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Sarasota Film Festival

written by: Misty Faucheux•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 8/27/2010

The Sarasota Film Festival in Florida attracts Hollywood bigwigs and fans from around the globe. But, how do you get your film shown there? Learn how to submit your film and the categories in which films can be accepted.

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    Festival Overview

    The Sarasota Film Festival runs for 10 days in April, and it takes place in Sarasota, Florida. The festival features over 200 films ranging from feature films to documentaries to short films.

    This festival attracts Hollywood actors, producers and directors with its parties and private receptions, and it also attracts fans from across the world, averaging nearly 45,000 people each year.

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    Competition Categories

    There are six competition categories and one non-competition category. The Documentary category is open to non-fiction films that run at least 42 minutes. These films may be submitted by filmmakers from across the world. Short films are considered to be films that are no more than 40 minutes, and the festival accepts films from filmmakers from around the globe.

    The World Cinema category is open to films that were filmed outside of the United States, and they must be at least 41 minutes long. The Narrative Film category is for films that are at least 41 minutes long and that are fiction. These films may have been filmed or produced anywhere in the world. The Sarasota and Florida Filmmakers category is strictly for filmmakers from the Florida area, and films of any length can be submitted in this category.

    The Young Filmmakers Showcase category is split into two categories. The Lights, Camera, Local is a competition category, but the International Showcase is not. Both of these categories are open to filmmakers 18 and younger, and filmmakers may submit two entries. The Lights, Camera, Local is open to Florida teens. The International Showcase is open to youth filmmakers from around the world.

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    How to Submit Your Film

    To be eligible for these categories, films must have been completed sometime in the past two years. Films that are selected will be viewed during the Sarasota Film Festival, and the winners will be recognized at the Hollywood Nights event.

    Filmmakers can start submitting their films in October, and the deadline for submissions is the end of January, except for the Young Filmmakers Showcase which will accept submissions through March. Fees range from $35 to $60 depending on whether they are submitted during the early submission deadline or whether they are late submissions.

    Films may be submitted in the following formats in VHS (either NTSC or PAL) or DVD, but accepted films must be sent in one of the following video production formats: Digital BetaCam, HDCam or BetaCam SP (NTSC). Only films that have not been released in the United States or that have been available on the Internet or video will be considered.

    Films must have been completed within the previous year. They should be in their original language with English subtitles. But, VHS tapes may be dubbed. Besides the entry fee and copy of the film, filmmakers should also send a copy of their press kit in case the film is selected for screening.

    Filmmakers can either send fill out an online entry form at, or they may submit a hard copy to the following address: Sarasota Film Festival, 332 Cocoanut Avenue, Sarasota, Florida 32436.