Sunshine State festival fetes films

SARASOTA, Fla. — The Sarasota Film Festival announced winners of its competitive sections at an April 8 Filmmakers Tribute Dinner that honored thesps Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy, producer Paula Wagner, director/scribe Robert Towne and director Robert Altman.

Leslie Grief’s “Funny Money” opened the fest. The closing night film was Altman’s “Prairie Home Companion.”

Macy got more than kudos at Sarasota. He reported drumming up from locals about half the coin needed for his upcoming project, “The Deal.”

The romantic comedy is budgeted at $8 million. Macy has co-written the script, adapting from a novel, with creative partner Steven Schachter who will direct. Lisa Kudrow is slated to co-star, Macy said.

Pic will lense in Budapest and Macy aims to present it at next year’s fest.

“The great thing about this is it is outside Hollywood money,” Macy told Variety of support from Sarasota. “That’s the future — our only future.”

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