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The 17th annual Filmfest will be held at Sundial April 28-May 1.

The travel world has opened back up again. Here’s a big warm “welcome back” to the top film festivals in the world, from Toronto to Cannes. 

If you aren’t ready to use that passport yet, here’s a great solution for your film fix: St. Petersburg is getting ready to host the 17th annual Sunscreen Film Festival from Thursday-Sunday, Apr. 28-May 1, presenting a full slate of films and workshops at St. Pete’s AMC Sundial.

At Sunscreen 2021.

This year’s slate includes 39 features from the U.S. and around the world in categories including foreign, documentary, thriller, drama, and comedy, plus 149 short films across 16 different thematic blocks.

“We’re excited to present a diverse and entertaining group of films for this year,” said Doug Tschirhart, festival programming director. “The 2022 festival has something for everyone. Comedy, action, social commentary, love, tragedy and fun. With so many films to choose from, people of all tastes will find something to enjoy.” 

[Tschirhart and co-programming director Ben Daniele are also known for their company Scatter Brothers Productions. They’re currently working as co-producers on The Pet Detectives, a feature being filmed in Largo. More on that project below.*]

Dylan McDermott talks to the press at Sunscreen 2017.

Tony Armer, St. Petersburg Clearwater Film Commissioner since 2014, was a co-founder of Sunscreen. He believes the festival has contributed greatly to Tampa Bay’s reputation as a haven for filmmaking. “Not only is the Sunscreen Film Festival the longest-running and largest mainstream film festival in the area, it has also become a widely recognized festival around the world,” Armer said. “To be able to present a great slate of independent films and draw a large number of filmmakers to the area is great for the community. This festival has really put the St. Pete/Clearwater/Tampa area on the film world map.”

Sunscreen co-founder Tony Armer (left) with TV/film star Jeffrey Donovan at a previous Sunscreen.

The festival will kick off opening night with the world premiere screening of Rosé All Day, the story of a group of college friends who meet once a year for a Rosé All Day pool party. The film is directed by Marla Sokoloff, best known for her roles on TV shows Full House, Fuller House and The Practice. Tony Armer includes six members of the Rosé All Day cast (Alice Hunter, Avery Norris, Cameron Kelly, Chelsea Alden, Corey Moss, and Veronica Dunne) on his list of “Not To Be Missed Actresses This year,” along with Rana Roy of Chicken and Kestrin Pantera of Pretty Problems. Perhaps their names will be as familiar someday as the stars who’ve appeared in past Sunscreen fests; I remember meeting John Travolta, Dylan McDermott, Joe Pantoliano, Kirstie Alley and Jane Seymour, just to name a few.

Other film highlights this year include the documentary The Long Rider. Filipe Leite leaves his adoptive home of Canada and sets out on an epic quest to ride entirely on horseback from Calgary to his family’s home in Brazil. Filipe’s 8-year odyssey of over 25,000 km’s across 12 international borders sees the young immigrant battle intense heat, drought, speeding transport trucks, nature’s wrath and corrupt border guards on his history-making long ride home.



Opening Night Film: Rosé All Day. The story of a group of college friends who meet once a year for a Rosé All Day pool party. But after several years of careers and different life paths, maybe their friendship has finally run its course. The cracks in their relationships become all-consuming sinkholes filled with vomit, tears, confessions and broken penis sculptures. Thurs. April 28, AMC Sundial. Red Carpet at 6 p.m. Film at 7 p.m. Opening Night Party. 9 p.m.-midnight, NOVA 535, 535 Dr. MLK Jr. Street N., St. Petersburg.


 Meet the filmmakers and network at the Postcard Inn on St. Pete Beach. Upon arrival, please let them know you are attending the Sunscreen Film Festival so they can direct you to the correct parking area. If spots are not utilized after the first hour, they will be released. Fri. April 29, 8-10 p.m., Postcard Inn, 6300 Gulf Blvd., St Pete Beach.


Dedicated to providing a positive forum for the education, encouragement and empowerment of women in the film and television industries and cultivating the best future for the next generation of women in film. Guest speakers include cast members from Rose All Day and Pretty Problems Kestrin Pantera (Pretty Problems), Alice Hunter (Rose’ All Day) Continental brunch, raffle prizes, silent auction. Sat. April 30, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Sundial St. Pete. This brunch is not included with any festival passes. It is an additional cost of $35.


Sat. April 30, 9 p.m.–Midnight, Coastal Creative, 2201 1st Ave. S., St. Petersburg.


An award-winning French film set in May, 1967, in Saint-Tropez, where a penniless Franco-American producer and an ambitious French theater actress, desperate to change the world, embark on an artistic project together. 4:45-6:30 p.m., AMC Sundial.

Box Office: AMC Sundial, 151 Second Ave. N., St. Petersburg. Opens at 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 28. Questions? E-mail Check out for the full schedule.

The Sunscreen Film Festival is organized and presented by the St. Petersburg-Clearwater Film Society Inc., a not-for-profit 501 (c) (3) organization providing year-round programming, including films, educational workshops, parties and events in St. Petersburg.


Ben Daniele (left) and Doug Tschirhart. (Photo: Rod Millington)

Doug Tschirhart and Ben Daniele of the Sunscreen team are proud to say that their own company, Scatter Brothers Productions, has not just survived but “thrived” during the past two Covid film “lockdown” years. Based in St. Pete, Scatter Brothers has becomea staple of South Florida’s film and television industry, having produced/directed over 200 national commercials, produced multiple independent features and national television shows, and served in the production service industry full-time. They’ve also added a production office in Atlanta.

In addition, Scatter Brothers Productions has launched a new feature film content division called SB3 Studios in partnership with LA film industry veteran/leader John C. Hall. A former Universal Pictures executive, Hall joins the leadership team for SB3 Studios with over 20 years of experience.

We caught up with Ben on the set of The Pet Detectives, which is being shot at the Country Day School in Largo. A hands-on Montessori school whose diverse programs include a small animal farm and full equestrian center, it proved to be the perfect setting for a family film in need of kids and animals. 

A scene from The Pet Detectives, filming in Largo.

The Pet Detectives is slated for release in Spring 2023. The star is Sean Astin, known for The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Goonies, Rudy and 50 First Dates. On the producer side, familiar names on the Pet Detectives team include Danny Roth and local creative superstar David Yates (of Dolphin Tale and Dolphin Tale 2 fame). Watch for Yates’s next film, Baked with a Kiss, to be shot in St. Pete in May — and yes, it will be another Hallmark-ish movie. 

This summer, Scatter Brothers is going on to produce the feature-length film Three Loud Knocks, with St. Pete resident and business executive Phil Yost as executive producer. “I met The Scatter Brothers on the 400 Block of Central Avenue. The entire block was occupied by young startup companies and had such a great supportive vibe for entrepreneurs. The Scatter Brothers impressed me with their energy and vision of creating a film scene here in St Petersburg. I am so excited to watch the well-deserved success materialize for these amazing businessmen.”

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