The Sunscreen Film Festival is known for its friendly atmosphere in a sun-kissed waterfront setting in the very artsy city of St. Petersburg, FL. For 15 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 with 300 attendees in 2006 to an internationally recognized event with an annual attendance of over 3000 in St. Petersburg, FL and Los Angeles, CA. The festival has come to be known for its commitment to diversity (in 2019 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 3 days of workshops while movies are screening.

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 Documentary Feature
Best Documentary Short
Best Web series Short
Best Narrative Feature Film
Best Foreign Language Film (Feature or Short)
Best Animated Film Short
Best Student Short
Best Director (Feature)
Best Actor (Feature)
Best Actress (Feature)
Best Screenplay (Feature)
Breakout Film 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 15, 2020.
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.

9. The Sunscreen Film Festival makes every effort to exhibit submitted films in the best possible quality. Please keep in mind films at the festival are show at an AMC theater thus giving your film the very best visual and sound options. We only accept digital files for exhibition. Feature films require DCP if possible. Shorts should be high-res .mov files under 5 GB in NTSC format. Any technical questions can be directed to


1. Only complete entries (including entry, payment, and media file) will be processed and considered for screening.
2. Entrant's name, address, FilmFreeway tracking number, and the production's title must be on each disc or case.
3. All entries must be accompanied by the synopsis of the production's content (online on FilmFreeway).
4. Films promoting or advertising products or services for "for profit" companies (excluding music videos) will not be given consideration.
5. Entrants will be notified of acceptance into the program by February 15, 2020. Sunscreen Film Festival does not guarantee notification for entries that are not accepted for the Festival, but will strive to do so.
6. Entrant stipulates that they control all rights to the submission and that public exhibition is authorized during the 2020 Sunscreen Film Festival if the film is accepted to the Festival.
7. If selected, entrant agrees to provide a copy of the film in an approved format for public exhibition no later than March 15, 2020.
8. Exhibition copies of subtitled films MUST include "burn-in" subtitles. "Player generated" subtitles are not acceptable.
9. If the Entrant wishes to decline acceptance to the Sunscreen Film Festival, it must be provided in writing no later than February 25, 2020.
10. There are no refunds of submission fees.
11. If your film is selected for screening, entrants will be required to immediately supply a press kit for promotional purposes consisting of A) an approved story synopsis of less than 150 words B) at least two photographs of scenes in the film for our Program Guide and C) a brief statement about the film from a key member of the creative team. These materials should be provided digitally with artwork or photos in a minimum resolution of 300 DPI. We do not require but appreciate any additional publicity material that is available (posters, postcards, etc.) and a complete credit list. These materials cannot be returned.
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. 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
  • Thiago Dadalt

    Great Festival, great films and great people. I can't wait to come back soon.

    July 2019
  • Jay Alvarez

    The programming director is outstanding. I could talk about how he balances the financial necessity to schedule marketable films while also championing courageous, distinctive, transcendent ones; but let me mention instead how his experience in politics is present in the man's practiced and infectious social grace. The softest spot in my heart is reserved for slick, mellifluous defense attorneys, but an almost imperceptibly second-softest spot is dedicated to keen, smiling, savvy, energetic politicians. When these qualities are possessed by an intelligent programmer who goes out of his way to support my film—and whose well-funded festival, run by an impressive, helpful, and affable staff, attracts a fascinating Floridian audience to watch it—an effusive review soon comes cascading out of this grateful, game-weary alumnus.

    June 2019
    Response from festival:

    Jay thanks so much for your extremely generous comments! We appreciate you noting that Sunscreen will strive to be a champion for the courageous, risk taking films...we love them! Thanks for sharing your film with us and taking a chance on us! The audience greatly appreciated it! We are anxious for your next project!

  • Vinh-Minh Nguyen

    We weren't able to attend but were very happy about the smooth communication with the festival staff.

    June 2019
    Response from festival:

    Always great to hear the communication was smooth! Thanks for your help with that by responding with the necessary details! Thanks for sharing your film with us!

  • Daniel Montoya

    The Festival is amazing, great movies in a beautiful city, can't wait to go back! Our short film "him" screened there and we had a wonderful time sharing with the audience. The selection this year was outstanding and very supportive of LGBTQ rights.

    May 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for your review! Thanks as well for sharing your must see short with our community. LGBTQ themes are ones that Sunscreen always wants to include! We cannot wait to see your next project!

  • Katarzyna Kochany

    Communication was excellent, solid social media and a classy program PDF made available for those who couldn't attend.

    May 2019
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for taking the time to do a review! Always encouraging to hear that communication was good!!