Author: Paul Ratner

2023 Film Submissions Open

The submissions for the 25th annual Sarasota Film Festival (March 24 – April 2, 2023) are now open! Submit your film today to take advantage of the early bird deadline.

Sarasota Film Festival 2021

The Sarasota Film Festival 2021 takes place from April 30th till May 9th in beautiful Sarasota, Florida. This year, conscious of Covid-safety, the festival will be presented in a hybrid format, with a mix of outdoor screenings, virtual cinema, celebrity conversations, limited parties, and some indoor film events.

Watch Visions of the Black Experience 2020 Now

The Sarasota Film Festival is proud to present the 2020 Visions of the Black Experience Film Series, showing virtually from November 12th-22nd, 2020. The series celebrates and illuminates the historical, social, and cultural aspects of Black life through film. The feature program includes a Chadwick Boseman retrospective, with the films 42 and GET ON UP, locally-made films THROUGH THE TUNNEL, INTO THE STORM, SINCERELY, THE BLACK KIDS, and 9/11 KIDS, acclaimed festival selections PAHOKEE and AMERICAN TRIAL: THE STORY OF ERIC GARNER, and many more.

The program offers a unique selection of documentaries, narrative films, and shorts, as well as new works by emerging filmmakers. Themes in this year’s programming include films by and for youth and young adults, Black health and healthcare. With recent resources developed by the virtual Sarasota Film Festival, this year’s online format will allow the Visions film series to engage audiences locally and around the world, and also showcase the diverse and creative Sarasota community globally.

Live Q&A’s with filmmakers, panel discussions, and educational opportunities will offer a deeper exploration of the themes of the series. The panel discussions will highlight important initiatives including Project Black Cinema, Healthcare in the Black Community, and Young Black Voices in Filmmaking. The event will also feature the culmination of the Covid-19 student PSA contest.

“The Sarasota Film Festival received wonderful feedback from the inaugural edition of the series and are thrilled to bring back Visions of the Black Experience and continue engaging our audiences with conversations surrounding the themes in this year’s programming,” said Mark Famiglio, Co-Founder and President of the Sarasota Film Festival, one of the collaborators for the series this year. “We are pleased to work with the community including the Honorable Charles Williams and many wonderful educational institutions to support Booker with this groundbreaking series. It is a pleasure and a delight to band together to bring these important educational experiences to the community.”

The series is a collaboration involving the Sarasota Film Festival, New College of Florida, the Boxser Diversity Initiative, the Ringling Museum, the Multicultural Health Institute, and the Manasota ASALH, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. Funding for Visions of the Black Experience has been provided by the lead sponsor Community Foundation of Sarasota County, with additional financial support from the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation, New College of Florida Foundation, and the Boxser Diversity Initiative.

The generosity of the Visions sponsors will also fund a major gift to benefit the Film & Animation program in Booker High School’s Visual and Performing Arts magnet, whose student-produced documentary feature INTO THE STORY will be featured in the series. In addition, Visions has partnered with several local high schools to bring INTO THE STORM into the classroom, along with live discussions with the filmmakers and individuals featured in this civil rights story of the 1960s.

The series is free, with registration required at the Visions of the Black Experience website. The films are available on the website and through the Sarasota Film Festival app (on mobile and Apple TV).



The Sarasota Film Festival announced today that the 23rd annual edition of the festival will take place April 30th – May 9th, 2021. The festival is now accepting submissions for next year. 

Held annually in Sarasota, Florida, the Sarasota Film Festival emphasizes the best in cinema alongside exciting programs and events, with more than 200 films screened each year including features, documentaries, shorts, and kid-friendly picks. Entering its 23rd year, the festival brings the best new and established independent filmmakers to the Festival with local and kid-friendly programs that showcase its idyllic Gulf Coast community. The festival is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization and also offers a year-round educational program, which reaches thousands of local students through classic film showcases, film contests, summer camps and instructional workshops.


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