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Sunscreen Film Festival Coming to Manhattan Beach

R2-D2 escorts actor Billy Dee Williams on the red carpet at last year's Sunscreen Film Festival. Photo courtesy of the Sunscreen Film Festival. Credit Lee Diekemper
R2-D2 escorts actor Billy Dee Williams on the red carpet at last year's Sunscreen Film Festival. Photo courtesy of the Sunscreen Film Festival. Credit Lee Diekemper

A west coast version of the Sunscreen Film Festival is set to be staged in Manhattan Beach this October, said Tony Armer, founder and executive director of the festival.

The festival, launched in Florida 8 years ago by Armer, is a "natural fit" for Manhattan Beach, he said by phone Wednesday. Armer has been working on arrangements for the Manhattan Beach event with Robert Enriquez, a Los Angeles-based producer and president of Red Baron Picture Corp., who will be the festival’s director. 

The Sunscreen Film Festival West will be held Oct. 11-13, at Raleigh Studios in Manhattan Beach or possibly ArcLight Theaters on the El Segundo side of Rosecrans Avenue, he said. Enriquez' offices are based at Raleigh and Armer is fairly confident that's where the festival will be held.

As with the Florida festival, the Manhattan Beach version will be a mix of educational workshops, film screenings and social events. 

Film submissions will be accepted beginning Saturday through Aug. 1 via withoutabox.com, the industry standard website for fim fest submissions, he said. The Sunscreen website has an entry form that then links out to withoutabox.

The festival accepts "anything from a one-minute short film to a two-hour feature length film," said Armer. "It just varies." Genres may include documentary, experimental, foreign language, international, horror, action, drama, comedy. "If it's entertaining, we want it."

The Florida fest held in April had 500 films submitted and screened 85, he said. Armer expects the number of entries for Manhattan Beach' first fest to be fewer. "We won't screen as many [as in Florida] and the submission period will be shorter," he noted.

Some films from the Florida staging will be screened in Manhattan Beach.

Part of the appeal of the west coast Sunscreen is its proximity to the film industry in Los Angeles and Hollywood, said Armer, adding that filmmakers from the area who were unable to go to Florida to see their films screened will be bale to make the October festival. 

Industry professionals who typically fly to Florida for the fest will also find the Manhattan Beach location advantageous, He noted.

The Sunscreen Film Festival is known for offering "more educational workshops than any other festival," he said. Workshops in acting, screenwriting and the like will be offered. Panelists will include active actors, Oscar-nominated screenwriters and others who can provide a behind-the-scenes look into the industry as well as information for launching and furthering careers, he said. 

Festival organizers are looking into venues for the festival's social events, said Armer, who said the parties are "a big component. Everybody likes a good party."

In Florida, the festival held parties for 200-300 at an art gallery and on a block in the city for 2,000 people, he said, illustrating the types of social activities the festival typically offers.

Tickets for the festival will go on sale once the film line-up and other events have been set. He expects that date to be in early August. Typically, tickets can be purchased for a solo film, as a day pass for all activities in a day and as a VIP pass.

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