Film event unveils competition lineups

Steven Schachter’s “The Deal” starring William H. Macy and Meg Ryan will open the 10th annual Sarasota Film Festival. The home-grown adaptation of Peter Lefcourt’s Hollywood comedy, written by Macy and Schachter, was co-produced by fest exec director Jody Kielbasa and financed partly by a dozen Sarasota investors. “The Deal” premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.

“There is a ton of local interest in this film,” said Sarasota programmer Tom Hall, who said he doesn’t consider the programming choice a conflict-of-interest. “With this we’re actually hoping to encourage other filmmakers to use the festival to seek investment for future projects.” Hall named “Canvas” Film director Joseph Gecco and “Hounddog” helmer Deborah Kampmeier as filmmakers who have also received funds from Sarasota investors.

With “The Deal,” the festival assisted Macy by setting up meetings and navigating local investment options. Hall said there is so much interest in film by wealthy Sarasotans that they’re considering further initiatives, including an institute modeled after Sundance.

The festival also announced their competition lineups. Narrative selections include Sergei Bodrov’s “Mongol,” Cristian Nemescu’s “California Dreamin'” and Helen Hunt’s “Then She Found Me.” Nanette Burnstein’s “American Teen” and Josh Koury’s “We Are Wizards” will unspool in the doc competition. Fest also runs an Independent Visions Competition, with Alex Karpovsky’s “Woodpecker” and Emily Hubley’s “The Toe Tactic” as selections vying for a $5000 cash prize.

Retrospectives include “The Films of Liv Ullman and Ingmar Bergman” and “Israel@60: The Nation, The Diaspora and Beyond.”

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