Sarasota News Leader

03/29/2013

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THE A-LIST A still from Noah Baumbach's Frances Ha, this year's Sarasota Film Festival Closing Night Film. Image courtesy Kathryn Kennedy HOW THE SARASOTA FILM FESTIVAL IS MAKING A NAME FOR ITSELF IN THE NATIONAL INDEPENDENT FILM COMMUNITY By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor Alicia Van Couvering compares watching a film she's produced with an audience for the first time to dropping off your kid at daycare. "I love him," she says. "I think he's wonderful. He's a little weird. I hope people like him. I hope he doesn't get beat up." "I could see that this was a really fun world," she says. "It's profound. All these other people like the same stuff I do and we're all here at 11 a.m. after partying the night before to see the same movie." That thrill, of finally sharing a labor of love with a smart audience, is one reason Van Couvering keeps coming back to the Sarasota Film Festival, now in its 15th season. Van Couvering calls Sarasota audiences "so ready to see good films." She first came to Sarasota in 2008, when a shoot in St. Pete went bust and she was looking for investors. Instead, she found a community. Van Couvering's story is a common one — one you hear again and again during conversations with indie film professionals, most of them based in New York. Van Couvering mentions a recent Hollywood Reporter story documenting "The Rise of New York's Next Big Filmmakers." Nearly all of the names named have appeared in Sarasota at some point: from newly crowned Girls star Lena Dunham (whose

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