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Sarasota Film Festival luncheon honors Bill Paxton

Believe it or not, Bill Paxton is one of the biggest box office draws in Hollywood history, with $4.4 billion in tickets sold worldwide for his movies.

It helps that one of those flicks was Titanic, earning 40 percent of that total. Paxton, pictured below, has a knack for showing up in blockbusters such as Twister, Apollo 13 and Aliens, plus early, minor roles such as "Soldier" in Stripes and "Punk Leader" in The Terminator. Those count in the paper chase.

Friday at the Sarasota Film Festival, Paxton will receive a career achievement award at a posh luncheon at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. Tickets are $100 a plate. At 7 p.m., St. Petersburg Times film critic Steve Persall will moderate a discussion with Paxton about his lucrative resume at Asolo Theatre. Tickets are $20. Visit the festival Web site (www.sarasota for tickets.

The star of HBO's Big Love is part of a closing weekend invasion of celebrities at the 11th annual cinema showcase. Also expected are Oscar winner Jon Voight, David Carradine, Steve Buscemi and Stanley Tucci, among others, at Saturday's Filmmaker Tribute at Sarasota Opera House. Tickets for the 7 p.m. event ($35 to $225) are available online.

The highlight of that soiree is a posthumous honoring of director Hal Ashby (Harold and Maude, Shampoo, Being There), and awards for the festival's winning film entries.

Plenty of screenings — mostly $9 tickets — remain at Regal Hollywood 20, 1993 Main St., including Friday's 7:15 p.m. screening of Ashby's Lookin' to Get Out. Voight and co-star Burt Young will attend. The festival concludes Sunday with a 7:30 p.m. showing of the documentary Every Little Step ($20), tracing the history of the Broadway smash A Chorus Line.

Visit Reeling in the Years at this weekend for photos and reports from the festival.

Steve Persall, Times film critic

Sarasota Film Festival luncheon honors Bill Paxton 04/01/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 1, 2009 4:31am]
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