If It Bleeds

Movie About On-Air Sarasota Suicide Screens at Film Festival April 2 and 3

Kate Plays Christine comes to Sarasota after winning a special jury award at Sundance and earning rave reviews from a number of critics.

By Cooper Levey-Baker March 23, 2016

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Kate Lyn Sheil in Kate Plays Christine

After winning a special jury award at January's Sundance Film Festival and earning rave reviews from a number of critics, Kate Plays Christine, a documentary about the live on-air suicide of Sarasota TV reporter Christine Chubbuck, will screen as part of the Sarasota Film Festival next weekend.

The film is not your typical documentary. To examine Chubbuck's story, filmmaker Robert Greene follows actress Kate Lyn Sheil, perhaps best known for House of Cards, as she prepares to play the role of Chubbuck. In 1974, Chubbuck, then 29, shot herself in the head during a live broadcast on Sarasota's ABC station. To research Chubbuck's story, Sheil travels to Sarasota and reenacts scenes from her life. Photos from Greene's Twitter account and the movie's account include pictures from Siesta Key, the Gulf and, ominously, The Bullet Hole, the downtown Sarasota gun shop.

A number of critics have praised the film since its Sundance showing. The Hollywood Reporter called it "a fascinating process movie about acting and storytelling, but also a curious meta-contemplation of our own voyeuristic attraction to tragedy," and Variety described it as a "haunting provocation."

So there's little surprise that it was picked up by the Sarasota Film Festival, which will show it to local audiences that will likely include some viewers who remember Chubbuck's suicide. For those of us who didn't live in Sarasota at the time (or who weren't even alive), it's a chance to see our city's darker side explored on the big screen.

To see a clip from the movie, click here

Kate Plays Christine will be shown at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 2, and at 8:15 p.m. Sunday, April 3, at Regal Cinemas Hollywood 20, 1993 Main St., Sarasota. Tickets are $20, $18 for Film Festival members.

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