Florida’s Sarasota Film Festival opens its 17th edition today, Friday, April 10, and runs through Sunday, April 19. While the festival lost longtime director Tom Hall to Montclair this year, the event has maintained its scope, presenting nearly 150 features, with about a third of those nonfiction, including Centerpiece selection BRAND: A SECOND COMING, Ondi Timoner’s portrait of UK comedian/provocateur Russell Brand which recently opened SXSW. What follows are highlights of some of the event’s other documentary programming, reflecting newer or less familiar work not previously covered on this site.
Among the nine contenders in this year’s Documentary Feature Competition are: Stefan Moore and Susan Lambert’s TYKE ELEPHANT OUTLAW, which uncovers the reasons why a circus elephant ran amok in 1994 Honolulu; Kayla McCormick’s SELECT(ED), about students’ experiences in one of Chicago’s most diverse high schools; and Stavroula Toska’s BENEATH THE OLIVE TREE (pictured), an exploration of women’s lives during Greece’s Civil War.
Female-focused stories are also at the core of the Through Women’s Eyes section, which features selections such as Gayle Kirschenbaum’s personal chronicle of mother/daughter relationships, LOOK AT US NOW, MOTHER! (pictured); Hildegard Elisabeth Keller’s portrait of an octogenarian artist, WHATEVER COMES NEXT; and Pia Janning and Til Frohlich’s excavation of the deadly cost of civil war on the Mayan people, LA VIOLENCIA: THE UNTOLD TRUTHS OF GUATEMALA.
Other nonfiction programming includes: Tamar Rogoff and Daisy Wright’s ENTER THE FAUN, about the use of dance to provide unexpected mobility; Yaniv Rokah’s QUEEN MIMI (pictured), about a singular Santa Monica homeless woman; Ava Leigh Stewart’s PARADISE GARDEN, which looks at the reframing of art outside of elitist institutions and into the everyday; Michael Levine’s STREIT’S: MATZO AND THE AMERICAN DREAM, a portrait of a matzo factory in NYC’s Lower East Side; and Paul Hirschberger’s TOUCHDOWN ISRAEL, an exploration of the intersection of American football and Israeli culture.