(ST. PETERSBURG, Fla- April 11) – The 12th Annual Sunscreen Film Festival announces its star-studded schedule, opening April 27. Known for its diversity of films and workshops, the Sunscreen Film Festival will feature foreign language films, social awareness films and documentaries, various short programs, and an exhaustive workshop schedule stacked with notable talent; this year’s festival is bigger than ever.
Each year the Sunscreen Film Festival honors two esteemed members of the film community. Presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award is actor and musician, Robert Davi (Die Hard, The Goonies). Having appeared in more than 100 films from blockbuster hits to cult-classics, Davi has become one of films most beloved “bad guys.” Davi’s recent endeavors in the music business earned him a top spot on the charts with his debut album, Davi Sings Sinatra- On the Road to Romance. The Sunscreen Film Festival will be premiering for the first time in Florida, Davi’s newest film, Davi’s Way, screening on April 29.
The Legacy Award will be presented to Joe Pantoliano (The Matrix, The Soprano). The Emmy award winning actor made a name for himself opposite Tom Cruise in the 1983 film, Risky Business. Since then, Pantoliano has gone on to play many memorable roles in The Matrix, The Fugitive, and Bad Boys. Many fans will know him as Ralph, which his portrayal of the Jersey-mobster in The Sopranos earned him his primetime Emmy. Pantoliano will attend a special screening of Canvas, April 30. Both respected actors will receive their awards during the awards ceremony, April 29.
The festival will feature a diverse range of workshops, from acting, writing, and directing to financing and marketing films, documentaries, and shorts, starting April 28. In addition to Davi and Pantoliano, guest speakers include Daphne Zuniga (Spaceballs, Melrose Place), who will be screening her latest film Those Left Behind, April 29 and a special outdoor screening of the 30thAnniversary of Spaceballs. Zuniga will attend the Women Filmmakers Brunch, and take part in several acting workshops. By purchasing a VIP pass, attendees can attend panel discussions with director Michael Mailer (Blind), trade tricks and tips for acting in action movies with kickboxing champion and actor Don “The Dragon” Wilson (Batman Forever), and be coached by industry experts like acting coach Jennifer Gelfer, talent manager Cinda Snow, entertainment lawyer Jonathan Gray, and producer Sean Covel (Napoleon Dynamite, Carter & June); among other festival guests.
Opening the festival will be the spotlight screening of Sugar. Shot in Sarasota, the collaboration between notable actor and director of Sugar, Dylan McDermott (Steel Magnolias, American Horror Story) and the Ringling College of Art & Design with Semkhor Productions, will debut three episodes from the series at 4:30pm, April 27 at The Palladium Theater. The festival’s signature red-carpet event will lead-in to the Florida premiere of Blind, directed by Michael Mailer and starring Alec Baldwin, Demi Moore, and Dylan McDermott.
Sunscreen Film Festival is proud to be world premiering eleven new shorts, features, or series; including Orange is the New Black star, Selenis Leyva’s newest project I CAN I WILL I DID, and iconic actor Bill Duke’s (Predator, Sister Act 2) directorial project Created Equal, both screening on April 29. A bullied youth perseveres over depression in I CAN I WILL I DO. Created Equal depicts the tumultuous battle between a woman of faith who wants to become a priest and the Archdiocese of New Orleans, starring Aaron Tveit, Lou Diamond Phillips, with actors Edy Ganem (Devious Maids) and Gregory Alan Williams (Baywatch, Terminator Genisys), as well as, Duke in attendance. Carter and June features special guests Michael Raymond-James (Once Upon a Time, Jack Reacher), Timothy Omundson (Psych, Galavant), and Samaire Armstrong (It’s a Boy Girl Thing). The comedy written and directed by Nicholas Kalikow, follows Carter & June in an action- packed heist, screening on April 28.
The festival will also feature a line-up of films shot right here in the Tamp Bay Area, including the action/comedy Paying Mr. McGetty, featuring festival guests R. Marcos Taylor (Straight Outta Compton) and Don “The Dragon” Wilson, the drama King Charles, and the documentary Eat.Speak.St.Pete. The Rob O’Cruz drama, Thunder, about a down-and-out rodeo star looking for redemption, was shot on Florida’s east coast.
Closing the festival will be an international film by director and writer, Castille Landon, shot in Bulgaria and locally in Manatee County, FL. Albion: The Enchanted Stallion, featuring Debra Messing, Jennifer Morrison, and John Cleese, tells the enchanted tale of a 12-year-old girl who is transported to the mystical world of Albion.
Passes can be purchased for individual screenings, individual days or for the entire festival. VIP Passes include access to exclusive parties, meet and greets, and all of the screenings and workshops.
Dates, times and locations subject to change. For additional information and the full schedule, visit sunscreenfilmfestival.com.
Interviews available upon request. Media passes available by request. Opening day and closing ceremony media invite only.
Ashleigh Gallant (Florida Media)