Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Films in my inbox you may like

With every Sarasota Film Festival I get e-mails about films I should see or directors I should interview. Here's a few films that may be of interest to you gathered simply from the e-mails sitting in my inbox (all festival screenings are at Sarasota's Hollywood 20):

"Deadly Closure"
Shot in Sarasota with 100 Florida talent (I would love to see this one if I could)
E-mailed details: “Deadly Closure” is the story of Janis McKenzie, a 36-year-old Sarasota photographer portrayed by Lisa Varga of Fort Lauderdale (“Marley & Me” and “America’s Most Wanted”). Twenty years earlier, Janis had witnessed her evil twin brother kill their parents. Now, as her brother is about to be paroled from prison, she prepares for him to come to kill her for having testified against him. An event from her past military service in Kuwait will come back to compound her troubles. Expect the unexpected.

Kenneth Stellingwerf, a student at the Florida State University Asolo Conservatory, gives a chilling performance as the evil brother, Jamey McKenzie. The male lead character, Ben Rogers, Janis’s love interest and commanding officer in Kuwait, is played by David Mackey of Orlando.
Of the 40 actors with dialogue, 32 are Sarasota residents, including the two cameos – international star Audrey Landers (“A Chorus Line,” the movie) and comedienne Diane Ford (star of three HBO specials) – who add a light-hearted streak to the story.

Toni Ann Rossi, also known as Toni Huartson, a Realtor with the Jim Soda Group of Sarasota, plays Carol Dodd, a country club manager who befriends Janis. Rossi trained in Los Angeles at the Larry Moss Studio and spent 10 years in California honing her craft. There she was cast in “Scrubs,” “Judging Amy” and "Life with Bonnie," among other projects.

Other local actors include Daniel Landers in a brilliant performance as Jamey McKenzie at age 16; Jeffrey Kin, artistic director of the Player’s Theater, who portrays a homeless person; film composer Leon Salem, who plays a janitor; Mark Konrad, a former regular on the TV series “30 Rock,” who plays Sgt. Carlyle; Seva Anthony, former Las Vegas performer, who plays a psychologist; and Cliff Cespedes and Cliff Maples, who play a father and son pair serving as Jamey’s Sarasota accomplices. Cespedes is a well known local actor who is a policeman by day. He most recently was seen in “Fiddler on the Roof” and “The Pretender” at the Players Theatre in Sarasota.

Many characters play themselves, including Wes Roberts of SRQ magazine, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Vance Askins, Kay Rosier of Big Cat Habitat, dockmaster Sam Chavers and security guard Courtney Shusler.

See the Trailer. Last screening is 10:15 p.m. April 15

E-mailed details: The film portrays the flamboyant, outspoken founder of the Playboy empire and his many fierce battles with nearly all levels of the U.S. government, the religious right, and militant feminists.

See it at 7:30 p.m. April 15 or 2:15 p.m. April 17

E-mailed details: Sarasota director Ken Sons turns his lens to toys and toy inventors in a new, feature-length documentary film entitled, Toyland. Premiering at the 12th Annual Sarasota Film Festival this April 9-18th, Toyland promises a never-before-seen look at a place where fun is born and competition is fierce: The $22 billion dollar toy business!

See the Trailer

This one sounds good. Last chance to see it is 7 p.m. April 14

E-mailed details: After its successful world premiere at the SXSW Film Festival last month, indie film executive Jeff Deutchman's first feature film, 11/4/08, will make the Sarasota Film Festival its second stop on the festival circuit. The film was curated and edited by Deutchman and produced by he and Natalie Difford of Chicken and Egg Pictures.

Two weeks before the election of Barack Obama, Deutchman asked friends around the world to record their experiences of 11/4/08. Deutchman collected footage from Alaska to Chicago to Dubai and "curated" his findings into a feature-length "participatory documentary." What emerges is a portrait of how people choose to live through "history": the celebration of a potential new future remaining entangled with the universally visible tensions of the past.

See the Trailer.

Friday, April 16, 3pm @ Regal Cinemas Hollywood 20 - Theater 12
Sunday, April 18, 12:30pm @ Regal Cinemas Hollywood 20 - Theater 11

"Just About Famous"
E-mailed details: about celebrity impersonators

Watch Trailer

Playing 12:45 p.m. April 15

If you see any of these, tell me how they are.

- January Holmes

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