Founded in 1998, the Sarasota Film Festival (SFF) has grown to be a ten-day festival that plays independent and international narratives, docs and shorts that are programmed into a schedule of over 200 films including features, themed shorts packages and additional programming sidebars that change each year to reflect the strengths of submitted films. Festival events include socially-driven parties and private receptions to honor guest filmmakers, community-wide street festivals and the black-tie Filmmakers Tribute Dinner. SFF patrons have enjoyed intimate performances from Aerosmith and The B52’s as well as a host of special appearances from local and international musicians.
A host of guests and filmmakers attend to promote their films and celebrate the accomplishments of their peers. Prior guests and honorees include Greg Kinnear, Steve Guttenberg, Virginia Madsen, Eric Stoltz, Diane Lane, Rosanna Arquette, Jane Seymour, Rachel Weisz, Blythe Danner, Rory Kennedy, Jason Momoa, Richard Jenkins, Elisabeth Moss, Peter Bogdanovich, Griffin Dunne, Lili Taylor, Cheryl Hines, Mariel Hemingway, Barbara Kopple, Christopher Plummer, Charlize Theron, Frank Langella, Ben Foster, Kevin Kline, Patricia Clarkson, Vincent D’onofrio, Steve Buscemi, Stanley Tucci, Werner Herzog, Edward Norton, Marcia Gay Harden, Sydney Pollack, Robert Altman, Robert Towne, Paula Wagner, Felicity Huffman, Allison Janney, William H. Macy, Gena Rowlands, Todd Haynes, Olympia Dukakis, Leslie Caron, Paul Reiser, Connie Nielsen, Sam Elliott, Alan Alda, Christian Slater, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Woody Harrelson, Robert Benton, Rita Moreno, Richard Dreyfuss, Tippi Hedren, Tom Selleck, Michael Stipe, and Jon Voight.
The Sarasota Film Festival also features extensive year-round programming, producing the Visions of the Black Experience film series for the past 3 years that focuses on celebrating and illuminating the historical, social, and cultural aspects of black life through film. Since 2019, SFF also produces an annual Native American film series that focuses on showcasing Native American films and filmmakers. Other year-round activities include educational film contests for students, our classic film Cinematheque series, outdoor screenings, and summer film camps.
Sarasota Film Festival is devoted to supporting the art and elevating the craft of cinema.