Mr. Sparky

SARASOTA – We are two weeks away from the start of the 19th Annual Sarasota Film Festival. Movie goers have an excuse to kick back and enjoy the top names and titles coming from the independent film world in an event that’s much more than just watching films.

Posters line the streets in downtown Sarasota, all for the Sarasota Film Festival. This year’s theme… See and Be Seen. It’s a phrase speaking directly to the community.

“We have really tried to connect to the community whenever possible and to give back to that respect.”

The Festival’s associate director, Jedediah Shoemaker, says every year, they try to find something for everyone.

“Every year, we’re really proud of the films we’re able to bring. I think that this year, the talent is really exceptional and people have a lot to look forward to those Q and A’s.”

Those Q and A’s are conversations with big names like actress Aiesha Tyler and basketball legend Kenny Anderson. Discussions include LGBTQ and Black Identities in Media, and Athletics and Youth Empowerment. And of course, the films…

“You have such an amazing talent in those films. Indie visions are upcoming new talent and the narrative documentary films are great this year.”

From Opening Night showcasing the life of big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton to Closing Night featuring the film, Paris Can Wait, starring Diane Lane, who will be in attendance.

They are all stories Shoemaker says you won’t be able to see anywhere else.

“It speaks to the broader role that independent film plays in our culture. It’s a testing ground for new techniques. It’s a chance for stories that otherwise would not be told. I hope everyone enjoys it. We’ve been working a long time to put it together.”