Eric Stoltz’s Comedy 'Class Rank' to Open Sarasota Film Fest

Eric Stoltz and Rory Kennedy - Split - Getty - H 2018
Left, David Livingston, right, Amanda Edwards, both Getty Images

Oscar-nominated documentarian Rory Kennedy’s 'Above and Beyond: NASA’s Journey to Tomorrow' will serve as the closing-night film.

The Sarasota Film Festival has unveiled its 2018 lineup, which will include Eric Stoltz’s coming-of-age comedy Class Rank as the opening-night film. In addition, Oscar-nominated documentarian Rory Kennedy’s Above and Beyond: NASA’s Journey to Tomorrow will serve as the closingnight film.

The festival, celebrating its 20th anniversary, also will honor Steve Guttenberg and Virginia Madsen with career achievement awards during the closing weekend.

“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 Sarasota Film Festival. “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.”

Class Rank will screen on April 13 at the Sarasota Opera House. The film revolves around two teenagers (Olivia Holt, Skyler Gisondo) who prepare for life after high school, teaming up to achieve their goals and make their dreams a reality. Kristin Chenoweth and Bruce Dern co-star. Director Stoltz, whose credits include Mask, Pulp Fiction and Madam Secretary, will be in attendance along with producer Sandy Stern.

Kennedy, whose Last Days in Vietnam was nominated for best feature documentary at the 2015 Academy Awards, also will be on hand for her film's premiere on April 21 at the Sarasota Opera House. The film chronicles NASA's accomplishments and its vital role in America's future as the space agency celebrates its 60th anniversary.

Guttenberg will be honored for starring in more than 60 films across an array of genres, including Diner, Cocoon, the Police Academy movies and Three Men and a Baby. Guttenberg co-stars in Chasing the Blues -- a comedy-drama about the search for a rare but cursed blues record -- which will screen at the festival.

For her part, Madsen will receive a career achievement award for her Oscar-nominated role in Alexander Payne’s Sideways as well as her work in such films as The Rainmaker, Ghosts of Mississippi, Joy and TV’s Designated Survivor. The actress co-stars in the drama 1985 — about a young man’s fears of coming out to his family in the early days of the AIDS crisis — which also will screen at the festival.

The Sarasota Film Festival is set to run April 13-22.