Mission & History of The Sunscreen Film Festival

The Sunscreen Film Festival is known for its friendly atmosphere in a sun-kissed waterfront setting. The Fest screens top notch films, provides workshops and panels packed with Hollywood talent, hosts great parties and is 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 St. Petersburg-Clearwater Film Society Inc., 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 with 600 attendees in 2006 to an internationally recognized event with an annual attendance of over 20,000 in St. Petersburg, FL and Los Angeles, CA.

In 2013 the festival expanded to Los Angeles and now holds the Florida version in the spring and the Los Angeles version in the fall each year.

Sunscreen is one of only 23 Film Fests in the country to be sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for 2013-2014.  In 2009, MovieMaker magazine voted Sunscreen one of the “25 Coolest Film Fests” in the country. Tampa Bay Magazine in 2012 voted it the best film festival in the Bay area. (For a downloadable history of the festival in .PDF format, click here.)

Sunscreen is different from other festivals in that our guests are expected to take part in workshops, classes, or other event that supports the festival’s mission. Our guests also participate in educational programming as a part of attendance.


Just a few of our past guests include:

  • Actor John Travolta (“Grease,” “Pulp Fiction”)
  • Actor Kelly Preston (“Jerry Maguire”)
  • Actor Billy Dee Williams (“The Empire Strikes Back,” “Brian’s Song”)
  • Actor Patrick Wilson (“Watchmen,” “Phantom of the Opera”)
  • Actor Jeffrey Donovan (TV’s “Burn Notice,” “Changeling”)
  • Actor Michael Rooker (“Guardians of the Galaxy”, “Walking Dead”)
  • Dylan McDermott (“American Horror Story”, “The Practice”)
  • Actor Ed Asner (Up, Mary Tyler Moore show)
  • Actor Gary Busey (Lethal Weapon, Point Break)
  • Actor Paul Sorvino (Goodfellas)
  • Actor Martin Kove (Karate Kid, Rambo II)
  • Actor Esai Morales (La Bamba, Caprica)
  • Actor Patrick Warburton (Seinfeld)
  • Actor Ethan Suplee (TV’s “My Name is Earl,” “The Butterfly Effect”)
  • Actor Bill Cobbs (veteran with more than 100 credits, including “Night at the Museum”)
  • Actor Samaire Armstrong (“The O.C.”, “Carter & June”)
  • Actor Michael Raymond James (“Once Upon A Time”, “Jack Reacher”)
  • Actor Timothy Omundson (“Psych”, “Supernatural”)
  • Actor Alexa Vega (the “Spy Kids” series, “Broken Hill”)
  • Actor Ayanna Berkshire (“Twilight,” TV’s “Leverage”)
  • Actor Solomon Trimble (“Twilight”)
  • Actor Matthew Ziff (“Martial Arts Kid”)
  • Actor/Director Bill Duke (“Predator”, “Created Equal”)
  • Author, filmmaker and media consultant Phil Cooke
  • Producer Ralph Winter (“X-Men” and its sequels, “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” “Fantastic Four” and its sequel, part of the “Star Trek” film series)
  • Producer and writer Dean Batali (TV’s “That 70’s Show” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”)
  • Producer Sean Covel (“Napoleon Dynamite”)
  • Producer Chris Wyatt (“Napoleon Dynamite”)
  • Producer and comic author Leo Partible
  • Producer Dave Anderson
  • Producer Lorraine Ziff (“Six Gun Savior”)
  • Screenwriter Timothy J. Sexton (Oscar nominee for “Children of Men”)
  • Screenwriter Steven E. de Souza (“Die Hard,” “48 Hours”)
  • Casting director Lana Veenker (“Twilight,” TV’s “Leverage”)
  • Casting director John Jackson (“The Descendants,” “About Schmidt,” “Sideways”)
  • Composer and musician Michael Tolcher (TV’s “Scrubs” and “One Tree Hill”)
  • Distribution, finance, and acquisitions executive Jamie Fleming
  • Distribution, finance, and acquisitions executive John Flynn
  • Distribution, finance, and acquisitions executive Ildi Toth Davy
  • Distribution, finance, and acquisitions executive Marty Poole

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