Thursday, November 20, 2008

Film Festival headed towards "Reel Changes"

The Sarasota Film Festival had its first big event of the season last night at Sarasota Michael's on East giving a taste of what to expect from next year's festival, which is slated for March 27-April 5.

The 11th annual festival should prove interesting as we see how organizers will run the popular event without Jody Kielbasa, who served as executive director of the festival for the last 10 years, and in a budget crunch that has cut their annual festival spending in half.

So it's fitting that next year's theme for the 10-day event is "Reel Changes." Expect to see many of the same parties, events and star-studded celebrities, but there will be several new things in the mix too. One such thing is the establishment of the Florida Film Consortium, a special year-round program geared towards aspiring film makers that will give them access to film professionals in a national and international scope. This has been a long-time goal of the festival that has finally come to fruition. University of Tampa professor and film producer Tom Garrett has been named the festival's new director of educational programs and special initiatives. Garrett will be working closely with the new program.

The Sarasota Film Festival is now accepting film submissions for next year as well. Tom Hall, director of programming, hinted in a press release that the 2009 event will feature another multi-faceted schedule of films. He's already received numerous submissions. Look for new programming changes too, he said.

- January Holmes

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