The 26th Annual Sarasota Film Festival
The Sarasota Film Festival, founded in 1998, is an international film festival hosted in Sarasota, Florida and viewable from around the world. The festival, one of the largest regional festivals in the world, is typically held each April, in support of its mission: to celebrate the art of filmmaking and the contribution of filmmakers by hosting an international film festival and developing year-long programs for the economic, educational, and cultural benefit of our community.

Independent and International narratives, docs and shorts are programmed into a schedule of over 150 features, themed shorts packages and additional programming sidebars that change each year to reflect the strengths of submitted films.

Festival events include socially-driven parties and private receptions to honor guest filmmakers, community-wide street festivals and the black-tie Filmmakers Tribute Dinner. SFF patrons have enjoyed intimate performances from Aerosmith and The B52's as well as a host of special appearances from local and international musicians.

A host of guests and filmmakers attend to promote their films and celebrate the accomplishments of their peers. Prior guests and honorees include Greg Kinnear, Steve Guttenberg, Virginia Madsen, Eric Stoltz, Diane Lane, Rosanna Arquette, Jane Seymour, Rachel Weisz, Blythe Danner, Rory Kennedy, Jason Momoa, Richard Jenkins, Elisabeth Moss, Peter Bogdanovich, Griffin Dunne, Lili Taylor, Cheryl Hines, Mariel Hemingway, Barbara Kopple, Christopher Plummer, Charlize Theron, Frank Langella, Ben Foster, Kevin Kline, Patricia Clarkson, Vincent D'onofrio, Steve Buscemi, Stanley Tucci, Werner Herzog, Edward Norton, Marcia Gay Harden, Sydney Pollack, Robert Altman, Robert Towne, Paula Wagner, Felicity Huffman, Allison Janney, William H. Macy, Gena Rowlands, Todd Haynes, Olympia Dukakis, Leslie Caron, Paul Reiser, Connie Nielsen, Sam Elliott, Alan Alda, Christian Slater, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Woody Harrelson, Robert Benton, Rita Moreno, Richard Dreyfuss, Tippi Hedren, Tom Selleck, Michael Stipe, and Jon Voight.

SFF presents Audience Awards for Best Narrative Feature, Documentary, World Cinema and Short. Juried awards are presented for Best Narrative Feature, Documentary Feature, Independent Visions, Narrative Short, Documentary Short, Animated Short and Young Filmmaker Showcase Awards. The Festival also acknowledges special projects through select awards.

**If you are 18 years old or younger and wish to submit to the "Hollywood Nights Young Filmmaker Competition", please see last paragraph.**

Submission Guidelines

Submission Formats:
For programming consideration, the festival accepts online screeners for the complete film. The Festival will not consider trailers or rough edits for selection purposes.

Eligibility Requirements:
To be eligible for consideration, all films must meet the following requirements:

i. Be available to screen by March 1, 2024. Filmmakers must provide the Sarasota Film Festival with a clean, clear print for projection. Filmmakers must provide the film for presentation in DCP (MUST be professionally authored) at the Festival’s sole discretion. PLEASE NOTE: Due to the digital transition of our screening locations, we are unable to show film, HDCAM, or BetaCam formats.

ii. Not have been commercially screened in the US, or available for video or internet distribution prior to March 1, 2024.

iii. Be in their original language with English subtitles when applicable.

iv. Have completed production within 2023.

v. Films previously submitted to the Festival and not programmed will only be considered for the 2024 Festival if they meet all the other eligibility requirements as outlined here, and only if it has changed significantly from the previous version submitted.

Early submission is strongly encouraged with reduced entry fees. The Festival is not obliged to view late entries.

Entry Fees:
All entry fees must accompany your submission for consideration in the Festival.

Submission Materials:
All submissions must adhere to the following guidelines;

i. We require ALL submissions to be registered with one of our submission platforms.

ii. Applicable entry fee submitted

iii: Electronic Press Kits only. Hard copy materials submitted with the films will be discarded.

Films will be selected and entrants will be notified around March 1, 2024.

Requirements for Selected Films:
Once an entry has been reviewed and selected for the festival, a preliminary notification letter will be issued by email. All selected applicants will be notified by March 1, 2024. Upon notification, the Sarasota Film Festival will request additional press kits, press screeners, posters, and postcards for each film.

Any unused press materials may be picked up at the press office at the conclusion of the Festival. All unclaimed materials will be disposed of immediately upon conclusion of the Festival.

Promotional Usage:
Participants agree that all materials related to their film may be published in the Festival Guide, website, ticketing system, and other promotional materials or property and in all media. Posters and images of the film may be used independently as well as in combination with images from other films to promote the film and the Sarasota Film Festival.

If selected for screening, all commercial/private property including trademark and/or copyrighted materials shown and recorded in the project must come with authorized permission for screening. The filmmaker remains entirely liable for any claims that may occur in result of screening the film.

Print Liability:
The Sarasota Film Festival holds no responsibility for prints damaged upon arrival and may reject or replace the film in the Festival if this requirement is not met. The Festival will insure the safety of film prints only from the time of delivery to the Festival through the time the print is delivered to a shipping agent for return. In case of loss or damage to a print, the Festival must receive notification and independent verification immediately. The Festival’s obligation is limited to compensating the producer only for the cost of replacing the damaged tape(s)/ drive(s).

Print Shipping:
Selected film prints must be received by PREPAID courier no later than 10 days prior to first screening date unless pre-approved by the Sarasota Film Festival.

Prints must be clearly marked with the film’s title, the sender’s return address and the Festival projection address exactly at the address provided.

Prints will be returned to the Submission Contact within 10 days after the close of the Festival unless pre-arranged with the Sarasota Film Festival prior.

Please clearly indicate on all waybills that transportation and customs charges will be billed to the sender. For custom’s purposes please indicate under declaration “Goods on loan for cultural and educational purposes only. No Commercial Value.” And indicate fair market value not to exceed U.S. $50 for drives.

Please request/obtain confirmation of delivery through the courier tracking service.

College Student/NYU Films:
Any film submitted to these categories must state the school they are with and upload a picture of your student ID. Any submission that does not meet these requirements will not be considered.

SRQ/FLA Filmmakers:
Any film submitted to this category must state what part of Florida their film is associated with.

Hollywood Nights Young Filmmaker Competition:
You must be 18 years of age or younger in order to submit to this category. Due to the number of incorrect submissions to this category, all Hollywood Nights Young Filmmaker Competition films must be submitted with proper identification (student ID, names of school, grade).

Overall Rating
  • Scott Barnett

    Sarasota has become one of the favorite festivals here in Florida, great people, parties and informative films. Always a great time!

    April 2024
  • It was a joy to have Sarasota Film Festival as a part of Meeting Mr. Oscar's journey. The staff were very accommodating on site, greeted us graciously and made us feel welcome. Our screening had a lovely audience and we connected with other filmmakers easily.

    April 2024
  • Carol McCann

    The Sarasota Film Festival was an utter delight. The venue is excellent - seeing my short film make its debut screening on a beautiful screen with a great projector in a lovely environment was a dream come true. The staff was fantastic - kind, supportive, and welcoming! And the community loves film! I can't wait to return with another project!!

    April 2024
  • Barbara Wolf

    The kids liked seeing their film in a festival. Programs (even digital) would have been nice. The one certificate at the end was not explained well and last year they had interviews with students to explain their film making process. Maybe a Q&A session with a real filmmaker at the end would be a nice way to wrap it up and add value to the event?

    April 2024
  • Amir Zargara

    Thanks for having us :)

    April 2024