Friday, August 29, 2014

Ask the Locals: Pete Guzzo, Tampa filmmaker

Posted By on Fri, Aug 29, 2014 at 5:58 PM

click to enlarge PHOTO BY HEIDI KURPIELA
  • Photo by Heidi Kurpiela

Pete Guzzo is Tampa Bay’s jack of all filmmaking. A 35-year-old Harbour Island resident, he pulls double duty as a commercial director, producer and indie filmmaker with over a dozen IMDB credits to his name.

Currently the director and creative producer for HSN’s original content division, he conceptualizes, writes, manages and directs on-air campaigns and commercials, including the catchy ad featuring celebrity chefs cooking and dancing to jazzy EDM beats.

Guzzo, a New Jersey native, shot his first feature (A Joyce Story) while he was still an undergrad at the University of Tampa. At 24, he started his own production company with his brother, Tampa Tribune journalist Paul Guzzo –– his longtime co-collaborator and screenwriter.

His indie filmmaking portfolio includes short films (The Dance, Caged Dreams, Combination Lock), the raucous comedy 99 and the award-winning documentary Ghosts of Ybor: Charlie Wall.

He is on the founding board of the Gasparilla Film Festival and is the co-founder and director of Jolt Production School, an organization that connects professional and aspiring filmmakers on pro-bono campaigns benefiting local nonprofits.

Favorite fountain of youth: Cephas Hot Shop. “You’re not going to find anyone else cutting open coconuts with a machete. A lot of people drive by the place and think nothing of it. I’ve been going for 10 years. The ingredients are as fresh as it gets. The aloe juice and coconut water is like soup for your organs.”

Favorite place to let his dog off the leash: Channelside Dog Park. “The same dogs go there every day. We all feel comfortable letting our dogs wrestle together because we all know each other.”

Favorite downtown eatery: Anise Global Gastrobar. “They have stinky buns and truffle tater tots. I love tots. I could eat ‘em anywhere. I get this drink called the Raspberry Fizz. It comes in an 8-ball glass, so it looks a little more masculine.”

Favorite place to unwind: The Sail Pavilion in downtown Tampa. “I go with my dog, drink a couple PBRs and watch the water. It’s a good stand-in for the beach.”

Favorite local IPA: Tampa Bay Brewing Company’s Old Elephant Foot.
“When it hits your palate it kind of bites the back of your tongue.”

Favorite way to spend a summer day: Egmont Key. “It’s gorgeous. The water is crystal clear. If it’s a nice day and you’re going to go boating, your best bet is to go to St. Pete and anchor off Egmont Key."

Favorite sports bar with a view: Gators Café & Saloon on John’s Pass. “It’s a fun place to pull up the boat and have a drink, especially during baseball season. The only thing is, it’s hard to get a Florida State fan to go.”

Favorite movie from his resume: Charlie Wall: The Documentary. “My brother Paul and I started the project thinking it would be about Santo Trafficante and it spun into a much different documentary about a much more fascinating person.”

Favorite weekend getaway: Post Card Inn. “It’s the perfect place to stay if you want to hang with your dog. They have no size restrictions, which is rare.”

Favorite place to buy exotic produce: Oceanic Supermarket. “I’m big into juicing. If you’re looking for homeopathic fruits and roots, Oceanic has it covered. Burdock root is hard to find outside of Whole Foods and Oceanic has it for a quarter of the price.”

Favorite place to work in public: Café Hey. “Me and my buddies go there to do work and drink microbrews and nobody bothers you.”

Favorite health splurge: Beet juice at Palma Ceia Village Health Market & Café. “It’s like $12 for a bottle of beet, kale and apple juice. It’s totally worth it. That juice stays in your system for days.”

Favorite fast-food chain: Smoothie King. “I’ve been going there for 13 years. The one in Hyde Park is really well-run. I go to get my shot of wheatgrass. Drinking two ounces of wheatgrass is the equivalent of eating five pounds of vegetables.”

Favorite throwback Italian restaurant: Osteria Natalina. “It’s small –– like 12 tables –– and quaint. They make things off the menu and the owner walks around to check on you. It reminds me of something you’d see in New York or New Jersey.”

Favorite drinking event: Bourbon & Brew Festival. “It’s a great way to get my girlfriend to drink bourbon. It’s a lot more fun than going to the bar.”

Favorite film event: Gasparilla International Film Festival. “I was on the original board. I’m proud that we helped get it up and running. We were small and we scraped it together, and now it’s this huge event that gets better every year.”

Favorite neighborhood pizza parlor: Pizza Pazza on Harbour Island. “It’s a good non-traditional Italian pie. He makes each slice fresh. Sometimes I’ll mix it up and get a slice with Gorgonzola and horseradish and one with balsamic vinaigrette and basil. It’s absolutely delicious.”

Favorite extracurricular Ybor activity: Beer Pong at Gaspar’s Grotto. “It’s a pirate-themed bar, which sounds corny, but it works. I’m going to be 35 and I still play beer pong. There’s nothing wrong with that.”

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