(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.