Monday, April 23, 2018
Movies

Sunscreen Film Festival brings independent movies, workshops, parties to St. Petersburg

By Steve Persall

Times Movie Critic

The Sunscreen Film Festival caught a bad break recently when actor Gary Sinise was injured in a car accident, forcing him to cancel an appearance with his Lt. Dan Band.

Yet the Sunscreen show goes on, with screenings today through Sunday at BayWalk 20 in St. Petersburg. This seventh annual showcase of doggedly independent filmmaking continues its tradition of shedding a projector light on artists seeking their big break.

Here's a primer of what's happening this weekend, with complete information available at sunscreenfilmfestival.com.

The movies

Sunscreen is where moviegoers take risks with their selections, since there is practically no advance buzz for these very independent productions or known actors in their casts. Preview trailers for several films are available at the festival's website.

Selections can wind up exhilarating or exasperating, but that sense of discovery is everything at smaller festivals like Sunscreen. Filmmakers in attendance appreciate the attention. Many entries have local ties, so you may be supporting Tampa Bay's arts scene.

All screenings are held at Muvico BayWalk 20 in downtown St. Petersburg. Tickets are $8 per program or $35 for that day's movies, workshops and parties. Weekend all-access passes cost $150. Visit sunscreenfilmfestival.com for complete information.

Here are a few suggestions to kick-start your Sunscreen curiosity:

• The festival opens today at 12:30 p.m. with Running With Demons, a documentary co-created by Sunscreen executive director Tony Armer. It's the inspiring story of Todd Crandell, a former substance abuser now competing in Ultraman endurance races. Also, check out Mark Dissette's There's Still Hope for Dreams (3 p.m.), a documentary about a troupe of physically disabled actors.

• Tonight's red carpet showcase film at 7 p.m. is Searching for Sonny, an offbeat murder mystery starring Jason Dohring (who'll be attending) and Derek Jeter's ex-girlfriend Minka Kelly (who won't).

• Friday's lineup includes a pair of short film showcases (noon, 3 p.m.), and Born & Raised (6 p.m.), a coming-of-age drama filmed entirely in Florida.

• Saturday screenings begin at noon with "Promises & Memories," a collection of documentary shorts including Mermaids of New York, purporting to show the sea creatures living near Manhattan. For a less believable shorts session, try "Thrillers, Kooks & Werewolves" at 4:30 p.m. Evening shows Saturday include The Honey Killer (6 p.m.) and Cross Threads (7:30).

• The festival wraps Sunday with a pair of interesting features: Hush Hush (5 p.m.) traces the sexual awakenings of conservative newlyweds, and Marvin's Room (5:30) is an existential love story filmed in England.

The parties

Sunscreen caps tonight and Friday with cash bars and dancing at two of St. Petersburg's premier nightclubs. Tonight the setting is Nova 535, at 535 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N, from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m. Admission to this and Saturday's wrap party is included in day passes ($35) and VIP all-access passes ($150).

Friday's shindig begins at 10:30 p.m. at Push Ultra Lounge, continuing until 2 a.m. It's open to public, with a cover charge at the door (waived for festival pass holders).

After Saturday's 8:30 p.m. awards ceremony at BayWalk 20, VIP and day pass holders will amble to the Morean Arts Center, at 719 Central Ave., for a wrap party.

The workshops

More than anything, Sunscreen is about inspiring and educating film artists, with panels and workshops on a variety of production topics.

• Today at 3 p.m., Eric Bean and Terri Emerson conduct a one-hour workshop on screenwriting techniques.

• Friday at 10 a.m. the focus is on acting, with Michael Roberts (Rain Man, Baretta) leading the class. At 1:30 p.m., the discussion turns to "How to Get a Sales Agent and Sell Your Film."

• Saturday is packed with workshops, from an all-day acting studio (for an additional $59.99) conducted by The Descendants casting director John Jackson, to an 11 a.m. symposium on "Building Your Film Audience and Making Money." At the same time, David Paterson shares screenwriting tips, and at 3 p.m. Robert Enriquez explains "How to Make a Movie Under $10K and Get Distribution." Talent agents get into the act at 5:30, with Michael Greenwald offering his experience.

Sunday's curriculum includes tips for child actors from Disney Channel stars, and methods of using social media to promote movies, both starting at 10:30 a.m.

Admission to workshops is included in day passes and VIP packages, with the exception of Jackson's acting class.

Steve Persall can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8365.

Comments
Persall: Upon retirement, a look back at a star-quality career

Persall: Upon retirement, a look back at a star-quality career

Do you see what I did there? The comma and extra "E" in my byline? One last pun, just for fun. It’s the end, fin in French, and something unfortunately ruder in Swedish. Time to retire, nearly 25 years to the day after starting work as the T...
Published: 04/19/18
This is a week to spring clean instead of hitting a movie theater.

This is a week to spring clean instead of hitting a movie theater.

It’s a spring cleaning weekend at multiplexes, with studios vacuuming every dollar from current releases before the Avengers and Amy Schumer drop in next week. If you’ve seen A Quiet Place, Ready Player One and Black Panther, this is probably a good ...
Published: 04/18/18
R. Lee Ermey, drill sergeant in ‘Full Metal Jacket,’ dies at 74

R. Lee Ermey, drill sergeant in ‘Full Metal Jacket,’ dies at 74

.LOS ANGELES — R. Lee Ermey, a former Marine who made a career in Hollywood playing hard-nosed military men like Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in Stanley Kubrick’s "Full Metal Jacket," has died. Ermey’s longtime manager Bill Rogin says he died Sunday morning ...
Published: 04/15/18
Rays stadium backers sponsor free screening of ‘Field of Dreams’ at Tampa Theatre

Rays stadium backers sponsor free screening of ‘Field of Dreams’ at Tampa Theatre

TAMPA — It would take hundreds of millions of dollars to build a new stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays, and more than a few dreams, too.So a business group advocating for a stadium in Ybor City is joining with the Tampa Theatre for a free screening of t...
Published: 04/13/18
What’s in theaters: ‘Beirut,’ ‘Rampage,’ ‘Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare’

What’s in theaters: ‘Beirut,’ ‘Rampage,’ ‘Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare’

INDIE FLICKS:BEIRUTJon Hamm has no trouble looking like a movie star. Dapper or bedraggled, it doesn’t matter what kind of role. He’ll make it believable. What he doesn’t have yet is a starring role worthy of his talent, although Beirut (R) comes pre...
Published: 04/12/18
Helen Hunt plays my high school gym teacher in ‘The Miracle Season’

Helen Hunt plays my high school gym teacher in ‘The Miracle Season’

I never had school spirit. I didn’t go to many football games, and I never owned a West High shirt. (Green doesn’t look good on me.) Then I moved away, and tragedy struck my high school.The Miracle Season, now in theaters, is the tear-jerking true st...
Updated one month ago
Why it’d be even scarier to watch John Krasinski’s ‘A Quiet Place’ at home instead of in theater

Why it’d be even scarier to watch John Krasinski’s ‘A Quiet Place’ at home instead of in theater

A Quiet Place is where John Krasinski’s hushed experiment in terror should be watched, not at multiplexes where silence is easily broken.Krasinski’s movie wrings fright from silence so well that he accidentally makes a case for waiting until home vid...
Updated one month ago
What’s in theaters this week: ‘A Quiet Place,’ ‘Blockers,’ ‘The Miracle Season’

What’s in theaters this week: ‘A Quiet Place,’ ‘Blockers,’ ‘The Miracle Season’

A QUIET PLACEReal-life married couple Emily Blunt and John Krasinski, right, need to keep it down in A Quiet Place (PG-13). Silence isn’t just golden; it can save your life.Krasinski and Blunt play Lee and Evelyn, whose family has survived a worldwid...
Updated one month ago
What’s in theaters this week: ‘Ready Player One,’ ‘The Death of Stalin,’ ‘Tyler Perry’s Acrimony’

What’s in theaters this week: ‘Ready Player One,’ ‘The Death of Stalin,’ ‘Tyler Perry’s Acrimony’

INDIE FLICKS: THE DEATH OF STALINDespite its somber title, The Death of Stalin (R) is the year’s funniest movie so far, delivered by director/co-writer Armando Iannucci with the politically profane snarl he brought to HBO’s Veep and In the Loop. The ...
Updated one month ago
‘Ready Player One,’ all retro references and CGI dazzle, lacks emotional pull of Spielberg classics

‘Ready Player One,’ all retro references and CGI dazzle, lacks emotional pull of Spielberg classics

After two hours of pop clutter and video game clatter, Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One has the audacity to proclaim reality matters. Kind of like a snuff film with an end note saying murder is bad.Ready Player One is soulless validation of a cult...
Updated one month ago