2019 SARASOTA FILM FESTIVAL: On Saturday night, the 21st annual Sarasota Film Festival’s Closing Night Ceremony helped bring the festivities to a wrap at one of the city’s most prestigious locales: The Sarasota Opera House. Academy Award-nominated actor Greg Kinnear, Emmy Award-winning and Tony Award-winning actress Blythe Danner (this year’s Icon Award recipient), and Emmy Award-winning and Tony Award-nominated actress Anne Heche were in attendance.
At the ceremony, we unveiled our jury and audience award winners. The Narrative Feature prize, for which I was a member of the jury, was awarded to the Vietnamese coming-of-age drama, “The Third Wife,” directed by Ash Mayfair. While there was stiff competition in our category, the jury was unanimous with this selection.
At the closing ceremonies, we were treated to a steak dinner and entertained by a pair of bands. One of the highlights of the festival was being able to watch legendary film score composer, David Amram (“Splendor in the Grass;” “The Manchurian Candidate”), entertain us with his music. The songsmith sang and wowed the crowd by playing three different instruments. We showed our appreciation for the man with two standing ovations.
The 21st Sarasota Film Festival was one of the best ran events I have attended, and the show-runners did an outstanding job of selecting the slate of films. I only wish I could have seen more of the movies that played here, and with time I plan to catch up on what I missed.
Thank you to the wonderful team at Frank PR, who are always the most gracious and accommodating group of individuals. Thank you, as well, to festival Chairman and President, Mark Famiglia, whose generosity was overwhelming, and sense of humor overflowing. I had a truly great time here.
See a complete list of the jury and audience winners below:
Narrative Feature Competition Winner
“The Third Wife”
Director: Ash Mayfair
Documentary Feature Competition Winner
Director: Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert
Independent Visions Competition Winner
“The World is Full of Secrets”
Director: Graham Swon
Terry Porter Visionary Award
Director: Peter Parlow
Animated Shorts Competition Winner
Director: Mark C. Smith
Narrative Short Competition Winner
“How Does It Start”
Director: Amber Sealey
Documentary Short Competition Winner
Director: Luanne Dietz
Best Narrative Feature
Director: by KT Curran
Best Documentary Feature
“The Biggest Little Farm”
Director: John Chester
Best Short Film
Director: Mark C. Smith
Best In World Cinema
“Tel Aviv on Fire”
Director: Sameh Zoabi