Gasparilla festivities come to an end with a grand finale. The Gasparilla International Film Festival (GIFF) makes its annual debut Wednesday. The event offers much more than buttery popcorn and comedic relief. As the festival grows in attendance each year, so does the experience it provides.
“We like to make it very interactive,” GIFF marketing coordinator, Michelle Canas said. “It’s not just your average ‘let’s go to the movie and catch a film’. It’s definitely a lot more than that.”
In addition to the 115 film screenings, GIFF has celebratory opening and closing night events. Local clubs host after parties for each night in between. Informative discussion panels offer advice and insight into the movie-making industry. The festival also includes a Family Fun Day held outdoors at the Centennial Park.
The cinematography community in Tampa Bay united to establish the Tampa Film Institute in 2006. A year later, the Gasparilla International Film Festival made its first appearance. Now, as they celebrate 10 years of film, GIFF has gifted this year’s theme as the Year of the Director.
Compared with previous years, dozens of directors are set to be attendance. After the credits roll, moviegoers have the unique opportunity to partake in a Q&A with the film’s director.
“To have a director there opens up a conversation that educates the audience more to film, to the film-making process and brings them closer to film and closer to appreciating and loving films, which is a great thing,” Ron Chapman, director of Forbidden Shore, said.
Film screenings range from $12 to $15 per film and the price includes a director Q&A if it is held after. Industry panels and family fun day are free and open to the public.