Load up on the popcorn, Sarasota. The Sarasota Film Festival is packing in 235 movies for its 2012 installment.
The festival released its full list of movies at a kick-off party Monday night at where festival executive director Tom Hall highlighted some key guests for the film festival.
Tickets, passes and packages go on sale at 11 a.m. Friday at The SFF Box Office, located inside the lobby of the , 1993 Main St. or online, featuring a new online ticketing system at sarasotafilmfestival.com.
(New this year on the tech end is an Sarasota Film Festival iPhone app that lists all movies, venues, show times, and gives the user the ability to filter information and rate the movies they see.)
Hall revealed more confirmed guests for the festival at Monday night's event including the daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, Rory Kennedy. Rory Kennedy is a documentary filmmaker and examines Ethel Kennedy, her mother and widow to Robert F. Kennedy in the movie Ethel. Rory Kennedy will be at the festival to present the film and the festival is trying to arrange for Rory to be part of the Conversations Series.
Ethel will be screened at 6:45 p.m., Sunday, April 15 and at 7:30 p.m., Monday April 16 at the Regal Cinemas Hollywood 20.
Also confirmed are Dominic Monaghan (Lost, The Lord of the Rings trilogy) and Ashley Bell (The Last Exorcism) will be on hand to present WWE Studio’s new horror thriller The Day.
"It's top-class film. We're really, really excited to be showing it," Hall said.
Yes, that's right. The wrestling industry is in the movie making business, picking up the film for distribution at the Toronto International Film Festival, Hall said.
"Even though the film doesn't have any wrestlers in it and it's not about wrestling, we're working with them to get some of their superstars down here to walk the red carpet as part of the screening and the spectacle around the day," Hall said.
Centerpiece film Dark Horse will be screened at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 20 at , Hall said. Cinema Tropicale will be a new event that evening at the Sarasota Yacht Club, Hall announced, replacing the Night of A Thousand Stars.
The Conversation Series features Frank Langella from Robot & Frank and Todd Solondz from Dark Horse confirmed to participate in the SFF’s annual discussion program. Langella will also sign copies of his upcoming memoir Dropped Names: Famous Men and Women As I Knew Them at Sarasota’s Bookstore 1 on Saturday, April 14 at 11 a.m. More Conversation Series events will be added in the coming days.
Jack Schreier's Robot & Frank will open up the festival on Friday, April 13 at . Schreier and actor Frank Langella from the film will attend the opening night festivities, according to the festival organizers.
Under African Skies will be the festival's closing night film at the on Saturday, April 21. Awards for the festival will be presented prior to the movie, and will be a combo ticket, Hall said.
Directed by Academy Award nominee Joe Berlinger, the film follows the story of Paul Simon going tout to South Africa in 1985 to record with local musicians and how to play their music. That collaboration turned into Simon's 1986 album Graceland. Despite the popularity of the album, Simon was accused of violating a cultural boycott of South Africa that was going on as countries tried to end apartheid in that nation.
Hall will shift from wrangling film to people as he's trying to bring in 100 confirmed guests and have another pile of names respond to their invitations.
"That's like a military operation," Hall joked. Not only arranging travel to Sarasota and gaining housing, but shuttling them to and from events and screenings.
"Once the festival starts, it's a whole different operation. You're delivering things and you have to ride the wave."
The festival has a lot going on with just the 235 films alone, and success will be measured in two fronts, Hall explained.
"One is our sort of national press and outreach to the film industry, and that's vital to what we do. Without that support, we are not able to attract films and filmmakers," Hall said. "A big part of what we do is show Sarasota as a platform for their films."
The other front is in Sarasota, and also in Bradenton this year, measuring attendance, gathering data about attendees and economic impact to the community.
"Success for us is an increase in attendance and reinforcing our reputation with us as a strong regional festival," Hall said.
Tickets on sale 11 a.m. Friday at , or online, featuring a new online ticketing system at sarasotafilmfestival.com. Get the complete listing and schedule of movies on your iPhone with the Sarasota Film Festival app.