Sunscreen Film Festival turns 10! Big anniversaries demand some extra oomph, and the upcoming edition of the Florida-based festival has that in spades – parties, concerts and big-name stars galore. Not bad for a festival already with a MovieMaker magazine ’25 Coolest Film Fest’ status and name recognition that saw it expand into a Los Angeles event in 2013!
One big thing to look out for is their new web series category, extra relevant in a year which has seen internet serials explode. We had a chat with their Festival Director, Tony Armer, who has been there since the very beginning of the American festival. He gives some helpful tips for filmmakers looking to submit, and describes a festival that is filmmaker-friendly to the hilt…
Andrew Wilkin, FilmFestivalLife: What were you most excited about? Is there anything new that filmmakers should know about?
Tony Armer, Sunscreen: This is our tenth festival. Number ten is a big deal! We want to blow it out and make it an even bigger event than ever before because it’s the tenth anniversary – with a concert component, bigger celebs and bigger parties. We want to make this the right event! I’ve been involved since the very beginning, as one of the co-founders, so this is a big deal for me!
We also added a web series/digital series as a category this year that we’ve not done in the past. It’s focused on content that is specifically created for the web, their YouTube channel or that they’ve done specifically for digital platforms.
What kind of films are you looking for?
It sounds kind of generic, but we like stuff that is G.O.O.D. The genre or the content doesn’t necessarily matter, nor whether it’s a horror, action, drama, documentary or animation film – what’s crucial is that it is well-made, entertaining and put together well. We get a lot of submissions every year and we are just trying to put the best festival on we can with the best films.
One of the big things that a lot of independent, student or new filmmakers do, is focus so much on the technical side that good story and good acting becomes secondary. What we are really looking for are good stories. Of course we want it to be made technically well-made but story is most important!
What tips would you have for filmmakers that are submitting?
The operative word in short film is S.H.O.R.T.S. The filmmakers often make a mistake and make their short films too long! It’s hard to tell a short story in 40 minutes or 35 minutes, it should be much shorter than that. Often we would rather take four 20 minute films than one 40 minute film if they are all of similar quality!
We get a wide variety of films from right around the world, it doesn’t matter to us if it’s from Germany or somewhere in Asia or South America. Concentrate on content, good story and good acting – other than that, there’s no secret formula to making a good film than just trying the best you can!
What can filmmakers expect when attending Sunscreen?
They can expect a filmmaker-friendly festival – we have a filmmaker lounge where they can relax with food and drinks. Filmmakers are well-received and we do everything they can to make sure every filmmaker can do a Q&A and can attend everything. There is no additional cost if you are a filmmaker to attend this festival, the events and parties. We cater to the filmmakers – don’t forget, when we started we were filmmakers ourselves!
In the era of internet and VOD, why are short film festivals still important? Why do we need them?
It’s important to be able to interact with other filmmakers and audiences – you can see them face to face and see how they react to your film. Also you can meet other people and make connections with people you might want to work with – so much in this business is based on WHO you know and there are many distributors and people from Hollywood who come to Sunscreen looking for talent and films. You won’t just meet these people on the internet!
Why should filmmakers submit online, through FilmFestivalLife?
FFL is really good platform that’s user-friendly, one that’s a lot easier to use than other submission platforms that are out there. It makes it easier for us to do everything online and track the submissions, and it’s easier for the filmmaker too. We also really like getting films from European filmmakers who submit via FFL, as the quality is always very good.
Tony Armer, Festival Director
Sunscreen Film Festival
Apr 30 – May 03 2015
St.Petersburg, Florida, United States
Submit to Sunscreen on FilmFestivalLife:
Late Deadline: Jan 05, 2015