Quvenzhane Wallis stars as Hushpuppy in “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” The film will be screened Nov. 9 at Eckerd College as part of the International Cinema Series.
The former Clearwater Film Festival has entered a period of transformation.
In 2011, the event refurbished itself, becoming the Clearwater Film and Music Festival. More than 150 films were submitted for competition and the festival selected 50 films, including five feature films, 24 short films, 16 documentaries and 12 animated films.
Still, festival founder Mike Rembis sought something different – something more significant.
“By simply intending to create a film festival; seeking out films, volunteers, sponsors, venues and setting a date, almost before I knew what hit me, eleven months from initial inception – it happened,” Rembis said in a history of the festival found on the website www.tampabayfilmfest.com. “I created a film festival complete with awards, educational panels and live music. Filmmakers came from as far away as South Africa, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada. We showed films from around the world and everybody had a fantastic time.”
Rembis has once again refined his vision. His new objective: He plans on taking the lessons learned and putting it to use toward energizing the new Tampa Bay International Film Festival.
“You could equate it with learning to drive a vehicle without ever having seen one before,” Rembis says. “We learned by doing. After two years of mashing pedals and gears to cover only a short distance, the practice forced us to polish our driving skills and we are now aimed in a refined direction that is steering us along a beautiful road – to be the best film festival.”
The inaugural Tampa Bay International Film Festival is set for September 2013.
In the meantime, the festival has partnered with Studio@620 to present the Global Film Initiative.
The Global Film Initiative promotes cross-cultural understanding through the medium of cinema. Films are screened at Studio@620, 620 First Ave. S. Upcoming films include “Ordinary People,” Oct. 30; “Ocean of an Old Man,” Nov. 27; and “Street Days,” Dec. 26.
The Sunscreen Film Festival recently took another step in further establishing itself as an internationally renowned event.
Earlier this month, Sunscreen signed a deal to distribute films on Viaway; an on demand video, TV and radio platform.
Viaway Video, TV and Radio entertainment content can be accessed via Samsung, LG, & other Smart TVs and Blu-ray players, Nook and Kindle tablets, Android and Apple Smartphones and mobile devices, as well as Roku, Google TV, PC and other streaming devices.
Sunscreen is currently the only Film Festival partnered on Viaway’s international service. Through content partnerships with international and ethnic TV networks, filmmakers and content producers across the world, Viaway offers over 50,000 video programs and 1,000 live TV channels. Viaway is used by millions of people in over 180 countries around the world.
The Sunscreen Film Festival Channel on Viaway is now available to these millions of international viewers around the clock and around the world.
“One of the biggest challenges for any filmmaker is getting distribution for their film,” said Tony Armer, in a press release. Armer is executive director of the Sunscreen Film Festival. “Now through our partnership with Viaway we can offer filmmakers an opportunity to distribute their film and get paid for it. And the best part is that it’s a non-exclusive deal, so filmmakers can still choose to distribute their film with any other company or way they want to.”
Sunscreen is making this service available to films and filmmakers that submit to the film festival.
“Only so many films can be in the festival every year,” Armer said. “There are only so many slots and it’s impossible to accept everything. So another great aspect to this is that even if a good film doesn’t make the fest we can still distribute it on the Sunscreen channel to those millions of viewers. And best of all it doesn’t cost the filmmakers a dime and they actually make money every time someone watches their film.”
Sunscreen is currently accepting films for its eighth annual festival, set for April 18-21, in St. Petersburg.
The 2012 Tampa International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival wrapped up Oct. 13. The main festival venue was Tampa Theatre. Baywalk Muvico in St. Petersburg served as the Pinellas venue.
Designed to showcase a selection of compelling film and video by, for or about the GLBT community, this year’s festival provided a showcase for 35 feature films and 39 shorts from 16 countries.
Culled from more than 400 entries, festival highlights included director Ira Sachs’ “Keep the Lights On,” the long-awaited Eytan Fox sequel drama “Yossi” and Aurora Guerrero’s coming-of-age Latina love story “Mosquita Y Mari.”
Jury awards included the following:
Best Women’s Short – “Tsuyako,” by Mitsuyo Miyazaki
Best Men’s Short – “Slow,” by Darius Monroe
Best Narrative Film – “Gayby,” by Jonathan Lisecki
Best Doc – “Call Me Kuchu,” by Katherine Fairfax Wright & Malika Zouhali-Worrall
Emerging Short Director Award – Mitsuyo Miyazaki for “Tsuyako”
Emerging Feature Director Award – Jonathan Lisecki for “Gayby”
Audience awards included the following:
No. 1 “The Men Next Door,” by Rob Williams
No. 2 “”Elliot Loves,” by Terracino
No. 3 “Cloudburst,” by Thom Fitzgerald
The fourth annual India International Film Festival will run Feb. 15-17 at various venues in Tampa.
Considered the largest premiere festival of its kind in the southeast, last year’s event boasted more than 3,000 attendees, 150 film submission, celebrity guests and a film school. In addition to 30 films shown during the course of last year’s festival, attendees enjoyed live cultural entertainment.
The Guy Harvey Film Fest ran Oct. 5, 12 and 19, in the Guy Harvey Outpost Auditorium, at the Florida Gulf Coast Center For Fishing and Interactive Museum, 12211 Walsingham Road.
The film fest presented different feature presentations each evening, including “Mystery of the Grouper Moon” on Oct. 5; “Sharks: This Is Your Ocean” on Oct. 12; and “Portraits from the Deep” on Oct. 19.
The Florida Gulf Coast Center for Fishing and Interactive Museum recently opened. The center serves as an educational complex complete with auditorium, classrooms, historical and marine art galleries, interactive fishing simulator area, marine store and outdoor fishing lake – aligning perfectly with Guy Harvey’s signature brand of preserving marine resources through education in science and hands-on exploration.
The 2,000 square foot, state-of-the-art auditorium, sponsored by TradeWinds Beach Resort, features a 100-seat amphitheater with full audio and visual presentation capability.
The center plans to present future programs in the auditorium.
Following is a list of other area film festivals:
• India International Film Festival – Feb. 15-17, at Channelside Cinemas. Visit iifftampa.com.
• Sarasota Film Society’s Hispanic Heritage Film Festival – Visit filmsociety.org.
• The Tampa International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival – Visit tiglff.com.
For those who seek to experience films that fall outside of the mainstream cinema, several venues will host screenings in the coming months.
The Dalí & Beyond Film Series features movies that share a common enthusiasm for fantasy, dreams, creativity and the imagination. The films are screened at the Salvador Dalí Museum, One Dali Blvd., St. Petersburg. Cost is free with paid admission to the museum. Refreshments will be available for purchase in the Café Gala, but refreshments are not permitted in the theater.
• “Tom Wait’s Big Time,” Thursday, Nov. 15, 6 p.m.
Singer-songwriter-actor Tom Waits stars in this highly theatrical-concert movie. Filmed at the Warfield Theater in San Francisco and the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles, “Big Time” crackles with the same vivacity and curve-ball humor that has animated Waits through his 15-year recording career. The more than 20 songs include, “Franks Wild Years,” “Time,” “Innocent When You Dream,” and “Straight to the Top.”
• “Edward James – Builder of Dreams,” Thursday, Dec. 6, 6 p.m.
Avery Danziger presents this film that will takes viewers on an extraordinary journey into the world of the Surrealists as the life and the accomplishments of Dali patron, surrealist collector, poet, and architect Edward James. For the last 20 years of his life, aided by 40 full time laborers and craftsmen, he built one of the biggest, yet least well known architectural monuments of the 20th century, dedicated to Surrealism and hidden in the jungles of Mexico. Although he has been called “a legend among the legendary,” few people recognize his name of know of his artist accomplishments.
• Double feature: Peter Capaldi’s “Franz Kafka’s It’s A Wonderful Life” and “Black Adder’s Christmas Carol,” Thursday, Dec. 20, 6 p.m.
“Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life” is a great deranged Christmas short to usher in the holiday season. In the spirit of Frank Capra’s classic film, Franz Kafka stars Richard E. Grant in the title role of this award-winning black comedy concerning the famous author suffering writer’s block on Christmas Eve, stumbling over how to complete the first sentence of “Metamorphosis,” while being tormented by holiday revelers downstairs.
Black Adder: The demonic and angelic sides of holiday schizophrenia. Back by popular demand for a third straight year, we begin with the irreverent British satire’s Christmas special starring Rowan Atkinson as Ebenezer Blackadder, mucking up Dickens’ immortal “A Christmas Carol” with plenty of horrid people and seasonal bottom jokes.
The International Cinema Series presents critically acclaimed and important films from around the world. Films are screened Fridays, 7 p.m., in the Dan and Mary Miller Auditorium at Eckerd College, 4200 54th Ave. S., St. Petersburg.
All programs are free and open to the public. No tickets are required. Call 864-7979.
Following is a list of upcoming films:
• “The Interrupters,” Friday, Nov. 2, 7 p.m. The featured film will be “The Interrupters,” directed by Steve James; English, 125 minutes, 2011. The newest effort by the director/producer of acclaimed documentary “Hoop Dreams” (1994), “The Interrupters” explores the stubborn persistence of violence in American cities through the stories of three “Violence Interrupters” who have intimate knowledge of the ramifications of urban turbulence. Shot over the course of a year, “The Interrupters” captures a period in Chicago when it became a national symbol for violence in America.
• “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” Friday, Nov. 9, 7 p.m. The featured film will be “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” directed by Benh Zeitlin; English, 93 minutes, 2012. The first feature from director Benh Zeitlin and starring newcomer Quvenzhané Wallis, “Beasts of the Southern Wild” plunges the spectator into the lush and brutal world of six-year-old Hushpuppy, a resident of a ramshackle bayou community threatened by melting polar ice caps and her father’s fading health. Shot on Super 16mm, the film won the Camera d’Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and the Cinematography and Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
• “Unforgivable,” Friday, Nov. 30, 7 p.m. The featured film will be “Unforgivable,” directed by André Téchiné; French with English subtitles, 111 min., 2011. Modern-day Venice forms a picturesque backdrop for this study of human relationships as another form of tourism. A writer (André Dussollier) moves to Venice and quickly moves in with his real estate agent, his daughter, an actress, drops in for a visit and disappears, leaving her daughter behind. In search of his daughter, the writer hires a private investigator with a complex family and past of her own.
This article appears in the 2012 edition of Welcome Back, a special publication of Tampa Bay Newspapers, inside newspapers Oct. 25 and available in the e-Edition Oct. 24.