Sunscreen is known for its friendly atmosphere in a sun-kissed waterfront setting in the arts-centric city of St. Petersburg, FL. For 17 years the festival has screened top-notch indie films, provided our filmmakers quality workshops and panels packed with Hollywood talent, hosted great parties and has been the top film festival in the St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Tampa, Florida area.

The Sunscreen Film Festival was one of 23 festivals sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (the Oscars) in 2013-2014, named one of the top 25 “coolest’ film festivals by MovieMaker Magazine and Best Film Festival in the Tampa Bay Area by Tampa Bay Magazine.

The Sunscreen Film Festival is organized and presented by the Sunscreen Film Society., a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charity dedicated to education, economic development, informing the public about the art of visual storytelling, enhancing opportunities for local filmmakers to develop their craft and art, and increasing the public’s awareness and support of local filmmaking as a cultural and economic asset.

The Sunscreen Film Festival has grown from its first festival in a local art gallery in 2006 to an internationally recognized event in St. Petersburg, FL and Los Angeles, CA. The festival has come to be known for its commitment to diversity (in 2020 50% of films were by women); for taking chances on creative, edgy films; and for being a filmmakers film festival. Celebrating diversity is a core value of the city and the festival seeks each year to showcase that value.

One aspect that makes Sunscreen unique is our celebrities and special guests take part in workshops, classes, or other events that supports the festival’s mission. Everyone that attends Sunscreen is accessible and easy to interact with. Many filmmakers love the collegial atmosphere during the festival and appreciate the chance to learn from one another. Sunscreen provides around a dozen workshops during the festival each year.

Our goal is to encourage the creation, production, and exhibition of creative, independent film in Florida through our educational programs and public screenings, thereby increasing awareness and support of local filmmaking as a cultural and economic asset.

Sunscreen presents juried awards in the following categories:

Best Short Film
Best Florida Film (short or Feature)
Best Comedy (Feature)
Best Documentary Feature
Best Documentary Short
Best Web series Short
Best Narrative Feature Film
Best International Film (Feature)
Best International Film (Short)
Best Animated Film Short
Best High School Student Short
Best College Student Short
Best Director (Feature)
The Dale Pople Best Sci Fi Film Award
The Dave Barrett Cinematography Award

1. Productions may be created in any format, but all entries for pre-screening must be in a digital file.
2. Productions must be entered by the primary rights holder or their authorized representative. If you are acting on the behalf of the rights holder of the film, you may be required to furnish proof of authorization.
3. All entries must be in English, dubbed in English or contain on-screen English subtitles. Non-English entries submitted without dubbing or on-screen English subtitles will be automatically disqualified.
4. Entries must be be submitted by deadline dates.
5. Works-in-progress may be accepted for consideration, provided a completed version will be available by March 17, 2023.
6. We do not require, but STRONGLY RECOMMEND providing an "all audiences" trailer (downloadable) for your film in online format. This will greatly increase your chances of being included in all social media promotions for the Festival and social media is what this festival relies upon for advertising and promotion.
7. For each accepted entry, the Sunscreen Film Festival will allocate up to four (4) filmmaker passes to all festival events. A representative of your film must pick up all passes at check-in.
8. Based upon availability, Sunscreen will arrange discounts at hotels for filmmakers traveling to the Festival. This is provided on a first come, first serve basis.


1. Only complete entries (including entry, payment, and media file) will be processed and considered for screening.
2. Films must have been created no earlier than 2021.
3. Films promoting or advertising products or services for "for-profit" companies (excluding music videos) will not be given consideration.
4. Entrants will be notified of acceptance or non-acceptance into the fest by March 4, 2023.
5. Entrant stipulates that they control all rights to the submission and that public exhibition is authorized during the 2023 Sunscreen Film Festival if the film is accepted to the Festival.
6. If selected, entrant agrees to provide a copy of the film in an approved format for public exhibition no later than March 17, 2023.
7. If the Entrant wishes to decline acceptance to the Sunscreen Film Festival, it must be provided in writing no later than March 11, 2023.
8. There are no refunds of submission fees.
9. If your film is selected for screening, entrants will be required to fill out a festival acceptance form. The form link will be emailed to the contact person listed in FilmFreeway for all accepted films.
10. Participants agree that all materials related to their film (including excerpts of the film) may be published for any promotional purpose related to the Sunscreen Film Festival, including the Festival Program, Festival Web Site, and any local or national media. Posters and images of the film may be used independently or in combination with images from other films to promote the film and the Sunscreen Film Festival.
11. Productions must be entered by the primary rights holder or their authorized representative. If you are acting on the behalf of the rights holder of the film, you may be required to furnish proof of authorization. Films already steaming or available for purchase, films that have aired on a broadcast, cable or VOD platform for wide viewing by a general audience will not be accepted.
12. The undersigned shall indemnify and hold harmless Sunscreen Film Festival from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees, and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the screening videos entered.

Overall Rating
  • Sean Cisterna

    Sunscreen Film Festival was a stellar experience. Our team loved the opening night red carpets, the programming selections, the press opportunities and the industry parties. This festival delivered on all its promises and more, and the audiences couldn't have been more passionate. Thank you SUNSCREEN!

    May 2022
    Response from festival:

    It was a pleasure having you here. We love your film and hope to see more films from you at future festivals.

  • Adam William Cahill

    It was an honour and pleasure to screen Follow the Dead at this prestigious festival, and to have received 3 nominations also is just a dream. This is a tremendous festival with an incredible team behind it. We're sorry to have missed being there because of Covid travel restrictions, but hopefully one day we'll be there with another project.

    May 2022
  • This festival was a blast to attend! There were tons of filmmakers and artists at some of the largest parties I have ever seen, so plenty of networking opportunities. Great food, welcoming staff / volunteers, and it's near the beach! What more could you ask for? Thank you Sunscreen Film Festival for hosting our world premiere of the full environmental documentary series Tales of Sunshine: Florida EcoStories at your 2022 event - the Q&A following was the best experience I have ever had with a Q&A session! I'm looking forward to returning in the future.

    May 2022
    Response from festival:

    We love that you had such a great time! Please make more films so you can come back :)

  • Matt Tarr

    Sunscreen was very warm and welcoming to all of their filmmakers. They had lots of discounts for people traveling in and provided full days worth of screenings and workshops. The Sunscreen festival coordinators went out of their way to talk with all of the filmmakers and made sure they were having a good time.

    May 2022
    Response from festival:

    Thank you and we hope to have you back :)

  • David Morefield

    I'm fortunate to have this festival with clear communication, enjoyable viewing experience and professional conduct be the first festival I attended as a selected filmmaker. My film, 'DZ Machine' played in the short doc block and I was pleased to have an experience without issues. As you know or may imagine, you are hoping your film will play as you intended. I learned the process of DCP submission and I recommend using the vendor that they suggest. 10/10 I would attend again. Thank you for expanding the Florida filmmaking community and giving opportunities to new filmmakers.

    May 2022
    Response from festival:

    Thanks so much, we always work hard to provide the best filmmaker experience we can. Glad you enjoyed it!