For a few bewildering days, R. Presley Stephens thought his Tampa Bay Underground Film Festival would welcome a notorious celebrity.
The fourth annual shoestring cinema showcase runs Thursday through Sunday at Britton 8 Theater, 3938 S Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa.
Hollywood bad boy Shia LaBeouf won’t be there.
Stephens said LaBeouf personally submitted his on-the-road documentary #takemeanywhere online for inclusion in this year’s lineup.
"Not really sure why he picked TBUFF (other than maybe it rhymes with his last name)," Stephens said by email, "but the … documentary does briefly go through Florida at one point."
LaBeouf has done stranger things lately. His tabloid headlines include turning himself into an art installation, live-streaming himself watching all his movies in a row and various cases of disorderly conduct.
Presley reached out to LaBeouf for confirmation without response. On the same day the festival schedule was due for release, he contacted the actor’s production company.
"One of his filmmaking partners responded that Shia must have submitted the movie ‘in error,’ because all the rights in the film haven’t been cleared," Presley said. "They withdrew the film immediately.
"Quite a bummer, but what can you do? Maybe next year."
The festival’s schedule features nearly 200 shorts, features and documentaries including Garage Rockin’ Craze, above, produced by former St. Petersburg resident B.B. Clarke, now living in Japan.
Another title of interest is No Place in the World, an anti-bullying feature produced in Citrus County. Stephens also touted the opening night feature The Lost Digit, winner of the best Florida production prize at this year’s Gasparilla International Film Festival.
Tickets are $8 per screening, $15 all-access day passes and $25 VIP weekend passes. tbuff.org.
Hollywood is still sleeping off Thanksgiving dinner so there’s only one new movie opening nationwide this weekend.
Naturally it’s a horror flick.
He’s Out There (PG-13) stars Yvonne Strahovski, left, (Dexter’s killer girlfriend) as a single mother vacationing with two daughters when a psychopath comes calling. Of course they’re staying in a remote cabin in the woods, presumably without cell service.
Current movies recommended by the Tampa Bay Times:
1 Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: One of 2017’s best films.
2 The Florida Project: Homeless children make their own magic in Disney World’s shadow.
3 Lady Bird: Saoirse Ronan shines in Greta Gerwig’s directing debut.
4 The Man Who Invented Christmas: Christopher Plummer isn’t humbug as Ebenezer Scrooge.
5 Last Flag Flying: Richard Linklater’s sequel of sorts to The Last Detail.
(Dates subject to change)
Dec. 8: The Disaster Artist; Just Getting Started
Dec. 15: Star Wars: The Last Jedi; The Shape of Water; Wonder Wheel; Ferdinand
Dec. 20: The Greatest Showman; Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
Dec. 22: Darkest Hour; Pitch Perfect 3; Downsizing; All the Money in the World; Father Figures
Dec. 25: Molly’s Game
Jan. 12: The Post; Phantom Thread; The Commuter; Proud Mary; Paddington 2
Jan. 19: Call Me By Your Name; Hostiles; 12 Strong
Jan. 26: White Boy Rick; Maze Runner: The Death Cure