Parallel Universes will premier at the Sarasota Film Festival April 30-May 9. 

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Between staying home and limiting time with friends, it’s been a challenge for kids to express themselves and depict how they are feeling about this unprecedented time. That’s why the Sarasota Film Festival is giving them the opportunity to tell the ultimate story of life without the restrictions of quarantine or Covid-19 in a kids’ film contest called "Parallel Universes."

The contest, which will begin March 1 and end with film showings during this year's film festival, allows local and international filmmakers to submit their creations about how life has changed due to Covid-19, or showing their idealized version of life beyond the pandemic. 

To submit a film, kids must enter the contest by Thursday, April 1. Submissions are free and can be from individuals or teams. The contest is open to students in first through 12th grades, and each film must be no longer than five minutes. All films must be created after March 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic began, and can be filmed using household props, sets and on a phone, camera or laptop. 

While the film festival has hosted kids’ contests in the past, with themes like Hollywood Nights, the ReelTalk PSA competition and the Instafilm contest, Parallel Universes is different because it accounts for real-life experiences. 

“We’ve all had to adjust our normal routines and live, in some ways, as if we were in a parallel universe,” says Sarasota Film Festival managing director Paul Ratner. “We wanted young filmmakers to be given an opportunity to be creative and asked for stories that either reflect life in the pandemic or life in sci-fi parallel universes. We think we could get a unique range of films and emotional responses.” 

Whether you like science fiction, fantasy or reality, kids of all ages can enjoy taking part in the filmmaking process. All submissions will be screened as part of the virtual film festival from Friday, April 30 to Sunday, May 9. The top submissions will be selected by local arts leaders. There will also be a people’s choice winner, chosen by the audience. 

To submit your film, visit the Sarasota Film Festival website, or email [email protected] The 2021 Sarasota Film Festival will take place from Friday, April 30 to Sunday, May 9.

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