My Thursday entry at Tampa’s Gasparilla International Film Festival would be an Industry Panel Discussion. It was called For the Love of Movies/Women in the Industry.
The venue was the Channelside Cinemas, once a 10 theater cinema hall, until they closed in the fall of 2012. The building remained closed and dormant and has re-opened just for this festival.
Over the five-day period of Wednesday to Sunday, March 25th – March 29th, 130 films will be screened. 70 shorts and 60 feature films.
Four of the film makers who have films showing at this festival formed the core of the panel.The Moderator, a last-minute fill in) and panel member, was Actress/Producer Mary Rachel Dudley.
Her film, which she both produced and wrote, In Lieu of Honor, would have its World Premier tonight. Have a look at the trailer:
Here’s a short precis of what the film is about –
Frank Chapman…a man and a soldier. He finds himself surviving another day…a day all too familiar that tortuously repeats itself with the stench of failure. Each step spirals him out of control. He might be back home, yet he was left behind…somewhere in a desert of painful illusions.
The second panelist was Film Director Lindsey Copeland. Her film is called Girls Night. Lindsey not only produced it, directed it,and wrote it, she also was the cinematographer. That’s wearing a lot of hats isn’t it?
Date line March 24th
Director Gil Cates Jr.: It was a lot of work, and even more to consider logistically given the 20 day shooting schedule. We had to think about anchoring the boats, tides, sunlight, wind, and the rise and swell of the lake…
Actor Chris Mulkey: It was a tough schedule – 20 days seemed almost inhuman
Actor Sean Astin on the Red Carpet
Actor Sean Astin: Twenty days? – It seemed more like six months! Every day from before sunrise until after sunset. It was like Lawrence of Arabia on Lake Michigan…
Comments like the above or almost like the above were spoken by the people named after the showing of The Surface, which opened the 9th annual Gasparilla International Film Festival – Tampa’s oldest and biggest film festival.
The Tampa Theater on a non festival day
The Festival’s Opening Night Reception Party, at the Tampa Theater got things started at 6:00 PM. There was a red carpet, some strong lights, and some VIP cars arriving for valet parking service. This party looked like Tampa’s best and most beautiful people were all on hand.
After which the theater doors opened to the general public and the seats were quickly filled. After an introduction by Tampa newscaster and TV personality Gayle Sierens, and a short speech by Rachel Feinman, the President of the Gasparilla International Film Festival (GIFF), and a short speech by a spokesperson from Suncoast Credit Union (the main sponsor) – Director Gil Cates Jr. and Producer and screenwriter Jeff Gendelman came out to briefly introduce the film..