Everyone involved with the Gasparilla International Film Festival can pat themselves on the back, for this has been the best GIFF to date. Although everyone is having a blast and those who have attended were treated to many great shorts and feature flicks. Many of us are waiting to finally get more than 2 hours of sleep. Day 3 had so many wonderful activities going on which contributed to our lack of Zs.
Kicking off the day were a few educational panels at the University of Tampa. One of them revolved around the future of Florida’s film industry. The goal is to get more projects to film and do post-production in our great state. On the panel was State Rep. Kevin Ambler, Digital Domain Chairman John Textor, and Tampa Film Commish Lindsey Norris Guthrie along with Miami’s Graham Winick who is President of Film Florida. Representing the producers and directors were UT Prof Tom Garrett, Lou Maggio of Maven Films, along with the guys behind tonight’s closing film Thespians.
To try to sum up the complex conversation regarding Florida’s Film future, the plan is to get a budget and tax incentive increase, so filmmakers will come to the sunshine state and help build our infrastructure while creating great films. Having a Digital Domain location in Florida is a huge step and if the film bill gets passed by the Senate, Florida will once again be a top player in the industry. More info to come later this week on how you can contact the committee to encourage them in the passing of this bill.
After the panels, the movie-marathon continued with great flicks showing at the Muvico Ybor and the CineBistro in Hyde Park. Endure made its world premiere at GIFF in Ybor last night. The flick sold out and the entire piece was shot in nearby Lakeland. It starred Judd Nelson, Tom Arnold, and Joey Lauren Adams. Producers were on hand fielding questions from the audience, a common practice at GIFF.
Over at the CineBistro, the writer took in a short A Piece of My Heart which was created by local talent. Writer/producer Reggie Stephens along with the stars of the short, Rhea Rossiter and Christopher Ingle, were in the audience and took questions from the pleased crowd. Following the short was the feature presentation Sensored. The psychological thriller also captivated the crowd. After that, it was off the another fun after party at Aja in Channelside with many of the celebs and fellow film fans.
Later this week, a more detailed report, along with interviews and reviews of some of the flicks will be right here.
So there’s one more night to get through before all the hard-working members and volunteers of the GIFF get some much needed rest. Along with the closing film, the award-ceremony and after-party wraps the festival.