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About Sarasota Film Festival

Held annually in Sarasota, FL., The Sarasota Film Festival emphasizes the best in cinema alongside exciting programs and events, with more than 180 films screened each year including features, documentaries, shorts, and kid-friendly picks. Entering our 19th year, we're proud to bring the best new and veteran independent filmmakers to our Festival with local and kid-friendly programs that showcase our idyllic Gulf Coast community.

OUR MISSION: To celebrate the art of filmmaking and the contribution of filmmakers by hosting an international film festival and developing year-long programs for the economic, educational and cultural benefit of our community.

HISTORY: In 1999, Sarasota civic and business leaders banded together to produce the first Sarasota Film Festival. This “mini-festival,” featuring eight independent films, six actors (Jon Favreau, Marlee Matlin, Jonathan Silverman, Penelope Ann Miller, Peter Sarsgaard, Samantha Mathis) and a gala fundraiser, and has since grown to an annual ten day event with over 200 hundred films, more than 250 filmmakers in attendance, multiple special events, symposiums, panels and conversations featuring leaders in the film industry.

Through the years, many of cinema’s leading actors, directors and filmmakers have been honored at the SFF, including Alan Alda, Robert Altman, Kevin Bacon, Lawrence Blume, Steve Buscemi, Leslie Caron, Chevy Chase, Patricia Clarkson, Billy Crystal, Geena Davis, Richard Dreyfuss, Peter Falk, Marcia Gay Harden, Woody Harrelson, Rutger Hauer, Tippi Hedren, Werner Herzog, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Felicity Huffman, Allison Janney, Norman Jewison, Shirley Jones, Kevin Kline, John Landis, Frank Langella, William H Macy, Rita Moreno, Oren Moverman, Edward Norton, Christopher Plummer, Sidney Pollack, Jeremy Renner, Gena Rowlands, Tom Selleck, Brooke Shields, Patrick Stewart, Charlize Theron, Robert Towne, Stanley Tucci, Liv Ullman, Jon Voight, Paula Wagner, Blythe Danner, Rachel Weisz, Jane Seymour, Jason Momoa, Richard Jenkins, and many others.

In addition, we've developed nationwide, award-winning education programs involving over 10,000 students and offering the community free year-round events and workshops.

PARTNERS: We also work with many non-profit organizations including: FSU/Asolo Acting Conservatory, Film School of Florida State University, FSU College of Medicine, Ringling College of Art and Design, Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Downtown Sarasota Alliance, First Step of Sarasota, Florida Film Commission, Florida West Coast Symphony, Girls, Inc., Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Jewish Federation of Sarasota Manatee, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, State College of Florida, Manatee County Arts Council, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Patterson Foundation (Legacy of Valor), Publix Supermarket Charities, Rowlett Magnet School for the Performing Arts, Sarasota Ballet, Sarasota County Arts Council, Sarasota Opera, School Board of Sarasota County, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, United Nations Development Fund for Women, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Visit Sarasota County, Women's Exchange, YMCA Community Coalition for Children, Young Professionals Group of the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce.

PROGRAMS: The SFF hosts a Narrative Feature Competition for international and domestic narrative films; an Independent Vision Competition specifically for low-budget American films and emerging US artists; and a Documentary Feature Competition that has earned the Festival recognition as one of the "Top 20 Festivals for Documentaries" by All These Wonderful Things. The Blog adds, SFF is "one of the top regional festivals in the US and the best documentary showcase in the Southeast." Generous post-production packages are awarded to the winning films in each competition category.

Variety sums it up best: "Regarded by many as the acme of a regional American film fest, Sarasota possesses virtues that run both sides of the podium. On the one hand, a team of informed, passionate programmers; on the other, an intensely loyal, slightly older-skewing audience who turn out in numbers.... Visitors praise the sense of community the fest fosters, with a high number of filmmakers flown in."

A top regional stop for emerging filmmakers and a destination event for cinephiles everywhere, The SFF is not to be missed. Submissions  for 2017 have been reached, and 2018 submissions will open later in the year.

Sarasota Film Festival, Inc. is a nonprofit organization under Federal Tax Code 501(c)(3). A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE (800-435-7352) WITHIN THE STATE. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE.


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