The Sarasota Film Festival (SFF) has selected Golden Globe-nominated and Independent Spirit Award-nominated Eric Stoltz’s coming-of-age comedy Class Rank as its Opening Night film and Academy Award-nominated and Emmy-winning Rory Kennedy’s Above and Beyond: NASA’S Journey to Tomorrow as its Closing Night film for the 20th anniversary edition. The festival will also honor renowned actor Steve Guttenberg and Academy Award-nominated actress Virginia Madsen with Career Achievement Awards during the closing weekend.
“We are very excited to bookend the festival with two unique and groundbreaking films from two brilliant and creative directors,” said Mark Famiglio, Chairman and President of the Sarasota Film Festival. “It is also an honor to recognize the contributions of Steve Guttenberg and Virginia Madsen to the film industry, and celebrate their work from over the years.”
Class Rank will open the festival on Friday, April 13 at the Sarasota Opera House with a 7:30PM screening. In this light-hearted, quirky comedy, two teenagers (Olivia Holt, Skyler Gisondo) prepare for life after high school, teaming up to achieve their goals and make their dreams a reality. Kristin Chenoweth and Bruce Dern co-star. Director Eric Stoltz (Mask, Pulp Fiction) and producer Sandy Stern will be in attendance at the screening.
Academy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker Rory Kennedy (Last Days In Vietman, Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton) will be in attendance for the festival’s Closing night film Above and Beyond: NASA’S Journey to Tomorrow, an intimate look at NASA’s accomplishments and their vital role in our future as the renowned institution celebrates its 60th Anniversary. The Discovery Documentary will screen at the Sarasota Opera House on Saturday, April 21 beginning at 6:00PM.
Steve Guttenberg will be receiving a Career Achievement Award during the Closing Weekend. Guttenberg has starred in more than 60 films across an array of genres and is known for his roles in Diner, Cocoon, the Police Academy comedies, and Three Men And A Baby. Guttenberg costars in Chasing The Blues – a comedy-drama about the search for a rare but cursed blues record – screening at the 20th SFF.
Academy Award-nominated actress Virginia Madsen will also receive the Career Achievement Award during the Closing Weekend. Madsen is known for her work in Alexander Payne’s Sideways, which garnered her an Oscar nomination, The Rainmaker, Ghosts of Mississippi, Joy, and many others. Madsen costars in the drama 1985 – about a young man’s fears of coming out to his family in the early days of the AIDS crisis – which will show at the 20th SFF.
The 20th annual Sarasota Film Festival, will take place from April 13th to April 22nd, 2018.