Long time friends Jon Voight and Burt Young share a moment during the often moving tribute to the late, great director Hal Ashby (Coming Home, Harold and Maude) at the 2009 Sarasota Film Festival. Voight and Young co-starred in Ashby’s 1982 film Lookin’ to Get Out, the director’s cut of which was recently discovered in the UCLA Film Archives and world premiered in Sarasota the night before the tribute. Ashby’s daughter Leigh MacManus was on hand to accept the SFF’s Master of Cinema award on her father’s behalf and gave a stirring thank you speech wherein she spoke of never knowing her father and how much the closing moments of Lookin’ to Get Out meant to her. I won’t spoil the film for you (director’s cut out soon on Warner Home Video!), but suffice to say, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house and both MacManus and Voight were brought to tears during the evening.
Besides The Rabbi Report, I was also down in Sarasota for Filmmaker Magazine and today they published my report from the fest. Check it out, y’all!
After the jump, a few pix from the festival!
Friday, March 31st saw the kick off of what has the potential of being, along with SXSW, an excellent Southern U.S. one-two punch on the domestic fest circuit. Under the expert stewardship of exec director Jody Kielbasa and 2nd year director of programming Tom “Come on you Reds!” Hall, The Sarasota Fim Festival has been on the lips of many an industryite when the question of “Where to?” is asked in April. Wanna know why?
Well for starters, a good public festival (as opposed to mainly industry events like Sundance and Cannes) should have a healthy mix of films and events that appeal to both the film fanatic and the weekend multi-plexer, with plenty of crossover opportunities. Not that the former fests don’t have a mix, it’s just that, well, Jane and John Q. Public don’t get to go to those places, really.