The 2021 Sunscreen Film Festival will be live and in person. The 2020 festival was postponed but occurred live in person on it's delayed dates of September 24-27, 2020. For a full breakdown of safety protocols visit

Sunscreen is known for its friendly atmosphere in a sun-kissed waterfront setting in the arts-centric city of St. Petersburg, FL. For 16 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 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, 2021.
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. Films must have been created no earlier than 2018.
3. Entrant's name, address, FilmFreeway tracking number, and the production's title must be on each disc or case.
4. All entries must be accompanied by the synopsis of the production's content (online on FilmFreeway).
5. Films promoting or advertising products or services for "for profit" companies (excluding music videos) will not be given consideration.
6. Entrants will be notified of acceptance into the program by March 15, 2021. Sunscreen Film Festival does not guarantee notification for entries that are not accepted for the Festival, but will strive to do so.
7. Entrant stipulates that they control all rights to the submission and that public exhibition is authorized during the 2021 Sunscreen Film Festival if the film is accepted to the Festival.
8. If selected, entrant agrees to provide a copy of the film in an approved format for public exhibition no later than March 15, 2021.
9. Exhibition copies of subtitled films MUST include "burn-in" subtitles. "Player generated" subtitles are not acceptable.
10. If the Entrant wishes to decline acceptance to the Sunscreen Film Festival, it must be provided in writing no later than February 25, 2021.
11. There are no refunds of submission fees.
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. 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
  • The Sunscreen Film Festival is outstanding. The people behind the scenes are phenomenal. St. Petersburg is a great city on the water in picturesque south Florida. The hotels, restaurants, and parks are in walking distance to the festival's venues. I highly recommend the experience.

    February 2021
  • It was truly an honor to be included in the Sunscreen Film Festival. Sadly, we could not attend due to covid travel restrictions. But you can bet we will be submitting again. Hopefully the world will get back to normal soon.

    The staffing was super nice. This is truly a filmmakers film festival.

    The Clam Kid - Short Film
    instagram #clammyjames

    November 2020
  • Lynn Marvin Dingfelder

    This is one of my favorite film festivals. The events are fantastic and the crowd always interesting. It's an honor to have our doc short selected this year (Best Florida Film) and even more exciting to win against all the other solid entrees. Thank you!

    October 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Lynn! We loved your film and love supporting Florida filmmakers like yourself!

  • Joshua Jaillet

    A big thank you to the Sunscreen Film Festival. 2020 has held many challenges, and our team can only imagine the number of moving parts involved in organizing and facilitating an event like this. Tony and the entire team did a great job making difficult calls, including retiming the event to allow for greater safety, and event developments were shared with proactive communication throughout. We appreciate “The Mechanical Dancer” being included in the lineup, and for the recognition it received in the animated short category!

    September 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thanks Joshua. It ha been a challenging year and we're thrilled we were able to still do this event and pull it off with great success!

  • danish renzu

    An amazing film festival! Very friendly crew and they really care for the filmmakers.

    September 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Danish! We loved having your film here and congrats on winning the Best Feature Film Award!