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Rory Kennedy and Mark Famiglio

This just in: The Sarasota Film Festival has made its first announcement of upcoming stars and films for the 20th anniversary fest, April 13-22.

More news may make the press after a festival launch event set for next Wednesday, but for now we know this: Festival favorite Rory Kennedy returns with her latest documentary, Above and Beyond: NASA’s Journey to Tomorrow (which will be the closing night film, April 21 at the Sarasota Opera House), and actor-director Eric Stolz’s coming-of-age comedy Class Rank will open the festival Friday, April 13, also at the Opera House.

In addition, the festival announced it will honor actor Steve Guttenberg (Diner, Cocoon, Police Academy and Three Men and a Baby) and actress Virginia Madsen (Sideways, for which she received an Oscar nomination, Ghosts of Mississippi and TV’s Designated Survivor) with Career Achievement Awards during the closing weekend. Guttenberg currently stars in the comedy-drama Chasing the Blues, which will also screen at SFF. And Madsen costars in the drama 1985, about a young man's fears of coming out to his family in the early days of the AIDS crisis, also screening here.

Class Rank stars Olivia Holt, Skyler Gisondo, Kristin Chenoweth and Bruce Dern in the story of two New Jersey high school outsiders teaming up to fight the system from within. Above and Beyond helps to celebrate NASA’s 60th anniversary as it examines the agency’s history in space and the role it plays in measuring the health of our home planet.

“We are very excited to bookend the festival with two unique and groundbreaking films from two brilliant and creative directors,” said Mark Famiglio, chairman and president of the festival, in a released statement. “It is also an honor to recognize the contributions of Steve Guttenberg and Virginia Madsen to the film industry and celebrate their work from over the years.”

Stay tuned for more about the festival in the coming weeks, and visit sarasotafilmfestival.com to stay up to date.

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