Saturday, April 5, 2008

Film Festival opening gala a 'magical' night

The 10th anniversary of the Sarasota Film Festival started with a film screening of "The Deal," starring William H. Macy and Meg Ryan. It sounds like a great movie, but I wouldn't know because the Van Wezel was sold out and I couldn't get a ticket. They did let me into the swank Opening Night Gala which followed the film screening.

Upon arrival, you could sit in a $100,000 Mercedes sedan if you wanted. Couldn't afford the car, but I did get a free pen that lights up.

There's nothing like partying in the courtyard of the Ringling Museum of Art. It's so beautiful and last night was no exception. The crowd was a mix of young and old - all dressed to the nines. I saw lots of bright colored long dresses. But it was steamy out, so I also saw lots of shiny, sweaty people.

A DJ was spinning tunes like "Funkytown" and "YMCA" which was fun to watch everyone dance to. The food and booze was flowing like crazy. There were tables piled with fancy cheeses, sushi and fried potstickers, a Greek-themed offering and tons of shrimp. For dessert, there was an entire table of cupcakes. It looked like almost 1,000! The strangest thing about the food tables was that there were these really in-shape girls in skimpy magic-themed outfits dancing in the center of the tables! Needless to say, I didn't have a cupcake.

As for the celebs. I saw "The Deal" actor Jason Ritter, but I didn't manage to find Mr. Macy in the crowd. I'm never much for star-gawking anyway.

The party was great. But remember, folks there are more than 200 films screening at the festival and you should take some time out this weekend or next week to check some of them out. In Sunday's A&E section, we recommend 10 you should see.

- Jana Morreale, ACCENT editor

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