TAMPA - The stars are coming out for the 2013 Gasparilla Film Festival March 19-24.
Thomas Jane of the Florida-made film “The Punisher,” is slated to attend among others.
The festival, in its seventh year has been slowly contributing to the arts community by bringing quality independent films to Tampa. The festival even works to support local independent film-makers.
Such is the case with Rod Grant and Nicholas Naylor. Their locally made feature film “Pawnz” will premiere there this year on March 23. The two actors, writers and producers embarked on the film journey a year ago setting out to make a comedy that would, quite simply, entertain audiences.
The film, starring Lauren Leech, (Never Back Down, and Sydney White & the 7 Dorks), and newcomer Lido Capogrosso is about a pawn store manager (Capogrosso) who’s trying to catch his cheating girlfriend in the act (Gabrielle Ortez). All the while his misfit employee’s at the pawn shop are taking advantage of the customers. The film showcases actual stories of various people coming in to pawn things. And the list will surprise you.
“I had these true stories and they were hilarious and I just knew it made for a great film, so wanted to make it.” Naylor said.
The film is creating a huge buzz in the local film community and in the distribution arena. Though still in its festival run, the film is receiving numerous distribution offers.
“It’s great that people are liking the film…we just wanted to make something that was funny and hoped it entertained people,” adds Grant.
Both guys aren’t new to the film scene with over 50 films between them. Both are actors, writers, producers. And both want to create an impact on the local film scene.
“We want to show the world that Tampa is a wonderful city and a great place to produce their films,” Grant said.
Grant started as an author published under the name Rod L. Griffin then crossed over into acting about nine years ago. Since then he’s gone on to appear in over 35 films, as well as written and produced. Naylor began as a child actor and caught the acting bug. He then went on to appear in over 20 films, as well as writing, directing and producing.
The pair share a very admirable and likeable friendship.
“Nick and I met in acting class and just hit it off,” said Grant. “He’s really a good and patient director and I admire that,” adds Grant.
The two, obviously good friends are hoping to move up to the next level in the film industry in the US with this production.
“What Tampa needs is more investors stepping forward to help filmmakers shoot here. Nick and I are always seeking investors for our films and so are other local producers. This is something very much needed in our industry here. If we can get that, we’ll have more productions here,” Grant said.
Catch “Pawnz’ Saturday March 23, at 11 pm. It’s also intended for DVD and theatrical release later this year.