Movies: Film Festivals

Friday, August 22, 2014

Fabulous Independent Film Festival in Sarasota this weekend

Posted By on Fri, Aug 22, 2014 at 6:55 PM

TO BE TAKEI: George Takei's doc is among the offerings at the festival.
  • TO BE TAKEI: George Takei's doc is among the offerings at the festival.

Celebrate diversity in the LGBT community this weekend with the best in world cinema.

Sarasota’s Fabulous Independent Film Festival takes place Friday, Aug. 22 through Sunday, Aug. 24 at Burns Court Cinemas. This three-day film fest is organized by broken rules productions in association with the Harvey Milk Festival, a non-profit organization.

This year’s event includes nine feature-length films: Appropriate Behavior, Blackbird, Born to Fly, Boy Meets Girl, The Circle, Cupcakes, Queerituality, To Be Takei and The Way He Looks.

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Fall Preview 2014: Talking with Tampa Bay's newest arts execs

On filling big shoes, finding audiences, and making art in a tough cultural climate.

Posted By on Thu, Aug 21, 2014 at 12:48 AM

  • Todd Bates

We called it a roundtable, but the configuration was more square than round: eight of the area’s newly anointed arts execs, plus A&E Editor Julie Garisto and yours truly, all gathered for a conversation at CL Space on a rainy Thursday night in August.

After pizza was dispersed (also rectangular, from Pizza Fusion) and pictures taken (by CL Creative Director Todd Bates), we began with introductions and an invitation: Name the one thing that’s happening in your season this year that everybody has to see. 

Find their answers, and their bios, here.

Following the introductions, we launched into the delicate subject of The Ones Who Came Before. 

David Warner: You’re having to fill some big shoes. Jennifer Parramore was at the film commission for 22 years, Anna Brennen at Stageworks 30 years. Seth and Meg, both of your Todds [Smith at TMA, Olson at American Stage] not only had been there for quite a while, they, like Anna, built new homes. So you’ve got this big legacy behind you. What’s that like?
Meg Heimstead: Todd — my Todd — has been really generous with his knowledge and his time. When I’ve encountered a roadblock or need some help, he’s a text away.
DW: For all three of you who are interim directors — it was pretty sudden, right?
Seth Pevnick: I was in Omaha helping to take the Poseidon show down. I got a text from Todd on Friday that said, “We need to meet before you come to work on Monday.”
DW: That could be bad, it could be good…
Pevnick: I flew back the next day, and he told me he was leaving. Which didn’t surprise me that much — museum directors tend to move around after they do something big. Then he said, “The board wants you to step in as acting director.” That was a bit of a shock. But that was about six weeks before he left… [To Meg] Like your Todd, my Todd was very generous.

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Fall Arts Preview 2014: The who, what and where of Tampa Bay's new arts leaders

Posted By on Thu, Aug 21, 2014 at 12:46 AM

A bumper crop of new leaders is in place as the Fall 2014 arts season begins. Creative Loafing spoke with them at a roundtable discussion Aug. 14. Here are their vital stats — including their new titles, their predecessors and their choices for must-do's this season. The photos are by Todd Bates.


Tony Armer
Executive Director, St. Pete/Clearwater Film Commission
Appointed: June 2014
Succeeded: Jennifer Parramore (22 years as film commissioner)
Ongoing gigs: ED, Sunscreen Film Festival; Adjunct Professor, Art Institute of Tampa and University of Tampa
Film must-do: Blue Ocean Film Festival, St. Petersburg, Nov. 3-9


Zora Carrier
Interim Director, Florida Museum of Photographic Arts

Appointed: June 2014
Succeeded: Jane Simon (1 year as director)
Previous gigs: Founder & ED, Open Concept Gallery, Grand Rapids, MI; Founder & Curator, Perugia Gallery, Slovak Republic; Gallery Art Factory, Prague.
FMoPA must-do: Ruth Bernhard: Body and Form, Sept. 6-Nov. 30

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Do This: Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement

Posted By on Wed, Apr 9, 2014 at 4:09 PM

By now, Edie Windsor is a living legend within the LGBT community. After all, her legal struggles to be recognized as the surviving spouse of her longtime partner, Thea Spyer, following Spyer’s death led to last summer’s historic Supreme Court decision declaring the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. As part of its monthly film series commemorating Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival’s 25th anniversary, TIGLFF will screen the film Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement at St. Petersburg’s freeFall Theatre. The touching and powerful documentary showcases Windsor and Spyer’s love story from start to finish — the first time they met in the West Village in 1965, summers on Fire Island, Spyer’s battle with multiple sclerosis and their wedding in Ontario. Enjoy a pre-film dinner at Queenshead, and don’t miss Windsor’s appearance at Equality Florida’s May 3 gala in St. Pete. 7:30 p.m., April 9, 6099 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at 

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Best in show this week — 2014 Gasparilla International Film Festival

Tampa’s Gasparilla International Film Festival continues its run as king of Bay area film festivals.

Posted By on Wed, Mar 19, 2014 at 12:56 PM

HOMETOWN HOPEFUL: Chu and Blossom was shot entirely in the Tampa Bay area.
  • HOMETOWN HOPEFUL: Chu and Blossom was shot entirely in the Tampa Bay area.

Planning a film festival like the Gasparilla International Film Festival (GIFF) — which is celebrating its eighth year of screenings, workshops and parties this week at theaters around Tampa — is a year-round undertaking. Festival President Joe Restaino says planning for the 2014 edition of GIFF began while last year’s edition was still underway. 

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Best freebie this week: Environmental film fest at Eckerd College

Topics include GMOs, the Galapagos and the fate of our nation's coasts.

Posted By on Wed, Feb 19, 2014 at 1:01 PM

Don't wait put off indefinitely Earth-conscious docs languishing in your Netflix queue. Eckerd College has some of the best, most recent and relevant out there today, screening for free tonight through Saturday and providing perspectives from guest presenters that you're not going to get in your pajamas by the TV screen.

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Monday, January 27, 2014

Sundance Interview with Noaz Deshe, director of White Shadow

Posted By on Mon, Jan 27, 2014 at 9:06 PM

Berlin-based Israeli filmmaker Noaz Deshe was planning a trip to teach film in Tanzania. When he read about the illicit trade in human albino meat and entrails, that according to local witch doctors can have curative effects, he knew this was a story he had to tell. He enlisted locals as crew and assistants and actors, each of whom contributed details to the story, and played a role that connected with his or her past experiences. The finished film, White Shadow, tells the story of Alias, an albino boy whose father is brutally murdered in front of him. His mother sends him into the city, under the protection of his uncle. Unfortunately, his uncle’s debts put him into contact with men as dangerous as those he’d left home to escape. It’s a rich and impressionistic tale, with gripping performances. Sometimes it has a loosely improvised documentary feel, but there are powerful moments of genuine beauty and of tenderness and of terror. It is an important story, that is very well told in this Sundance-selected film.

Check out the following interview by Ben Elliot and Connor Heckler, who accompanied me on my trip to Sundance:

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sundance 2014: Wild, Weird, Wacky and Wonderful

Posted By on Thu, Jan 23, 2014 at 7:45 PM

Paul Eeenhorn and Earl Lynn Nelson in Land Ho!
  • Paul Eeenhorn and Earl Lynn Nelson in Land Ho!
Sundance is nearly finished. It’s Thursday morning, there are three days left, and while it isn’t quite winding down, it is starting to settle in. The tourists on Main Street, hoping for a glimpse of celebrity, have dwindled. Now it’s mostly locals, film crews, and film buffs. The free shuttles are no longer stuffed. It’s a little easier to get into films. There’s finally room to sit down and eat the tasty chips and amazing salsa at El Chubasco, the no-longer-quite-hidden but still slightly-out-of-the-way culinary secret of Sundance, where you can get great Mexican food for a decent price.

I’ve seen nearly two dozen full length films, including documentaries and features. What follows is a quick report on the most memorable fiction films I’ve seen so far, in four categories:

The Wild - films that made my heart beat faster, that were intense and exhilarating

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Slamdance Review: Goldberg & Eisenberg

Posted By on Tue, Jan 21, 2014 at 11:55 PM

Goldberg & Eisenberg
  • Goldberg & Eisenberg
Goldberg, a lonely and awkward Israeli computer programmer, wanders the parks of Tel Aviv with his dog, in hopes of making a love connection. The connection he makes, with an abrasive and persistent man by the name of Eisenberg, is not what he was looking for. Unfortunately, Eisenberg won’t take no for an answer. As Eisenberg’s harassment gets out of control, and the local police do nothing, Goldberg tries to take matters in his own hands. Unfortunately, he's not nearly as good as Eisenberg in the dangerous game of retaliation.

At first Eisenberg seems like a somewhat abrasive extrovert who takes offense at being snubbed, and means to rub it in the uptight Goldberg’s face by embarrassing him in public. Very quickly, however, things escalate far beyond awkward. Neither one is blameless, but in the war for respect Eisenberg is ruthless and unrepentant.

This film’s billing as “Israel’s answer to the Coen brothers” and “like a Tarantino movie, had he grown up in a different time and place” is not entirely accurate. It's closer to The Cable Guy, but much darker and less funny. It’s a confident debut, which has played to acclaim at a number of festivals, including Slamdance where I got a chance to see it, but it’s not as self-assured or original as anything by the directors whose work it’s been compared to.

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Sundance Review: Richard Linklater’s Boyhood is a fascinating experiment

Posted By on Tue, Jan 21, 2014 at 6:30 PM

Ellar Coltrane in Boyhood
  • Ellar Coltrane in Boyhood
12 years in the making, Richard Linklater’s late inclusion into the 2014 Sundance Film Festival lineup does something very rare in fiction cinema. His actors age naturally in a film whose story spans over a decade in the life of an extended family. I’ve seen something like this in the fascinating Up Series documentaries, in which Michael Apted follows the lives of fourteen British children from the age of 7, returning to them every seven years. Sometimes you get this in a successful television series, that runs over several seasons and captures the changing lives and aging bodies of its stars. It happened with the Harry Potter movies, as Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson went from pimply kids to young adults over the course of several sequels. Usually, though, films make use of makeup or special effects (or multiple actors) to artificially create or mask the appearance of aging.

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