Sarasota Film Festival Announces Opening and Closing Night Films

The Sarasota Film Festival today announced Rory Kennedy's documentary TAKE EVERY WAVE: THE LIFE OF LAIRD HAMILTON as its Opening Night film and Eleanor Coppola's PARIS CAN WAIT starring Diane Lane as its Closing Night film. It also announced Michael Almereyda's MARJORIE PRIME and Barbara Kopple's documentary THIS IS EVERYTHING: GIGI GORGEOUS as its Centerpiece films, a special screening of Jill Campbell's documentary MR. CHIBBS focused on the life of former NBA star Kenny Anderson produced by President of Coastal Transportation Barry Greenstein, and Aisha Tyler's AXIS as part of the Independent Visions Competition.

"This year's festival is reflective of the power and strength women around the world showcase every day, and we couldn't be happier," said Mark Famiglio, President of the Sarasota Film Festival. "To have iconic and talented women such as Diane Lane, Rory Kennedy, and Aisha Tyler attend the festival this year is a great honor."

TAKE EVERY WAVE: THE LIFE OF LAIRD HAMILTON will open the festival on at 6:30pm on Friday, March 31st at the Sarasota Opera House. This in-depth portrait of the innovative athlete Laird Hamilton explores the American icon's journey as he changes the sport of big wave surfing forever. Director Rory Kennedy will be in attendance and will be honored with the UN Women Impact Award at this year's Tribute Luncheon to be held on Friday, March 31st at the Sarasota Yacht Club, along with the Through Women's Eyes collaboration.

The annual luncheon marks the festival's ongoing mission to create a collaborative environment for women in the industry and to celebrate women who have made significant contributions to the art of film.

Academy-nominated® Diane Lane will be in attendance for the festival's Closing Night film PARIS CAN WAIT, a romantic-comedy directed by Eleanor Coppola starring Lane and Alec Baldwin. The film will screen Saturday, April 8th at the Sarasota Opera House. Lane will be presented with the Sarasota Film Festival Award for Cinematic Excellence and will also participate in SFF's "In Conversation with..." series on Saturday, April 8th at the Florida Studio Theatre.

Also participating in the festivals "In Conversation with..." series is Aisha Tyler ("Archer," "The Talk,") who will be attending at the festival with her feature-length directorial debut AXIS, slated in the festival's Independent Visions Competition section.

The Centerpiece section will feature Michael Almereyda's MARJORIE PRIME, based on JorDan Harrison's Pulitzer Prize-nominated play of the same name, and Barbara Kopple's documentary THIS IS EVERYTHING: GIGI GORGEOUS about a champion diver transitioning from male to female.

The festival will also be holding a special screening of MR. CHIBBS, a documentary about the life of former NBA star Kenny Anderson directed by Jill Campbell and produced by President of Coastal Transportation Barry Greenstein. The film will screen for students from the nearby IMG Academy and Boys & Girls Club of Sarasota County as a local initiative. Students will have the opportunity to attend motivational speaking engagements with Kenny Anderson himself.

The 19th annual Sarasota Film Festival, which will take place from March 31st to April 9th, greatly appreciates the support of its corporate sponsors, including the Amicus Foundation, The Famiglio Family, Regal Entertainment Group, Florida Design Works, Sack Family Foundation, BLVD. Sarasota, Boar's Head, and Wallack Family Fund.


Held annually in Sarasota, FL, the Sarasota Film Festival is recognized as a world-class platform for thought-provoking films from some of the best known and emerging independent voices. Consistently ranked in the top ten of the nearly 850 film festivals in North America, SFF emphasizes the best in cinema alongside exciting programs and events, with more than 250 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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