SFF in the Community

Sarasota has long been celebrated for its commitment to a rich and diverse artistic culture, and the Sarasota Film Festival shares that mission. Outside of our 10-day celebration of independent film, SFF strives to create meaningful and lasting relationships with non-profit, corporate and cultural organizations in our region year-round. These education and outreach initiatives are woven into our mission statement: "developing year-long programs for the economic, educational and cultural benefit of our community."

The Sarasota Film Festival has brought together storytellers and visionaries of all ages through the medium of film for 20 years. We will continue to do so by providing a variety of year-round opportunities related to; film production, public screenings, field trips as well as making the theatregoing experience accessible to those who may not always have the opportunity.

Our film academies allow us to share the art of filmmaking with students and adults throughout our community. We know that powerful new voices in filmmaking are waiting to be heard right here in our backyard, and we are thrilled to nurture and guide our community's emerging talents.

This is only made possible thanks to local and national partnerships, a network of local film buffs, dedicated volunteers and benefactors of arts education.

Build-On / Building Schools in Africa/Nepal
In partnership with Build-On Foundation and Pine View school, SFF is helping local students to build schools in impoverished parts of the world. We screened “Coco” as part of a fundraising family evening on January 18th at Pine View and plan an event during the festival where we will show a film about the process and host a panel of previous student participants where they share how the experience changed them. We are also working with the partners to expand this program to other local schools and aim to have them participate in the April event.
Film Classes, Workshops & Summer Camps
Afterschool filmmaking classes and school-break camps for students 7-18 as well as workshops for adults (starting in January). The summer camp we held in 2018 was very popular and we plan to expand that program with additional instructors and outreach to schools - especially considering our partnership with the Sarasota County School Board which is enthusiastic about helping us promote our camps and classes.
Screenwriter's Colony
A project in conjunction with the Florida Studio Theater where student film scripts get a table read by professional actors.
Diverse Voices
The Sarasota Film Festival is committed to providing a platform for diverse voices from around the world. This year, we are partnering with the Sarasota African-American Film Festival, Through Women’s Eyes film festival, the Cinesah Festival in Cameroon, and Czech That Film screening series to bring an excellent program of different perspectives to SFF.
VIP Trips
Kids VIP Trips provide film-screening field trips free of charge to the Regal Hollywood 11 Cinemas for more than 2,000 area students. This program is in partnership with Embracing Our Differences, a local nonprofit that focuses on diversity and the arts in our community. Through this program, the students of Sarasota and Manatee counties view diverse, age-specific film programs and have the opportunity to interact with visiting professional filmmakers.
Hollywood Nights Young Filmmaker Showcase
This student-made, short-film competition is open to students ages 18 and under. We celebrate the accomplishments of young filmmakers by giving them the opportunity to have their work seen at a 10-day major international film festival. Students, families and the general public are invited to attend a Hollywood-style premiere of the student films complete with a red carpet and an awards ceremony.
Junior Jury
By being on the Junior Jury, high school students learn about film analysis, cultural and media literacy, and critical review. The program is highly competitive, with participants chosen by the SFF Education Director based on the applications and personal statement responses. Junior Jurors screen the best of the films submitted to the Hollywood Nights Young Filmmaker Showcase and select the winning entry to be awarded during a red carpet event. They also meet with the professional SFF Jury to learn the process of critically reviewing the efficacy and artistic value of submitted films as well as to get insights about careers in the film industry.
"20 Hour Film Contest"
Can you make a film in 20 hours? The 2019 Sarasota Film Festival gives aspiring filmmakers a great opportunity not only to make a short film during the festival but also have it play on the big screen in front of a live audience. Participants create a five-minute short film based on given elements and chosen themes, having just 20 hours to film and 20 hours to edit.
Film Conversations
We are talking to a number of partners to bring film professionals (and film celebrities) for an ongoing series of evenings, where they will share their experiences and show excerpts of their work.

A few of the organizations we have proudly collaborated with:

If you are interested in working with the Sarasota Film Festival, please contact the Education and Community Outreach Director, Paul Ratner: paul@sarasotafilmfestival.com

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323 Central Avenue
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