Academy Award nominee Frank Langella, The Artist co-star Penelope Ann Miller and indie filmmaker Todd Solondz are spotlighted guests of the 14th annual Sarasota Film Festival, running Friday through April 22.
Langella will accompany his latest film, the sci-fi caper Robot and Frank, to Friday's 7 p.m. opening night ceremonies at Van Wezel Performing Arts Center. Langella plays an aging thief whose robotic personal assistant becomes a partner in crime. He'll also sign copies of his book, Dropped Names: Famous Men and Women As I Knew Them, at 11 a.m. Saturday at Bookstore 1 in downtown Sarasota.
Langella, Miller, Solondz and documentarian Rory Kennedy (Ethel, about her mother, Ethel Kennedy) each will participate in the festival's In Conversation With . . . series, with onstage interviews in an Inside the Actors Studio vein. Dates, times and $20 advance tickets (if available) can be found at sarasotafilmfestival.com.
Solondz's latest work, Dark Horse (7:30 p.m. April 20), is the festival's centerpiece film, starring Christopher Walken and Mia Farrow as frustrated parents of an underachiever still living at home.
The festival concludes April 22 at Sarasota Opera House with award presentations at 6 p.m., followed by Joe Berlinger's documentary Under African Skies, chronicling the recording of Paul Simon's Grammy-winning album, Graceland.
Sarasota's lineup includes nearly 230 features, shorts and documentaries from 30 nations, glamorous parties and kid-friendly programs. Other celebrities expected to attend are actors Jena Malone (Donnie Darko, The Messenger), Jordan Gelber (Dark Horse) and Jess Weixler (Somebody Up There Likes Me).
Steve Persall, Times movie critic