Sunscreen Film Festival

Lights, Camera, Action! Sunscreen Film Festival Returns

The 18th Annual Sunscreen Film Festival returns to the Tampa Bay area April 27-30, 2023, bringing a full slate of feature films, short films, workshops, and a slew of talented film industry professionals and storytellers for four days rich in movie magic. The festival, presented by the St. Petersburg-Clearwater Film Society, typically draws over 10,000 movie lovers and aspiring filmmakers to celebrate cinema. This year’s film events are scheduled to take place at the AMC Sundial 12 Theaters located at 153 2nd Avenue North in downtown St. Petersburg.

The 2023 lineup of 41 feature-length films spans a range of genres including drama, comedy, international, documentary, thriller and more, and its 150 scheduled short films take on 19 different themes. The festival opens with the premiere screening of A Taste of Love, the story of a network TV chef struggling to find their voice. The film, shot mostly in Dunedin and Clearwater, features actors Erin Cahill, Jesse Kove, and Martin Kove, who will be in attendance for the premiere event.

The Sunscreen Film Festival offers fans a chance to ask questions of actors, directors, and other crew in attendance.
The Sunscreen Film Festival offers fans a chance to ask questions of actors, directors, and other crew in attendance.

Our entire community has been anticipating the premier opening of A Taste of Love since it was filmed in Dunedin,” said City of Dunedin Mayor Julie Ward Buljaski. “Showcasing our beautiful coastal community through a great movie story is a win for everyone.”

At this year’s festival, local and Florida-made films will be in the spotlight which includes a collection of college and high school shorts, as well. Another priority of the festival’s organizers is to reflect diversity in the industry, and one of the most notable demonstrations of this commitment is in the festival’s lineup with more than half of this year’s films written, directed or produced by women. The 2023 slate of films also includes a significant number of films made by people of color and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

“We’re excited to present a diverse and entertaining group of films for this year. The 2023 festival has something for everyone,” said Doug Tschirhart, festival programming director.

Over 10,000 movie fans, film professionals and filmmakers gather annually for The Sunscreen Film Festival.
Over 10,000 movie fans, film professionals and filmmakers gather annually for The Sunscreen Film Festival.

The St. Petersburg-Clearwater Film Society, is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization committed to educating the public and building awareness about visual storytelling, as well as providing support and opportunities for filmmakers to develop their craft. What started in 2005 as an intimate small film screening weekend hosted by local arts gallery Studio@620 with a little over 600 attendees and filmmakers has grown considerably over its storied history. As attendance grew, movie fans congregated in the historic Vinoy Renaissance Resort and Golf Club’s lush ballroom. By 2009 with the addition of a central shopping plaza and multi-screen movie theater in downtown St. Pete, the Sunscreen Film Festival moved one last time to its current home at AMC 12 Sundial. Throughout the years, various movie stars have made appearances at festival events including John Travolta, Patrick Wilson, Billy Dee Williams and others. During the year, the Society also hosts special film events and workshops.

In addition to a jam-packed schedule of film screenings, movies buffs and aspiring filmmakers at this year’s festival can attend valuable workshops, exciting parties after the screenings, and this year’s awards party and closing ceremony (with a VIP, Day, Industry, Sponsor or Filmmaker pass). Another popular event returns, Chicks Making Flicks Power Brunch, on Saturday, April 29 at The Palladium in St. Pete. This separately-ticketed event held during the Festival celebrates and promotes the growing presence of women in the film and TV industries and includes guest speakers, a filmmaker panel and silent auction.

This festival has really put the St. Pete-Clearwater area on the film world map,” said Tony Armer, Sunscreen Film Festival co-founder. “It’s been amazing to see the thousands of people who have traveled in to attend and the positive effect it’s had on the area over the years.”

For the complete schedule of movie screenings including film descriptions, screening times, and ticketing information, visit the festival website by clicking here. Movie buffs also can stay ‘in the know’ about the latest news regarding celebrity appearances and related film events at the Festival’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

All photos and images courtesy of Sunscreen Film Festival unless otherwise specified.

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