Diane Lane Receives Award for Cinematic Excellence at Closing of Sarasota Film Festival

After nine days of films, panels, roundtable discussions and community outreach, with organizations such as the BOOKER Film Academy, IMG and Boys & Girls Club, the 2017 Sarasota Film Festival (SFF) concluded at the historic Sarasota Opera House on Saturday.

SFF finished its 2017 edition with a stage filled with A-list talent including honoree Diane Lane, who took home an award for cinematic excellence, actors Stanley Tucci and Rosanna Arquette, filmmaker and TV personality Aisha Tyler and NBA Legend Kenny Anderson, among others. SFF announced this year's jury and audience award winners the ceremony.

The Wound directed by John Trengove took home this year's Narrative Feature Jury prize that came with a $5,000 cash prize from Sam Slater of Burn Later Productions. Last Men In Aleppo directed by Feras Fayyad was the Documentary Jury Prize winner.

Three special jury prizes were awarded; in the Narrative category for masterly use of comedy in a tragic milieu, One Week And A Day directed by Asaph Polonsky. For Documentary Feature Competition a Special Jury Prize was awarded to Dina directed by Dan Sickles and Antonio Santini for Honesty and Humanity and for Independent Visions the Special Jury prize for Narrative Innovation went to Fraud directed by Dean Fleischer-Camp.

The festival's Independent Visions Award, which includes a distribution deal from FACTORY 25, went to California Dreams directed by Mike Ott.

The Terry Porter Visionary Award went to MENASHE directed by Joshua Z. Weinstein for its spirit of independence and experimentation.

This year's Animated Shorts jury winner is Nutag-Homeland, directed by Alisi Telengut. The jury awarded The Silence, directed by Farnoosh Samadi and Ali Asgari best Narrative Short and the Documentary Short award winner is Little Potato, directed by Wes Hurley.

This year's Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature was Like Crazydirected by Paolo Virzi.

The Audience Award for Best Documentary was presented to Abacus: Small Enough To Jail, director Steve James.

The Best In World Cinema Audience Award went to Last Men in Aleppo, director Feras Fayyad.

Bon Voyage, directed by Marc Wilkins won the Audience Award for Best Short Film.

"We are thrilled with the turnout of this year's festival," says President of the Sarasota Film Festival Mark Famiglio. "We strive to bring the best filmmakers, movies, talent, and programming to the Sarasota audience. With the support of our sponsors and the Sarasota Film Festival staff, we were able to serve the community with one of our best festivals yet and an experience they can be proud to remember."

Congratulations to the 2017 winners of The Sarasota Film Festival Awards:

Narrative Feature Competition Winner
The Wound

Director - John Trengove

Narrative Feature Competition - Special Jury Prize

One Week And A Day

Director - Asaph Polonsky

Documentary Feature Competition
Last Men in Aleppo

Director - Feras Fayyad

Independent Vision Prize Winner

California Dreams

Director - Mike Ott

Animated Shorts Competition


Director - Alisi Telengut

Narrative Short Competition

The Silence

Directors - Farnoosh Samadi, Ali Asgari

Documentary Short Competition

Little Potato

Directors - Wes Hurley, Nathan M. Miller

Audience Awards

Best Narrative Feature

Like Crazy

Director - Paolo Virzi

Audience Award

Best Documentary Feature

Abacus: Small Enough To Jail

Director - Steve James

Audience Award

Best Short Film

Bon Voyage

Director - Marc Wilkins

Audience Award

Best In World Cinema

Last Men In Aleppo

Director - Feras Fayyad



Jason Benjamin - Filmmaker, Suited

David Edelstein - Chief Film Critic, New York Magazine

Addie Morfoot - Entertainment Reporter, Variety, Crains


Aaron Hillis - Manager of Film & Creative Outreach, Indiegogo

Amy Berg - Filmmaker, Deliver Us From Evil, Prophet's Prey

Edward Douglas - Film Critic and Writer, Film Journal International

Independent Visions

Jeremy Gerard - Film Critic and Columnist, Deadline Hollywood
Matt Grady - Producer and Founder, Factory 25

Joel Potrykus - Writer and Director, Buzzard, Ape

Shorts Competition

Andrew Hevia - Producer, Moonlight

Saschka Unseld - Filmmaker, Blue Umbrella

Josh Braun - Co-President Submarine


Held annually in Sarasota, FL, The Sarasota Film Festival emphasizes the best in cinema alongside exciting programs and events, with more than 200 films screened each year including features, documentaries, shorts, and kid-friendly picks. Entering our 19th year, we're proud to bring the best new and veteran independent filmmakers to our Festival with local and kid-friendly programs that showcase our idyllic Gulf Coast community. This year the festival will take place March 31st-April 9th, 2017.

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