Community First: Sarasota Film Festival

Screen Shot of Reel Talk PSA Submission, Sarasota Film Festival 2019

In this month’s edition of Community First, we’d like to celebrate the work being done by the Sarasota Film Festival, both on the screen and behind the scenes. 

The 21st annual Sarasota Film Festival will take place from April 5th to April 14th. The festival screens over 200 films each year, including features, documentaries, shorts, and kid-friendly picks. The festival is proud to bring the best new and established independent filmmakers to the screen, with local programming showcasing the Gulf Coast, and films featuring innovators such as Greg Kinnear, Blythe Danner, and Anne Heche. The festival, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, also offers a year-round educational program which reaches thousands of local students through classic film showcases, film contests, summer camps and instructional workshops. 

As part of their education initiative, the Sarasota Film Festival is partnering with Sarasota County Schools to host the “REEL TALK! Student Film Contest.” The contest was designed to inspire middle and high school students to craft positive digital entertainment through the production of public service announcements (PSAs) on a variety of issues that concern them. The Sarasota Film Festival is creating a new category in the Young Filmmaker Showcase for this initiative. As a local company who supports Sarasota County Schools in several ways, we are excited to see what this project will inspire.

“We are thrilled to partner with the Sarasota County Schools to launch this exciting new contest for the next wave of storytellers and filmmakers, and help these students to create a long-term, artistic digital footprint,” said Mark Famiglio, President of the Sarasota Film Festival. “Engaging with the Sarasota Film Festival community and the next generation is a priority and we hope our efforts to involve students in the arts industry will help encourage stimulating use of social and digital media.”

This inaugural competition has received submissions from 27 teams and 80 students. The community is encouraged to attend the screenings of the short films and awards for their productions on Saturday April 6th, 2:00pm at the Sarasota Municipal Auditorium, during which you are invited to vote for a fan-favorite project that will receive the People’s Choice Award. Admission is free for students and school district personnel; adults will be charged a discounted fee of $10.

Michael A. Gilkey, Inc. is proud to continue our support of The Sarasota Film Festival through donations to thank their cast of volunteers. For more information about the festival, or to buy tickets for their films and events, please visit


Leave a comment