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A BIG SPLASH The party following the 2013 Sarasota Film Festival's opening night screening of Blackfish took place on the ground floor of the Van Wezel on April 5. All photos by Arielle Scherr BLACKFISH MAKES WAVES AT THE 2013 SARASOTA FILM FESTIVAL'S OPENING NIGHT By Tyler Whitson Staff Writer The forces behind the 15th annual Sarasota Film Festival (SFF) demonstrated to audiences this year that contemporary filmmakers are not afraid to intellectually stimulate and challenge viewers, despite what seems to have become the norm in Hollywood. screened at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota, SFF Director Tom Hall expressed his excitement about the audience turnout before explaining he trusted the attendees would appreciate the film. "It's not a conventional choice, I think, for opening night," he said. "When people see the movie, The SFF staff and Board of Directors worked I think they'll understand why we did it." to drive the point home from the very start of the program — which kicked off on April 5 BLACKFISH — by choosing the provocative documentary Blackfish — which was nominated for the Blackfish as the opening night film. Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at In a short interview with The Sarasota News the 2013 Sundance Film Festival — is an emoLeader a few minutes before Blackfish was tional film about orcas, or "killer whales," cap-

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