This year's Sunscreen Film Festival would like to thank the Academy

Aside from the notable acknowledgement by one of the top film organizations in the world, the Sunscreen Film Festival is also bringing in some noteworthy stars to join them in the four-day festival. Actor Chris Meyers (Treachery, Kiss of the Damned) and actress Alexa Vega (Spy Kids) will be among the list of celebrities attending this year’s festival.

Also in attendance will be Michael Biehn — star of Aliens and The Terminator — to receive a lifetime award at this year’s festival. Biehn’s two newest films The Victim and Treachery will also be shown, with the latter as an exclusive test screening.

While the participants of the festival have a few days to enjoy the fruits of their labor, Armer said once it’s over, they immediately start the process over again to prepare for next year’s event.

“We’ll start working on things in June or July for the next year. It’s a year-round thing because there are so many things that you have to do to prepare for the next festival,” Armer said. “In the process of watching all of the movies and selecting them, there’s a lot of time and work and care goes into that to make sure we pick out really good films and put on the best program that we can.”

The Sunscreen Film Festival will take place through April 21 at the Muvico Bywalk 20 Theaters located at 151 2nd Ave. North in St. Petersburg. Tickets can be purchased online at Sunscreen's website.

Look out Sundance, St. Petersburg is bringing their “A game” with the Sunscreen Film Festival.

Already in its eighth year, the Sunscreen Film Festival, presented by the not-for-profit St. Petersburg-Clearwater Film Society, has been cited as one of the nation's top film education festivals. With submissions from Korea, Australia and many European countries the festival has earned its stripes as one of the most respected film festivals in the world. And while locals can come to enjoy the submitted films, the festival’s executive director Tony Armer says entertainment is one of many focuses of the Sunscreen Film Festival.

“The festival is about a lot of different things, but a few of the big things is supporting the art of films, supporting local filmmakers and supporting film education,” Armer said.

One of approximately 5,000 such events, the Sunscreen Film Festival was working on a way to stand out when they earned a sponsorship by the sponsored and acknowledged by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for 2013.

The Sunscreen Film Festival is one of only 23 festivals to be sponsored by the Academy.

“The Bay area is 23 percent Hispanic and there are no Hispanic or Latino film festivals in the area,” Armer said. “One of their outreach things that [The Academy] want to do is expand into Spanish-speaking markets, so they were supportive and as a result of that it’s great to be able to say that the Academy is sponsoring and that raises our level of notoriety and how we’re perceived in the film festival world.”

As a result of the sponsorship, Armer believes the standard for quality of films submitted to the festival was raised.

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