A documentary on the life and career of actress Rita Moreno opens the Sarasota Film Festival April 30. 

This just in: The 23rd annual Sarasota Film Festival has announced several of the titles on its slate for this year’s hybrid mix of virtual and in-person screenings, April 30 through May 9.

The documentary Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It will be the festival’s opening night film April 30. (Moreno attended the SFF some years ago as an honoree.) Dream Horse, starring Toni Collette and Damian Lewis in the true story of a small-town bartender who breeds a racehorse, will be the closing night film, May 8. And a screening of Centigrade, starring Vincent Piazza (Jersey Boys, Boardwalk Empire) in what’s billed as a “Midnight Horror Special” will also be screened, focusing on a married couple fighting for survival while trapped inside a frozen car following a blizzard.

Toni Collette and Damian Lewis star in Dream Horse.

It was also announced that filmmakers James Reed and Pippa Ehrlich, who directed the popular My Octopus Teacher (an Oscar nominee for Best Documentary Feature this year), will receive the Excellence in Documentary Filmmaking Award during the festival. My Octopus Teacher, following Craig Foster as he forges an unusual friendship with an octopus living in a South African kelp forest, will play as the festival’s Centerpiece, and both Reed and Ehrlich will participate in the “In Conversation With...” series.

The documentary My Octopus Teacher will play as the festival's Centerpiece film.

The 2021 hybrid format will feature outdoor and public showings as well as virtual screenings and events. Tickets for the festival will go on sale beginning Thursday, April 15; additional programming announcements are to come soon.

For more information, visit sarasotafilmfestival.com.

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