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April 4, 2008

A Little Girl Who Doesn't Exist (and other short films at the Sarasota Film Festival)

Well, today sees the kickoff the 10th Annual Sarasota Film Festival. It may be small fries amidst all the Bergman/Ullman masterpieces, but should you need a more minor does of introspection, you can catch A Catalog Of Anticipations on the big screen this weekend - in it's (by this point rarely seen) full triptych form! Tom and Holly have programmed it Shorts Block 7, which has the subtitle 'Learning Experiences; that's just about as appropriate a category for this film as one might hope for. Also look for a film in this block from good friend Benny Safdie, who's work has previously been shown alongside Catalog at Slamdance.

It's first screening is on April 6, and will be followed later in the day by Shorts Block 6, in which you can catch Mike Brune's amazing film The Adventure. Mike (who you may have seen as the lead in Alex Orr's delightful Blood Car), has somehow made a film that can only be described as European. 1960s European, to be exact. I don't know quite how he did it, but the grace and apparent ease with which he's executed this - his debut film! - puts me and lot of other filmmakers I know to shame.

Then comes Shorts Block 8, which features the festival premiere of James M. Johnston's Merrily, Merrily. To which I say thank goodness, and it's about damn time. This is James' best film, and the first which I think is just about perfect. I cut most of it, and technically co-wrote the story, but this is his work through and through. It's not an easy film to program, and maybe it's tough to appreciate, but I'd stand by every choice that makes it so unwieldy. Here, once again, is the trailer:

James will be in Sarasota to present the film at its second screening; I unfortunately will have to bow out this year, but I believe we'll both be at the Maryland Film Festival in May, where Catalog and Merrily will screen side by side once more.

Posted by David Lowery at April 4, 2008 12:45 AM