Hollywood stars of today and tomorrow were out Thursday night at the 11th Annual Sunscreen Film Festival in St. Petersburg, including one local teen who is literally "living the dream."
- Actors Paul Sorvino, Gary Busey attending
- 16-year-old Jared Closterman attending thanks to Children's Dream Fund
- Closterman traveled to Hollywood in February to meet director Ridley Scott
The opening night featured red carpets, flashing lights and movie stars. If it wasn’t for the big Saint Petersburg sign, this could be mistaken for a Hollywood movie premiere.
“To see it all is just crazy. And it’s so cool to see that it’s happening in the local area,” said 16-year-old Jared Closterman.
The future film director got a taste of how Hollywood works earlier this year. In February he traveled to Hollywood, where he met one of his idols, Ridley Scott, the director of "Alien", "Blade Runner", and more recently, "The Martian."
“It was incredible," said Closterman. "It was so unreal to meet him. And being able to meet someone I look up to and looked up to my whole life.”
The St. Petersburg-based Children’s Dream Fund helped Closterman go on his dream trip, and also to this year’s Sunscreen Film Festival as a special guest.
Closterman has faced some daunting challenges in his life. He has a condition that affects his immune system, but he isn’t letting that stop him.
“It’s a great story," said Pinellas County Film Commission spokesperson Tony Armer. "It’s just another opportunity to help continue his dream and maybe give him the opportunity to live his dream and meet some film makers to help move forward with his career.”
And along with the big names expected at Sunscreen this year, actors like Paul Sorvino and Gary Busey, what better way to get to know about movies than with an actor in one of this year’s films? Closterman met with 9-year-old Max Mazzacurati, who’s starring in a film this year.
“It’s very fun and I can’t believe it. It feels like a dream,” Mazzacurati said.
The Sunscreen Film Festival runs through May 1. For more information, visit http://sunscreenfilmfestival.com/.