Our take: One of the top regional festivals in the US and the best documentary showcase in the Southeast. This may be your one and only chance to screen in Florida - a state not exactly known for its embrace of art house cinema. And in truth your screening might not exactly pack them in. It's the top-notch programming, including a great array of international titles, great hospitality and the excellent (and often bizarre) parties that make this festival such a success. Peopled with lots of folks (including industry) down from New York for the week or just off their premiere at SXSW, there's something about early spring on the gulf coast that makes this one of the most enjoyable fests around.
Selection of US films screened at 2009 festival: 21 BELOW, BROCK ENRIGHT: GOOD TIMES WILL NEVER BE THE SAME, LOOT, THE HORSE BOY, WINNEBAGO MAN
Our coverage of Sarasota here.
Filmmaker: "Sarasota was fun, and I think that's just what it was trying to be. Sunny - lots of gowns and silicone. I met a lot of great people - not life changing but no complaints."
Filmmaker: "(T)he programmers LOVE cinema and really care about the films they're programming. Of course, politics are involved, but I've been to many festivals and met many programmers, and I would go on record as saying that as a filmmaker you won't encounter more devoted and passionate cinephiles. And, as I said, if you have a sense of humor about it, the parties are outlandishly funny."
Industry: "one of my favorites in the usa. really go out of their way to take care of people. good programming."
Industry: "they've been very hospitable to me, and it's maybe the most fun festival on the circuit. I think their programming does an excellent job of serving the community."
Industry: "Adventurous programming by a passionate programming team who really knows their stuff. The audiences skew old, but they are open to the selections that the programmers make which is nice. Very hospitable and generous staff."
Industry: "Always very supportive of docs and have excellent doc programming. One of the more enjoyable festivals all year"
Next: Number 21...