Tomorrow, Friday, April 4, sees the start of the 16th annual Sarasota Film Festival, the popular Florida film festival that runs through Sunday, April 13. Featuring approximately 200 films, Sarasota’s lineup typically includes a robust selection of nonfiction, with 50 feature docs included this year. Among these are two Sundance titles in key gala slots, Rory Kennedy’s opening night film, LAST DAYS IN VIETNAM and Andrew Rossi’s centerpiece, IVORY TOWER. While several more Sundance and SXSW titles figure in Sarasota’s selections, the following overview focuses on other nonfiction picks that perhaps haven’t already benefited from that kind of festival spotlight:
Women-centric films shine in the Through Women’s Eyes sidebar, including: Rebecca Barry’s profile of six diverse female experiences, I AM A GIRL (pictured); Mary Dore’s women’s liberation chronicle, SHE’S BEAUTIFUL WHEN SHE’S ANGRY; Yasmin Kidwai’s story of female self-empowerment, NO PROBLEM! (SIX MONTHS WITH THE BAREFOOT GRANDMAMAS); and Jared Brock and Michelle Brock sex trafficking exposé, RED LIGHT GREEN LIGHT.
The fest’s Acts of Valor section pays tribute to the American soldier and their post-combat experiences. Among the documentaries here are: Christine Anthony and Owen Masterson’s TERRA FIRMA, about female combat vets’ struggles with PTSD; and Mike Attie and Meghan O’Hara’s IN COUNTRY (pictured), exploring what drives veterans or enlisted men to re-enact the Vietnam War as a weekend hobby.
The local filmmakers section, Florida on Film, includes: Durand Adams, Charles Clapsaddle, and Charles Williams’ meditation on memory, THE ENDURING BEAUTY OF MEMORY (pictured); and Daniel Espeut’s circus family portrait, GREASEPAINT.