month at the South by Southwest Film Festival.

The fest’s narrative centerpiece screenings include the April 12 East Coast premiere of Warren Skeels’ thriller “The Man in the White Van,” and the April 13 Florida premiere of Ethan Berger’s “The Line,” a thriller exploring the moral ambiguity of loyalty to tradition. “The Line” stars Austin Abrams, a Sarasota-native who will attend the festival and receive SFF’s Rising Star Award. Abrams credits including HBO’s “Euphoria,” Netflix’s “Do Revenge” and Amazon Studios’ “Chemical Hearts.” His next role is opposite George Clooney and Brad Pitt in the Jon Watts’ upcoming movie “Wolfs.”

“It is incredibly special that we also have the opportunity to honor a young talent in Austin Abrams — whose work has spanned prestige television to independent film — and to welcome him back to the
community that helped launch his passion for the arts,” says Sarasota Film Festival chairman and board president Mark Famiglio. “We are proud to continue supporting film education, and to help spur creative output and tourism in the greater Sarasota area through the festival’s partnerships this year with Ringling College of Art and Design, Art Advocates, and many other local institutions.”

Fest’s spotlight presentations include Sundance documentaries Natalie Rae and Angela Patton’s “Daughters” and Dawn Porter’s “Luther: Never Too Much,” as well as DOC NYC films Jeff Zimbalist’s “How to Come Alive With Norman Mailer,” and Stephen Soucy’s “Merchant Ivory.” Also
included in the spotlight presentations is Noah Pritzker’s narrative comedy “Ex-Husbands” about a middle-aged man overwhelmed by his pending divorce and the declining health of his father, which stars Griffin Dunne and Roseanne Arquette.

The narrative feature competition will showcase Mohamed Kordofani’s “Goodbye Julia,” Monia Chokri’s “The Nature of Love,” Olmo Schnabel’s “Pet Shop Days,” Pascal Plante’s “Red Rooms,” and Josh Margolin’s “Thelma.”

The documentary feature competition include Brian J. Smith’s “A House Is Not a Disco,” Liam Jordan’s “Into the Spotlight: The Jake Ilardi Story,” Brendan Bellomo and Slava Leontyev’s “Porcelain War,” Margreth Olin’s “Songs of Earth” and Emily Kassie and Julian Brave NoiseCat’s “Sugarcane.”

This year’s festival will also feature a new partnership with USA Swimming, formed in conjunction with the Open Water National Championships taking place May 3-5 at Sarasota’s Nathan Benderson Park. SFF will welcome athletes and representatives from USA Swimming at this year’s edition to receive a donation directly supporting the USA Swimming Foundation, which aims to provide the opportunity for every person in the US to learn to swim.

SFF will feature 13 programs of short narrative and documentary films.

Tickets for the festival will be available for purchase beginning March 22 online and in-person.

2024 Sarasota Film Festival Lineup:

OPENING NIGHT FILM

BULL STREET
East Coast Premiere
dir. Lynn Dow (USA), 2024
In this stirring drama, a South Carolina small-town lawyer (Malynda
Hale) faces local politics, an unwavering judge (Amy Madigan) and the
town’s past in the battle of her life when her estranged father’s
family tries to evict her and her grandmother (Loretta Devine) from
the only home she has ever known.

CLOSING NIGHT FILM
THE LISTENER
Florida Premiere
dir. Steve Buscemi (USA), 2022
In this stirring testament to the power of empathy, Tessa Thompson (in
a masterful performance) plays a crisis hotline worker enduring the
pressures of her job in this new film from director Steve Buscemi.

NARRATIVE CENTERPIECE FILMS

THE LINE
Florida Premiere
dir. Ethan Berger (USA), 2023
This chilling, nuanced thriller explores the moral ambiguity of
loyalty to tradition, as seen through a college sophomore in the
throes of fraternity culture. Featuring Sarasota native Austin Abrams.

THE MAN IN THE WHITE VAN
East Coast Premiere
dir. Warren Skeels (USA), 2024
Inspired by a true story, The Man in the White Van dives into the
eerie underbelly of a seemingly idyllic 1974 Florida town and follows
the harrowing experience of young Annie Williams, whose carefree
existence is turned upside down as she becomes stalked by an ominous
man in a white van.

DOCUMENTARY CENTERPIECE FILM

THIS IS A FILM ABOUT THE BLACK KEYS
East Coast Premiere
dir. Jeff Dupre (USA), 2024
The story of Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney’s journey from a basement
jamming session in Akron, Ohio to rock ’n’ roll super-stardom.
*Please note this film is also screening in the Music Focus Sidebar.

SPOTLIGHT FEATURES

DAUGHTERS
dir. Natalie Rae and Angela Patton (USA), 2024
Four young girls prepare for a special Daddy Daughter Dance with their
incarcerated fathers, as part of a unique fatherhood program in a
Washington, D.C., jail.

EX-HUSBANDS
dir. Noah Pritzker (USA), 2023
This poignant comedy follows a middle aged man overwhelmed by his
pending divorce and the declining health of his father, who plans a
getaway to Tulum, insistent he knows nothing of his son’s plans to be
there at the same time for a bachelor party.

HOW TO COME ALIVE WITH NORMAN MAILER
Florida Premiere
dir. Jeff Zimbalist (USA), 2023
The life and times of an American icon, from his formative years in
Brooklyn through his career as a preeminent cultural voice.
*Please note this film is also screening in the Jewish Focus Sidebar.

LIV ULLMANN: A ROAD LESS TRAVELED
dir. Dheeraj Akolkar (USA), 2023
A delightful, engaging portrait of one our greatest actresses,
brimming with intimate memories and profound reflections on her hopes,
fears, grief, rejections, dreams pursued, and lessons learned.
*Please note this film is also screening in the Arts Sidebar.

LUTHER: NEVER TOO MUCH
Florida Premiere
dir. Dawn Porter (USA), 2024
Luther Vandross started his career supporting David Bowie, Roberta
Flack, Bette Midler, and more. His undeniable talent earned platinum
records and accolades, but he struggled to break out beyond the R&B
charts. Intensely driven, he overcame personal and professional
challenges to secure his place amongst the greatest vocalists in
history.
*Please note this film is also screening in the African-American & The
African Diaspora and Music Focus Sidebars.

MERCHANT IVORY
dir. Stephen Soucy (USA), 2023
The story behind the longest running partnership in the history of
cinema that has produced such classics as Howard’s End, A Room with a
View and The Remains of the Day.
*Please note this film is also screening in the Arts and LGBTQ+ Focus Sidebars.

TAKING VENICE
dir. Amei Wallach (USA), 2023
This fun caper movie explores the true story behind the rumors that,
at the height of the Cold War, the U.S. government rigged the most
influential art exhibition, the Venice Biennale, so that their chosen
artist, Robert Rauschenberg, could win the festival’s Grand Prize.
Told with an extraordinary cast of experts and insiders from the art
world with extensive archival footage.
*Please note this film is also screening in the Directed by Women and
Arts Sidebars.

NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITION

GOODBYE JULIA
dir. Mohamed Kordofani (Sudan), 2023
Amid the social and political upheaval of Sudan in 2005, two women’s
disparate lives become unexpectedly entangled in tragedy, friendship
and lies in this moving tale.
*Please note this film is also screening in the African-American & The
African Diaspora Sidebar.

THE NATURE OF LOVE
Florida Premiere
dir. Monia Chokri (Canada, France), 2023
A sexy, witty romcom examining romantic passion in a real-world environment that follows philosophy lecturer Sophia’s happily intellectual life disrupted when she meets a rugged building contractor.
*Please note this film is also screening in the Directed by Women Sidebar.

PET SHOP DAYS
Florida Premiere
dir. Olmo Schnabel (USA), 2023
A riveting portrait of lost young men in search of connection whose activities drag them into a dead-end world of passion, drugs and depravity in the backstreets of New York City.
*Please note this film is also screening in the LGBTQ+ Focus Sidebar.

RED ROOMS
dir. Pascal Plante (Canada), 2023
Kelly-Anne is riveted by a high profile case of a serial killer. When reality blurs with her morbid fantasies, she goes down a wicked path to seek the final piece of the case’s puzzle in this wonderfully creepy tale of the dark web and over-the-top obsession.

THELMA
dir. Josh Margolin (USA), 2024
When 93-year-old Thelma Post (June Squibb) gets duped by a phone scammer pretending to be her grandson, she sets out on a treacherous quest across the city to reclaim what was taken from her. A thrilling and delightful story exploring aging, family and autonomy.
*Please note this film is also screening in the Jewish Focus Sidebar.

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE COMPETITION

A HOUSE IS NOT A DISCO
Florida Premiere
dir. Brian J. Smith (USA), 2024
An intimate and humorous film that peers into one of the world’s only “homo-normative” communities, the island “paradise” of Fire Island Pines, told through home video, archival footage, and eccentric character portraits of the vibrant present.
*Please note this film is also screening in the LGBTQ+ Focus Sidebar.

INTO THE SPOTLIGHT: THE JAKE ILARDI STORY
World Premiere
dir. Liam Jordan (USA), 2022
An action-packed look at the highs, lows, and injuries Osprey’s Jake Ilardi endures on his journey to the US Olympic Skateboard team, and his mission within his local community to keep their skatepark operational and free to the public.
*Please note this film is also screening in the Sports Focus sidebar.

PORCELAIN WAR
Florida Premiere
dir. Brendan Bellomo & Slava Leontyev (USA, Ukraine), 2024
Amidst the chaos and destruction of the brutal Russian invasion of Ukraine, three artists defiantly find inspiration and beauty as they defend their culture and their country in this Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner.
*Please note this film is also screening in the Arts Sidebar.

SONGS OF EARTH
Florida Premiere
dir. Margreth Olin (Norway), 2023
A majestic symphony of stunning beauty for the big screen. With director Margreth Olin’s 85-year-old father as a guide, we experience Norway’s most scenic valley, Oldedalen in Nordfjord.
*Please note this film is also screening in the Directed by Women Sidebar.

SUGARCANE
dir. Emily Kassie, Julian Brave & NoiseCat (USA, Canada), 2024
This Sundance award winner is a gripping investigation where unmarked graves at an Indian residential school unearth secrets below and above ground, igniting a reckoning in the lives of survivors and their descendants (including the film’s co-director).
*Please note this film is also screening in the Directed by Women Sidebar.

INDEPENDENT VISIONS FEATURE COMPETITION

ART THIEF
dir. Arthur Egeli (USA), 2023
After stealing a painting from a local museum, a passionate-but-untalented artist is thrust into the midst of the biggest art theft in modern history. Inspired by true events.
*Please note this film is also screening in the Arts Sidebar.

BLOOM
East Coast Premiere
dir. Mark Totte (USA), 2023
The touching story of an Indiana woman in her late sixties who embarks on a road trip across America, wandering through towns, memories and reckoning with her past.

CURRY SCENT
World Premiere
dir. Christa Boarini (USA), 2024
A refreshing tale about a Bradenton-based Indian immigrant family desperately grasping for the American Dream by trying to find their daughter, Geetha, a wealthy match before their visas run out.
*Please note this film is also screening in the Directed by Women Sidebar.

GOOD BAD THINGS
dir. Shane D. Stanger (USA), 2024
A young man with muscular dystrophy steps out of his comfort zone and into the world of online dating. An unexpected match challenges him to be vulnerable and sparks a profound journey of self-acceptance.

PUDDYSTICKS
East Coast Premiere
dir. Megan Seely (USA), 2024
A joyously twisted comedy that follows anxious videogame designer Liz’s therapeutic odyssey into a secret society of adults who play like they are little kids.
*Please note this film is also screening in the Directed by Women Sidebar.

NARRATIVE FEATURES

CHUCK CHUCK BABY
Florida Premiere
dir. Janis Pugh (United Kingdom), 2023
Helen’s humdrum world takes a surprisingly interesting romantic turn with the return of her charismatic childhood friend Joanne. This is the musical rom-com set in a Welsh chicken processing plant you never knew you needed.
*Please note this film is also screening in the Directed by Women and
LGBTQ+ Focus Sidebars.

CLOWNS LIKE ME
dir. Jason Cannon (USA), 2023
A humorous, poignant, and profound examination of the stigmas attached to developmental disorders and mental illnesses, offering hope to anyone on a journey to achieve mental wellness.

THE FEELING THAT THE TIME FOR DOING SOMETHING HAS PASSED
Florida Premiere
dir. Joanna Arnow (USA), 2023
A mosaic-style comedy following the life of a woman as time passes in her long-term casual BDSM relationship, low-level corporate job, and quarrelsome Jewish family.
*Please note this film is also screening in the Jewish Focus Sidebar.

GREEN BORDER
Florida Premiere
dir. Agnieszka Holland (USA), 2023
A harrowing story set on the border of Poland and Belarus that offers a glimpse into the lives of refugees fleeing to the European Union and the humanitarian activists working to help them reach safety.
*Please note this film is also screening in the Directed by Women Sidebar.

HELLBENT ON BOOGIE
World Premiere
dir. Vito Trupiano (USA), 2023
In this tender, humorous Florida-set drama, Quinn runs away from her overbearing mother with the help of her reckless brother in hopes of achieving her dream of becoming a dancer.

THE MEANING OF A RITUAL
dir. Natalie MacMahon (Germany), 2023
A coming of age story about two women from different generations, who have more in common than they are willing to admit. An empathic, young plant doctor gifted with extrasensory powers and an emotionally fragile, isolated artist, must rescue each other to rediscover the essence of living.
*Please note this film is also screening in the Directed by Women Sidebar.

THE OLD OAK
Florida Premiere
dir. Ken Loach (United Kingdom), 2023
A story of anger and tolerance when a group of Syrian refugees moves into a floundering English village, and a decisive rift fueled by prejudices develops between the community and its newest inhabitants.

THE TROUBLE WITH JESSICA
dir. Matt Winn (USA), 2023
A dead body, a nosy neighbor and a blueberry clafoutis dessert are just a few of the items a couple on the verge of financial collapse encounters over one very eventful evening in this hilarious black
comedy.

DOCUMENTARY FEATURES

36 SECONDS: PORTRAIT OF A HATE CRIME
dir. Tarek Albaba (USA), 2023
Out of the 2015 tragedy of three Muslim-Americans shot point blank in North Carolina, comes this moving look at a resilient community in pursuit of the truth and, ultimately, the proper justice.

BAD LIKE BROOKLYN DANCEHALL
Florida Premiere
dir. Ben DiGiacomo & Dutty Vannier (USA), 2023
A celebration of the Jamaican dancehall music scene that reverberated across Brooklyn in the 90s and its ever-present influence on a younger generation. Executive produced by Shaggy.
*Please note this film is also screening in the African-American & The African Diaspora and Music Focus Sidebars.

CATCHING FIRE: THE STORY OF ANITA PALLENBERG
Florida Premiere
dir. Alexis Bloom & Svetlana Zill (USA), 2023
An exploration of the life of Anita Pallenberg, European actress and rock ’n’ roll muse. Told in Anita’s own words, from her unpublished memoir, and in the words of her family and others close to her, this
bittersweet film is a never-seen-before look at life with The Rolling Stones.
*Please note this film is also screening in the Directed by Women and Music Focus Sidebars.

CHUCK OWEN AND THE JAZZ SURGE PRESENT: THE MAKING OF WITHIN US – THE
25TH ANNIVERSARY ALBUM
dir. Jared Brown (USA), 2022.
This documentary takes audiences through the creative process, showcasing the collaboration that went into crafting the celebrated 25th-anniversary album of Chuck Owen and the Jazz Surge.

COPA ‘71
dir. James Erskine & Rachel Ramsay (UK), 2023
In this documentary executive produced by Serena and Venus Williams, the filmmakers use archival footage and new interviews to tell the story of the captivating yet “unofficial” 1971 Women’s World Cup, a moment virtually erased from the history of soccer.
*Please note this film is also screening in the Directed by Women and Sports Focus Sidebars.

THE DEATH TOUR
East Coast Premiere
dir. Stephan Peterson & Sonya Ballantyne (Canada), 2023
The Death Tour follows wrestling hopefuls across remote Indigenous communities in Canada’s far North on “the most grueling tour in indie wrestling.” This test of strength and grit will show how far some are
willing to go to live their dreams.
*Please note this film is also screening in the Directed by Women and Sports Focus Sidebars.

FIELDING DREAMS: A CELEBRATION OF BASEBALL SCOUTS
World Premiere
dir. H James Gilmore (USA), 2024
An intimate journey profiling baseball scouts, the unsung heroes of America’s pastime, who use their instincts and intuition to find the ballplayers of tomorrow in the face of growing technology, data and big business.
*Please note this film is also screening in the Sports Focus sidebar.

JESSZILLA
Florida Premiere
dir. Emily Sheskin (USA), 2023
New Jersey’s Jesselyn Silva, a three-time national boxing champion, is on her way to superstardom, dominating the junior ranks at the age of 15. With her every step of the way is her father Pedro, a single parent who helps her navigate coaches, training schedules, and the angst of teenage life. When a devastating diagnosis threatens the father-daughter tandem, the pair turn to each other to fight their greatest opponent yet.
*Please note this film is also screening in the Directed by Women and Sports Focus Sidebars.

LADY LIKE
dir. Luke Willis (USA), 2024
Enrapturing profile of Rex Wheeler, better known to the outside world as drag queen extraordinaire and Ru Paul’s Drag Race finalist Lady Camden, who works with Rex to save his inner child after a troubled and traumatic childhood.
*Please note this film is also screening in the LGBTQ+ Focus Sidebar.

LEFT ALONE RHAPSODY
dir. Stewart M Schulman (USA), 2023
A look at the life of pianist John Bayless, who becomes an internationally renowned performer and recording artist, suffers a debilitating stroke, and begins a career comeback in this journey through music, illness and determination.
*Please note this film is also screening in the Music Focus Sidebar.

MAKA
dir. Elia Moutamid (Italy), 2023
An exploration of displacement, identity, and belonging in following noted Cameroon-born author Geneviève Makaping’s life in Italy and perilous migration journey. A story of a Black woman reclaiming the
narrative and speaking out against the media’s representation of immigrants.
*Please note this film is also screening in the African-American & The African Diaspora Sidebar.

THE MAMMOTH HUNT
North American Premiere
dir. Aistė Stonytė (Lithuania), 2023
The incredible story of Lithuanian theater director (and now Sarasota resident) Jonas Jurašas’ leaving his country in 1968 in the wake of a play banned by the Soviets, the secret filming of that play and Jurasas’ new life in America and eventual return to his homeland.
*Please note this film is also screening in the Directed by Women and Arts Sidebars.

MINTED
dir. Nicholas Bruckman (USA), 2023
A fascinating look at the intersection of art, commerce, and digital ownership through the rise and crash of the NFT market.

MOVIEPASS, MOVIECRASH
East Coast Premiere
dir. Muta’Ali (USA), 2024
The unbelievable origin story, meteoric rise and stranger-than-fiction implosion of the theatrical movie subscription app, MoviePass, as told through the eyes of the visionary co-founders, complete with the
unique challenges they faced only to eventually find themselves cast aside, watching from the sidelines, as new executives seized control and havoc ensued.

MY NAME IS ALFRED HITCHCOCK
dir. Mark Cousins (United Kingdom), 2022
In a most unique fashion, along with a bevy of clips, My Name Is Alfred Hitchcock re-examines the vast filmography and legacy of one of the 20th century’s greatest filmmakers through a new lens: through the
auteur’s own voice.
*Please note this film is also screening in the Arts Sidebar.

NAKED AMBITION: BUNNY YEAGER
dir. Dennis Scholl & Kareem Tabsch (USA), 2023
The scintillating story of Miami’s Bunny Yeager, a trailblazing model, designer, and photographer who popularized the bikini, invented the selfie, discovered Bettie Page, and introduced feminist agency in sexy pictures in the ’50s.
*Please note this film is also screening in the Arts Sidebar.

NO ONE ASKED YOU
Florida Premiere
dir. Ruth Leitman (USA), 2023
Comedian, disrupter extraordinaire and The Daily Show co- creator Lizz Winstead and her team of activists crisscross the U.S. to support abortion clinic staff and bust stigma. Pop culture icons and next-gen comics fuel this six-year road film activating small-town folks to rebuild vandalized clinics, exposing wrongdoer politicians, domestic terrorists, and media neglect as the race to the bottom ensues.
*Please note this film is also screening in the Directed by Women and
LGBTQ+ Focus Sidebars.

SOMEONE LIVES HERE
Florida Premiere
dir. Zachary Russell (USA), 2023
A modern-day David and Goliath story, set against the backdrop of North America’s housing crisis, when a carpenter takes it upon himself to build, and make accessible, small, life-saving shelters for the unhoused residents of Toronto during the pandemic.

SOUNDTRACK TO A COUP D’ETAT
dir. Johan Grimonprez (Belgium, France), 2024
A vibrant film essay, likely the most music-filled history lesson you’ll ever partake, that marries jazz and politics to unravel the colonial machinations of power in the Congo circa 1960.

STYLEBENDER
Florida Premiere
dir. Zoe McIntosh (USA), 2023
An intimate look at Israel Adesanya, the Nigerian born New Zealand based MMA champion, which goes beyond the ring and delves deep into an unlikely fighter’s journey. Exploring themes of masculinity, bullying and even the healing power of dance, this documentary is a poignant examination of the complex, exciting and sometimes controversial person known as “The Last Stylebender.”
*Please note this film is also screening in the African-American & The African Diaspora, Directed by Women, and Sports Focus Sidebars.

SUSAN FENIGER. FORKED
Florida Premiere
dir. Liz Lachman (USA), 2023
The wildly entertaining behind-the-scenes story of award-winning celebrity chef Susan Feniger on her first solo restaurant and her passionate struggle and quest to bring global street food under one roof in the form of a new L.A. restaurant.
*Please note this film is also screening in the Directed by Women and
LGBTQ+ Focus Sidebars.

SWAMP DOGG GETS HIS POOL PAINTED
Florida Premiere
dir. Ryan Olson & Isaac Gale (USA), 2024
Hidden away, deep in the suburbs of Los Angeles, legendary cult musician, songwriter and producer Swamp Dogg, alongside housemates Moogstar and Guitar Shorty, have transformed their home into an
artistic playground. Together, they navigate the tumultuous music industry, forging a unique and inspiring bond across time and space.
*Please note this film is also screening in the African-American & The African Diaspora and Music Focus Sidebars.

UNBROKEN
dir. Beth Lane (USA), 2023
The daughter of a Holocaust survivor embarks on an international quest to uncover answers about the plight of her mother and her six siblings who, as mere children, escaped Nazi Germany relying solely on their own youthful bravado and the kindness of German strangers.
*Please note this film is also screening in the Directed by Women and Jewish Focus Sidebars.

YOURS IN FREEDOM, BILL BAIRD
dir. Rebecca Cammisa (USA), 2023
Florida Premiere
Oscar-nominated filmmaker Rebecca Cammisa gives us a portrait of Bill Baird, who has been called the devil incarnate, pervert, CIA agent, saint, the unsung hero of the birth control battle and whose
decades-long fight for women’s right to abortion is as relevant as ever.
*Please note this film is also screening in the Directed by Women Sidebar.

SFF FOCUS: ENVIRONMENT

COMMON GROUND
dir. Joshua Tickell & Rebecca Harrell Tickell (USA), 2023
The solution of Regenerative farmers to bring soil health across the continent and beyond.

CONSERVATION ACROSS CONTINENTS: MADAGASCAR
dir. Fredric Lehne (USA), 2024
Lemurs are the most unique and most endangered primates in the world. This documentary film discusses the work of Lemur Conservation Foundation in Madagascar and Myakka City, Florida.

NOCTURNES
Florida Premiere
dir. Anupama Srinivasan & Anirban Dutta (USA, India), 2024
This uniquely immersive Sundance Award winner transports us to the mountainous forest of the eastern Himalayas, where researchers seek to describe and understand moth diversity at different elevations as a way to urge us all to look more closely at the hidden interconnections of the natural world.

ORGANIC RISING
Florida Premiere
dir. Anthony Suau (USA), 2023
A thorough look at the organic food culture – both the history and current practices – that demystifies the regulatory process and farming methods to give us informed choices for maintaining a strong and robust agricultural future.

WOMEN OF THE WATERSHED
dir. Scott Michael Barnett (USA), 2024
A young woman journeys to the source of the Everglades headwaters to better understand the historic challenges of water management and pollution that now threaten this fragile ecosystem. Along the way she meets a new generation of advocates who are redefining the balance of women in conservation.

NARRATIVE SHORTS

BAD DRIVER
dir. Antonia Grilikhes-Lasky (USA), 2024
The end of a relationship leaves a woman desperate to reassert her independence by overcoming her driving phobia. But when she finds herself in the driver’s seat, she turns into a compulsive oversharer
who can’t start the car. Luckily, her new driving companion won’t let her off the hook so easy.

BEIN’ GREEN
dir. William Givens-Jensen (USA), 2023
Olivia, a talented biracial actress, participates in an audition through a Zoom call. Her agent calls with positive feedback but tells her she needs to go back on tape and act more “authentically black.” Olivia defiantly tapes herself, expressing her exhaustion with being judged, and chooses to embrace who she is whether they like it or not.

BIRD HOURS
dir. Kyle Dubiel (USA), 2023
Lars and Frances are two young professionals who work day in and day out for Sol Corp. Their routine consists of putting on VR Headsets and transporting their souls into the “cloud”. After reports of absurd
catastrophic news events, Lars smashes his and Frances’ headsets and they escape their apartment into a sun-drenched world of unknowns.

CHAUNCEY
dir. Daniel Rashid & Reilly Anspaugh (USA), 2023
When Zoe brings her new boyfriend home for the first time, she decides to hide her childhood stuffed animal Chauncey in the sock drawer. But when she starts to her Chauncey’s voice in her head, she has to choose whether to continue hiding him, or to reveal the truth and risk disaster.

COUPLE OF CARDS
dir. Toky Randriamahazosoa & Andrianiaina Ramanasoa (USA), 2024
Two silly old farts – Fredric Lehne and Reed Birney – have coffee at Ida’s diner, like they do every morning, when unexpected events compel them to confront the past, their lifelong rivalry, and the memory of the gal who broke both their hearts, while still giving hope for the future.

COLOR OF AUTUMN
dir. Aimiende Negbenebor Sela (USA), 2023
Inspired by a true story, this film depicts a precocious eight-year-old Black girl who lives with her hardworking parents and her adoring, wise grandmother in a quaint house on the Southside of
Chicago. Nestled within the safety of her neighborhood and focused on the comforts and stresses of her family’s hard-won middle class life, Dottie Grimsby has little awareness of racial tension or the isolation
of segregation. But she is about to find out.

DARK ROOM
dir. Christine Juarbe (USA), 2023
A successful woman attempts to work through childhood trauma through lucid dreaming. Can she face the truth?

DELTA
dir. Jing Ai Ng (USA), 2023
The Chinese-American Lee family, who has lived in the Mississippi Delta for generations, is preparing for the day by taking inventory at their grocery store. The two Lee siblings — Phoebe and Raymond — work
in tandem like they have all of their lives. Except this summer is different. Phoebe is leaving home for a college far from Mississippi, and in doing so is saying goodbye to her older brother and an entire way of life.

DRAGONFLY
dir. Julia Morizawa (USA), 2023
A young girl learns of her mother’s survival of the Tokyo Firebombing on March 9-10, 1945 through the eyes of her brother’s spirit.

EATING 38 CHEESEBURGERS
dir. Andrew Schwab (USA), 2024
A twenty-first century ouroboros. It’s burgers all the way down.

ESTELA, IS IT YOU?
dir. Fabian Martin & Victor Martin (USA), 2023
A grieving woman communicates with her dead husband through her car radio.

FLOWER
dir. Lauren Finerman (USA), 2023
Rose struggles to get by as her mother’s caretaker while experiencing housing insecurity when she finds a source of hope in an unexpected place– her community.

GREETINGS
dir. Stephanie Bencin (USA), 2023
After struggling over what to write in a coworker’s birthday card, Trish discovers that whatever she writes comes true. At first this goes great, but when her coworkers accidentally forget her own birthday, things…take a turn.

HOMECOMING
dir. David R. Hardberger (USA), 2023
A woman is awakened in the middle of the night by her husband at the front door. When she tries to tell him he can’t be there anymore, he ignores her words.

INFRACTION
dir. Timothy Blackwood (USA), 2023
When a prison guard is murdered on the job, his replacement and an inmate form an unlikely relationship with life-altering ramifications. This film is based on the real life story of Philadelphia native Terrance Lewis who served 21 years in prison for a murder he did not commit.

THE LIFT
dir. Laura Maccabee (USA), 2024
Following the loss of his husband, a grief-stricken retiree (Sam Anderson) finds renewed connection with a mysterious young woman who’s attempting to terminate a pregnancy.

LITTLE ORANGE FLAGS
dir. Julianna Gelinas Bonifacio (USA), 2024
Twelve-year-old Iris is sent to live on a farm in rural Pennsylvania after an encounter with her mom’s boyfriend.

LESSONS
dir. Shawn Butcher (USA), 2024
Family ties are tested after a pre-teen boy reveals his face in a robbery gone wrong.

MAIN CHARACTER ENERGY
dir. Sohale Dezfoli (USA), 2023
An actor goes into an open call but misses an important detail in the
character description.

MEETING MR. OSCAR
dir. Toni Short & Jeongwon Lee (USA), 2023
Audrey, a middle aged woman sleepwalking through her life, encounters
an elderly eccentric stranger, Mr. Oscar, who challenges her way of
thinking and daily routines. Their unexpected friendship becomes a
catalyst for her to step out of her comfort zone and move forward in a
new direction.

PANO
dir. Henry Miller (USA), 2024
Film photographer, Tanner Pletzke, captures the essence of his
surroundings, weaving a deeply personal narrative through mesmerizing
panoramic collages that blur the line between art and photographic
memory. Pushing the boundaries even further, he brings his collages to
life as awe-inspiring physical installations, inviting viewers to step
into a captivating world where complex emotions and hidden stories
await.

RUMIA
dir. Anthony Vazquez (USA), 2024
The vision for this film was to utilize the perspective of what so
many woman go through in life. Showcasing how a subject that is rarely
discussed, is something that happens to so many woman around the world
everyday.

SLEEPING ALONE
dir. Kelsea Buaman-Murphy (USA), 2023
Sleeping Alone is a short comedic thriller that follows Andy, a young
woman from the city, as she attempts to enjoy a night of housesitting
in the countryside. Over the course of the evening, her minor fears
about sleeping in a house by herself begin to mount, forcing her to
take increasingly extreme actions.

SPARE ME
dir. Wilderley Mauricette (USA), 2024
Spare Me tells the story of “Trey Compton” a young African American
man confronting his past to overcome changing a flat tire. Throughout
the story, the viewer is shown flashbacks to showcase what connection
Trey has to this certain location which is a sundown town, and why
changing a tire is no easy task for him to undertake. This is also a
period piece, so the Production design, costumes, and props will
reflect a southern state during the early 1930s/40s, and have a focus
on sundown towns during that time period.
*Please note this film is also screening in the African-American & The
African Diaspora Sidebar.

STRANGE CREATURES
dir. Nicholas Payne Santos (USA), 2024
Desperate to see her brother again, a young woman visits the site of
his death. Starring Quinn Jackson (It Cuts Deep) and Sean-Michael
Wilkinson (American Horror Story), with Christine Nyland (An Unquiet
Grave).

THE DOLLCATCHER
dir. Jamey Hastings (USA), 2023
A woman’s attempt to catch a few hours of peace and solitude in the
woods is interrupted in the night by a mysterious girl.

THE MISSING VOICE
dir. Jeremie Dameme (USA), 2023
Chole, a victim of domestic violence is caught between trusting the
police force that has so far proven unreliable in truly protecting her
and her abuser’s campaign of threats and manipulation.

THE OSSAN
dir. Venita Ozols-Graham (USA), 2023
After her wealthy new husband dies unexpectedly, a young widow
contacts a mystical Ossan to protect her from the teenaged step sons
hell bent on eliminating her to regain control of the estate.

THE SUIT
dir. Carol McCann (USA), 2023
Inspired by a song of the same name written by the legendary
songwriter Hugh Prestwood, the film follows a salt of the earth older
woman and her granddaughter who go in search of the perfect suit for
Grandpa, a man who has spent his life “scratchin’ the earth.”

WHEN UNFETTERED
dir. Derek Franzese (USA), 2023
When an AI humanoid’s proprietor passes away, she is released on a
journey where she discovers what it means to feel emotion after
encountering and befriending a special child.

WHY DOGS HOWL
dir. Sandi Johnson (USA), 2023
After meeting online, a BOY and GIRL are out on their first date. It
rapidly devolves into the BOY vomiting out his life in a Howl that
ultimately encompasses the entire universe.

DOCUMENTARY SHORTS

ALOK
dir. Alex Hedison (USA), 2024
A compelling portrait of ALOK, acclaimed nonbinary author, poet,
comedian, and public speaker. Executive-produced by Jodie Foster.

BURTON ROCKS CALLING
dir. Burton Rocks (USA), 2024
Burton Rocks’ health left him isolated. So, he started calling some of
America’s biggest stars. They answered. Forty years later, Burton
shares his fascinating collection of interviews for the first time.

DAG CAMERA REPAIR
dir. Atesh Atici (USA), 2024
Don Goldberg is one of the few master Leica repair technicians left in
the world. He is overworked and his millennial clients don’t make it
any easier, but his son is determined to follow in his footsteps.

ENTERING PORNLAND: ROSI
dir. Benjamin Nolot (USA), 2022
Rosi is a high school teacher who is loved by her students. When her
battle to pay off her college loans prompts Rosi to seek a more
lucrative source of income, she ends up getting hired as a porn
actress. But the glow of her newfound stardom quickly fades when Rosi
realizes her new career isn’t what she thought it might be.

FINDING FATE
dir. Beth Toni Kruvant (USA), 2023
The film centers on the lives and experiences of these three mothers –
and the ferocity with which they fight to protect their children and
families. In doing so, the viewer gets a rare glimpse of how powerful
the maternal spirit is during a time of war. Through valuing each
other’s histories and current realities, Finding Fate reveals that
when we find common ground, we can unite to help build a shared
future.

I HAVE A NAME
dir. Eric S. Vaughn (USA), 2024
A poignant documentary that unfolds alongside Jon Linton, an artist
who lost a friend and colleague to addiction and homelessness. In an
attempt to process what happened, Jon walked out into to world, with
his camera, to open himself to the reality of what it is to be
unhoused. He wandered into a human experience akin to Tolstoy walking
out into his beloved Moscow in the late 1800s.

IMPOSSIBLE IS JUST A WORD
dir. Jen Stafford (USA), 2023
Chris Nikic made history by becoming the first athlete with Down
Syndrome to complete the IRONMAN, the world’s most grueling triathlon.
Amidst his astounding athletic accomplishments and intellectual
disability, we uncover Chris’ greatest aspirations from homeownership
to falling in love, drawing on points of relatability that resonate
universally.

KIM JONG, ALFAMAN AND THE PROBE: A LEMONS RACE:
dir. Yasmin Sanie-Hay (USA), 2023
This documentary follows the wild and wacky adventures of three teams
in the infamous 24 Hours of LeMons endurance race for $500 cars.

MISS BROWN
dir. Christina Burchard (USA), 2023
“Miss Brows” is a documentary-hybrid highlighting the enterprising
spirit of Gina Fiore who uses her intellect and street smarts to
become an elite player in the game of Blackjack. Over the course of
her career she has led various teams, taking over 10 million dollars
out of the casinos.

THE CALM UNDER THE WATER
dir. Cam Brooks (USA), 2024
An artist who is paralyzed from the neck down confronts several
obstacles on his journey towards happiness and inner peace.

THE SCHOOL OF CANINE MASSAGE
dir. Emma D. Miller (USA), 2024
The Ojai School of Canine Massage provides professional training in
the art and science of dog massage therapy. With a mix of whimsy and
tenderness, this film offers a portrait of this singular school and
its dog-loving participants —revealing how people heal dogs and dogs
heal people.

THE PERFECT SHOT: ANTARCTICA
dir. Quinn Halleck (USA), 2023
In this Stephen King story adaptation, Larry deals with his sister’s
disappearance, and discovers what he is, and isn’t responsible for, as
he searches for her.

INTERNATIONAL SHORTS

BURN OUT
dir. Chloe Culpin (United Kingdom), 2023
Heena, on the brink and desperate to get out of her soul-less, money
driven job, goes on a midweek pub session with her co-workers where
they all descend into animalistic chaos.

ECOSPHERE
dir. Vito Pistone (Belgium), 2024
A fire ant named Redd ends up separated from her colony inside a huge
glass bowl called the Ecosphere. She befriends a group of local bugs
who help her get back home, but is that really where she belongs?

A GOOD DAY WILL COME
dir. Amir Zargara (Canada), 2024
Arash is a professional wrestler with dreams of representing his
country and winning gold medals. The country is in turmoil and its
people are suffering. Arash must decide between using his platform to
stand up to tyranny, or put his head down and remain silent.

KINGS
dir. Olivier Côté (Canada), 2024
Elias and Laurent are the only two new counsellors at camp this
summer. When their initiation goes sideways, Laurent tries to get out
of it – and the entire group ridicules him. Elias is trapped: he
either needs to reject his friend, or risks being rejected himself.

LIMITE
dir. George Nicholas (Mexico), 2023
Sixteen-year-old Manuel lives in Tijuana, Mexico with his grandfather
while his mom works in the United States. When he meets a girl, he
sees an opportunity to assert his independence, but what he doesn’t
know about her will push him to the limit.Inspired by real events.

PILL NATION
dir. Bruno Tadeu (Brazil), 2024
Dante is an old gay activist who refuses to retire. Facing the
inevitable end of his existence, he decides to fulfill his old plans
of opening the first LGBTQIA+ retirement house in Brazil, ignoring the
advice of his great friend, Francisca, who argues that they no longer
need to care.

THE PHOTOGRAPHER
dir. Alexander Graeff (France), 2023
France, 1936. Gerta, a young German photoreporter, lives in exile with
her companion, the Hungarian photographer André Friedmann. When the
Spanish civil war breaks out, they are determined to cover the events
and thus to fight fascism. Faced with the newspapers’ reluctance to
send them to Spain, Gerta decides to invent a new identity for them.

PRIMOS
dir. Ricardo J Varona (Puerto Rico), 2023
During a teenage road trip to the west coast of Puerto Rico,
16-year-old Cristóbal begins to suspect that his crush, Yazmín, and
cousin Marcos are secretly seeing eachother.

ROOSTER’S CROW
dir. Alexandre Lefebvre (Canada), 2023
Drowned in a family reunion chaos filled with testosterone and pig
roast, REYNALD will try to prove to his nephew, his family but mostly
himself that’s he’s still king.

THE SKATES
dir. Halima Ouardiri (Canada), 2023
Mina loves to skate. Today, her father, recently divorced from her
mother, accompanies her to her first figure skating lesson. An
ordinary day if something hadn’t happened to the skates.

THE WAITING
dir. Voker Schlecht (Germany), 2023
Karen Lips is researcher and lives for several years in a tiny little
shack in Costa Rica to observe frogs. When she leaves the cloud forest
for a short time and returns, the frogs are gone. All of them. Karen
sets out to find them – and encounters a horrible truth.

TWENTY
dir. Jason Hogan (United Kingdom), 2024
TWENTY is the story of the girl behind the number. Made in partnership
with the charity SHELTER, the film follows Emily, a homeless ballet
dancer undertaking a potentially life-changing audition.

2K5
dir. Nicole Pott (United Kingdom), 2023
It’s 2005, Ellie and her ‘BFF 4lyf’, Zoe, listen to rap music and slam
rhymes every day, dreaming of the big stage. But, at twelve, for
Ellie, it’s easy to be a dreamer and less easy to ignore the harsh
realities as the only Black kid at school.

RINGLING SHORTS

ART AS A MEANS OF BREATH
dir. Celi Mitidieri (USA), 2022
The community leader and artist Yoleidy Rosario-Hernandez explores the
connections between art and ancestry in the journey to find zirself.

BLINDS WIDE OPEN
dir. Ben Sutherland (USA), 2023
An agoraphobic man named Greg, fears that someone outside of his
apartment window is watching him. Every night he enjoys a routine of
watching conspiracy filled videos from a public access TV talk show
and has dinner with his only trusted friend, his neighbor. However,
his paranoia is heightened when the talk show host begins speaking to
him, informing him
that his neighbor may not be what he seems.

HEATHER
dir. Sarah Forest (USA), 2024
Daisy, a young woman, lives at home balancing taking care of her ill
and hyper-religious mom. Daisy becomes obsessed and infatuated with
Heather Brown, a VHS aerobics instructor. Heather begins talking to
Daisy through the TV, showcasing some demonic quirks.

I <3 KATY
dir. Peyton Leopold (USA), 2023
Two unsuspected lovers join forces to tackle a local graffiti legend.
What starts out as a manic pixie dream turns into a cold harsh reality
they both have to face.

SUPER COOL REAL HORSE
dir. Jeno Broschofsky (USA), 2023
Roommates and so-called friends make a small bet that turns into a
high stakes battle through movie genres to decide who is the better
storyteller.

TESILFY
dir. Jackson Fowler (USA), 2024
A fast paced display of the Tesla car.

SARASOTA FILMMAKERS NARRATIVE SHORTS

BLUE BOY
dir. Tyler Riggs (USA), 2024
Insecure New Jersey bodybuilder, Joey Rossi aka Joey Muscles, starts
doing steroids in a last ditch effort to go pro.

CHROMA
dir. Taoquan Fu (USA), 2024

DEEP AWAKENING
dir. Steve Stein (USA), 2024
Across the country, video calls are interrupted when hackers break
into a widely used chat application and broadcast a message using AI
to all users that will change their lives forever.

FOUNDATION
dir. Steven Hedrick, Jr. (USA), 2024
When her girlfriend goes missing in a high-rise hotel, a lonely young
woman desperately searches for her with the help of the night manager.

NOVA
dir. Tristan Anthony Ortiz (USA), 2024
After mysteriously vanishing in space, a young astronaut suddenly
reemerges twenty years later to find the world and his wife have moved
on.

SCREAMING INTO THE WIND
dir. Kevin O’Neill (USA), 2024
Evie Ingle, trapped in her grief and abusive marriage, takes matters
into her own hands to break that cycle. Through visual and sonic
storytelling, the audience will experience the inner world of Evie’s
struggle without the use of dialogue.

SHIP OF THESEUS
dir. Michael Zhang (USA), 2024
In a post-biological revolution dystopia, Theseus, a young fighter
with an unwavering sense of his father’s values, confronts a moral
crossroads. As he battles cybernetically enhanced opponents in
underground fights, he must decide whether to preserve his humanity or
embrace technological augmentation for power.

SUPERSTITIOUS
dir. Melany Andrea Di Pietro Cecere & Carolina Rapp (USA), 2024
Superstitious tells a story about a clumsy and anxious fair named
Ailbhe who owns a magic shop and does her best to avoid bad luck until
one day an adorable black cat named Jinx stumbles into her store.
Chaos ensues as Ailbhe gets progressively more stressed with every
step Jinx takes. Will Ailbhe be able to overcome her fears to save
them both before it’s too late?

TREVOR HURT SOMEONE
dir. Sam Pinnelas (USA), 2024
Straight male best friends Sean and Trevor deliberate the events of
the preceding night, when Trevor sexually assaulted Sean, at the bar
where it happened.

WERNER HERZOG SAVES TAXI DRIVER
dir. John Stevenson (USA), 2024
Two unsuspected lovers join forces to tackle a local graffiti legend.
What When Martin Scorsese threatens to kill the head of Columbia
Studios in response to its cut of his masterpiece TAXI DRIVER, film
buddies Steven Spielberg and George Lucas enlist the help of the only
filmmaker hardcore enough to save him… WERNER HERZOG!

WREN’S WORLD
dir. Hollis Rosenkranz (USA), 2024
Wren, fourteen, insecure, and tasked with watching her sister for the
summer, is forced to spend her days at the community pool. Plagued by
bikini-clad bodies surrounding her, Wren is sick of feeling inadequate
and is intrigued when presented with the opportunity to finally become
perfect.

SARASOTA FILMMAKERS DOCUMENTARY SHORTS

BAAR
dir. Dev Walker (USA), 2024
After battling a life-threatening disease, a young man with down
syndrome proves that challenges are meant to be overcome and that
there’s no obstacle big enough to steal his joy. His determination is
inspirational. His kindness is golden. His name is Joey Baar.

CONNECTIONS
dir. Corey Marr & Lisa Mills (USA), 2024
A close look inside the world of a Special Olympian, Becky Richter.

DEAR TAMPA BAY
dir. Amanda Moore (USA), 2024
Tampa Bay is one of the areas in our nation most vulnerable to climate
change. But Tampa Bay isn’t alone, communities across the Gulf coast
face similar climate impacts.

FINISH
dir. Dev Walker (USA), 2024
Against all odds, a young man with autism and tourette syndrome enters
a grueling gravel race, pushing himself to the limit as he faces
physical and mental challenges along the way.

NOT ROD
dir. Becca Greene & Alex Pollack (USA), 2024
As a renowned Rod Stewart tribute artist, George Orr entertains sold
out crowds with his singing and Chardonnay-soaked banter. NOT ROD is a
short documentary about a big personality who reminds us that it is
never too late to do what you love.

SPACE COAST
dir. Justin Barber (USA), 2024
People from around the world gather on the Space Coast to witness the
launch of Artemis-1, the ‘World’s most powerful rocket.’ But Mark, a
veteran of the Space Shuttle Program, doubts this ‘moondoggle’ will
ever fly.

THE FENTANYL PROJECT
dir. KT Curran (USA), 2024
The Fentanyl Project is a 26 minute, short documentary about the
impact of illegal fentanyl abuse in Sarasota/Manatee counties.

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