Sunscreen is known for its friendly atmosphere in a sun-kissed waterfront setting in the arts-centric city of St. Petersburg, FL. Since 2006 the festival has screened top-notch indie films, provided our filmmakers with 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. Sunscreen is consistently ranked among the top 100 reviewed film fests on FilmFreeway out of over 9,000 festivals.

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 St. Petersburg Clearwater 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 become known for its commitment to diversity, taking chances on creative, edgy films; and 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 that our celebrities and special guests participate in workshops, classes, or other events supporting 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.

Diversity Statement: Sunscreen Film Festival

At the Sunscreen Film Festival, we believe that diversity is essential to the vitality and creativity of the film industry. We are committed to fostering an inclusive and equitable environment where filmmakers from all backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences can showcase their unique voices and stories.

Our festival celebrates the richness of human diversity by embracing filmmakers of diverse races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, religions, abilities, and socio-economic backgrounds. We strive to create a platform that reflects the world we live in and presents a diverse range of narratives and perspectives to our audience.

We are dedicated to promoting equal opportunities and breaking down barriers for underrepresented voices within the film industry. We actively seek out and support filmmakers who have traditionally been marginalized or underrepresented, including but not limited to women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, individuals with disabilities, and those from different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds.

To ensure a fair and inclusive selection process, we are committed to assembling a diverse panel of judges and industry professionals who understand the importance of representation. We continuously strive to eliminate any biases that may exist in the evaluation and selection of films, giving equal consideration to all entries based solely on their artistic merits and storytelling qualities.

In addition to our programming, we are dedicated to providing opportunities for networking, mentorship, and professional development to filmmakers from underrepresented communities. We actively collaborate with organizations and initiatives that share our commitment to diversity and inclusion, working together to create a more inclusive film industry.

We invite filmmakers, industry professionals, and film enthusiasts alike to join us in our mission to champion diversity, foster inclusion, and promote meaningful dialogue through the power of cinema. Together, we can create an environment where all voices are heard, respected, and celebrated.

Join us at the Sunscreen Film Festival, where diversity is at the heart of our programming and the driving force behind our commitment to shaping a more inclusive film industry.

Sunscreen Film Festival
St. Petersburg, FL

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, 2024.
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 2022.
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, 2024.
5. Entrant stipulates that they control all rights to the submission and that public exhibition is authorized during the 2024 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, 2024.
7. If the Entrant wishes to decline acceptance to the Sunscreen Film Festival, it must be provided in writing no later than March 11, 2024.
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. DCP's will not be mailed back unless the filmmaker provides a return shipping label.
13. 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
  • Kaylin Allshouse

    Thank you so much for a great experience! While we were not able to attend in person this year, the festival organizers were super responsive to all my communication and we felt proud to have had our film be shown!

    September 2023
  • Phoebe Mattana

    Huge thank you to Sunscreen for screening "The Nest" in their comedy shorts block! Such a well run festival with great communication, wonderful networking events, and a great lineup of films. Was very glad to have been able to attend and look forward to coming back in the future!

    August 2023
    Response from festival:

    Thank you and we hope to have you back at the fest!

  • Ashley Avis

    Sunscreen 2023 was absolutely phenomenal. One of my favorite festivals of the season, and we have been fortunate to travel to dozens with our documentary WILD BEAUTY: MUSTANG SPIRIT OF THE WEST.

    What makes Sunscreen stand out is the personal touch, great care, and excellence of the people who run it - particularly Tony Armer. This is an elegant festival we were very proud to be part of, and it was also a TON of fun. The events, panels, and parties were creative, the awards ceremony was beautiful, and St. Petersburg - which is right on the water, is just a fantastic city to visit and spend time in. So many bars and restaurants and things to do!

    Thank you Sunscreen for having us, and we look forward to hopefully seeing you again in the future!

    May 2023
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Ashley! We loved having you here and look forward to having you back again!

  • Achebe Dike

    This year's festival was great! I've been the previous years, but this was my first one going as a filmmaker. It's fantastic for networking and and meeting new people and getting everyone's insights on the process of making movies and just getting pumped up to make the next big project and submit it for next year. Thank you Sunscreen for the opportunity!

    May 2023
    Response from festival:

    You are welcome! Keep making great films and we'll see you at Sunscreen next year :)

  • Sunscreen Film Festival is a fantastic festival - filled with amazing films, networking opportunities, parties, and panels with industry pros. We truly had a fantastic time and were so grateful to be nominated for several awards. The festival takes place at a beautiful cinema with great sounds and projection. The volunteers are all smiling and stationed every step of the way to greet you and point you in the right direction - all in all - a fantastically run festival. I wish I could have been there for more of it, and plan to reserve a hotel for the whole festival next time! Thank you Sunscreen! You know how to do it right!

    May 2023
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for the kind words. We work very hard to put on a great festival and hope to have you back again.