Tuesday, 31 March 2009 16:24

Gasparilla International Film Festival 2009 Closing Event

Written by  Heidi Lux
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Chad Moore (left) and Eric Odum (right) - Photo by Simaen Skolfield
Chad Moore (left) and Eric Odum (right) - Photo by Simaen Skolfield

Tampa, FL (March 2009) - The Gasparilla International Film Festival came and went, leaving a very exhausted but pleased Eric Odum at the end of the after party at the Old Firehouse in Tampa. When I first spied the man who helped found the GIFF at the opening night party, he was the festival’s President. When we were actually able to sit down to an interview at the closing night party, he had turned his crown over to Chad Moore.  

Eric Odum spoke passionately about his love of film, a love he developed when he lived in Brazil and was made to watch a Pedro Almodóvar film. He watched it over and over until he not only learned Spanish, but developed an appreciation of artistic cinema. His purpose in co-founding the GIFF was to fill the gap left by the absence of art house cinema in Tampa, to give local filmmakers a chance for exposure and bring to the Tampa Bay Area the films audiences wouldn’t otherwise get a chance to see, like Il Divo, the controversial biopic based on former Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti.

(left to right) Eric Odum, Paul Guzzo and Peter Guzzo - Photo by Simaen Skolfield
(left to right) Eric Odum, Paul Guzzo and Peter Guzzo - Photo by Simaen Skolfield

Local talent the Guzzo brothers won the Best Florida Production award for Charlie Wall, a documentary about Tampa’s first crime lord. During the early 1900s, Charlie Wall “had a stake in almost every gambling parlor, whorehouse and drug deal in the city.” Paul and Peter Guzzo have been making films locally for quite awhile, but believe it or not, this is their first local film festival. The next film they would like to do is a feature about the  crime in old Tampa Bay. Sort of like a Gangs of New York set in Ybor.

The Gasparilla International Film Festival doesn’t receive much support at a governmental level, rather, it is made possible thanks to its generous sponsors and volunteers. “Our volunteers have been extraordinary,” says Chad Moore. He thanks the sponsors for stepping up and making the festival happen, especially in the current economic climate. Events like this are good for the economy of Tampa Bay. They attract people from all over the country who then spend money here. They also nurture local talent, who will then go out and produce and generate revenue and reputation for the area.

Chad Moore, the new president, also seemed exhausted and enthused, if these conflicting emotions can even coexist. He will continue to bring into the Tampa Bay Area quality films that people want to see. “Good films that are good for you,” he says. “Part of our mission is to support local filmmaking,” says Chad. And if the new president is anything like the old, the GIFF will help Tampa to continue to grow as a thriving town for the arts.

Read 1389 times Last modified on Thursday, 02 April 2009 16:46

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