The 16th Annual Sunscreen Film Festival
Returns with Normal Schedule in St Pete
The 16th Annual Sunscreen Film Festival in St. Petersburg returns to normal in April as it will operate during its regular schedule with a full slate of films and workshops. They will kick off the event on opening night, April 29, will kick off the four-day event with a screening of “Electric Jesus,” (BELOW) an award-winning film about a teenager in the 1980’s who goes on the road with a Christian hair metal band. You might recognize one of the actors in the film, Brian Baumgartner, who played Kevin on “The Office.”
Thirty-one feature films from the U.S. and around the world in various categories including foreign, documentary, thriller, drama, and comedy will be shown: plus, 130 short films across 16 different thematic blocks. See the complete schedule here.
Local Florida made films will also be shown. A couple of those include, “Marcus,” and “The Fish Don’t Care When It Rains.” Other local films scheduled include a collection of college and high school short films.
Fans of “The Karate Kid,” and of the actor Pat Morita, who played the role of Mr. Miyagi, will have the opportunity to get to know the real Pat Morita’s off-screen life story in the documentary, “More than Miygai,” scheduled to play at the festival. According to the film, Morita battled many demons throughout his life that not even alcohol or drugs could hide.
The festival has partnered with AMC Theater in Sundial to host the event. It will be in-person, and coronavirus safety guidelines are in place at AMC. One of its policies is reduced theater capacity by 50 percent. AMC’s website said it has enhanced cleaning procedures and has social distancing standards before, during and after screenings. Masks are required. The full list of safety guidelines can be viewed here.
“Not only is the Sunscreen Film Festival the longest running mainstream film festival in the Tampa Bay area, but it has also become a widely recognized festival around the world,” Tony Armer, St. Petersburg Clearwater Film Commissioner and Sunscreen Film Festival founder, said. “To be able to present a safe and clean event and still support the independent film community is great to see.”
The Sunscreen Film Festival is scheduled April 29 through May 2. For more information about screenings and actor workshops, visit Sunscreen Film Festival 2021.
More About the Annual Sunscreen Film Festival
At its inception in 2005, the then titled “Sunscreen Film and Video Festival” was fortunate to find a home at the quaint [email protected], a local arts gallery in St. Petersburg, Florida. The burgeoning festival screened 35 short and feature films over a two-day period, including two world premieres and played to a crowd of over 600 attendees and filmmakers, which at times resulted in a standing-room only.
In 2007 and 2008, the historic Vinoy Renaissance Resort and Golf Club hosted Sunscreen in its picturesque downtown St. Petersburg ballroom. As Sunscreen continued to expand and gain in popularity, increasing the number of films and world premieres, in 2009, Sunscreen moved its venue to a centralized shopping district and a 20-screen movie theater. The three-year-old festival featured an impressive number of films and celebrity appearances by actors like John Travolta, Kelly Preston (2008 and 2010), Patrick Wilson, Bill Cobbs, Jefferey Donovan, Michael Rooker, and Billy Dee Williams, to name a few.
Shortly after Sunscreen’s 2009 festival, MovieMaker magazine voted Sunscreen one of the “25 Coolest Film Fests” in the country and was voted the Best of Destination Tampa Bay™ Area Film Festival in 2012 by Tampa Bay Magazine.
In 2013, the Sunscreen Film Festival expanded to Los Angeles, holding two film festivals each year: the original St. Petersburg, Florida version in the spring and the newly opened Los Angeles version in the fall. Between 2013-2014, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences proudly selected Sunscreen to join its ranks as the 23rd film festivals in the nation to be sponsored and acknowledged and awarded a Festival Grant.
Today, Sunscreen boasts an annual attendance of over 10,000! and is organized and presented by the St. Petersburg-Clearwater Film Society, a not-for-profit 501(c) (3) organization, which is dedicated to educating the public about the art of visual storytelling, enhancing opportunities for filmmakers to develop their craft and art, and increasing the public’s awareness and support of filmmaking as a cultural asset. The annual Sunscreen Film Festival supports and enhances St. Petersburg’s economic profile by putting on an internationally recognized event to draw tourism and international media coverage to St. Petersburg, Florida.
Content received from multiple sources. All photos are for editorial use only. All rights reserved. Some of the photos are from previous year’s Sunscreen Film Festival.