Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Amy Scherzer's Diary

Amy Scherzer's Diary: Gasparilla Film Fest wows

Tampa Bay Jewish Film Festival

The number 18 has a spiritual meaning in Judaism, making the 18th annual Tampa Bay Jewish Film Festival extra special, chairman Stewart Donnell reminded the opening night audience at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts. Jewish federations of Tampa, Pinellas and Pasco counties ("We're bi-Bay," quipped Tampa Jewish Federation director Jack Ross) partnered to offer 12 Israel and Jewish heritage films at 10 theaters.

Besides dazzling desserts at the March 20 reception, the highlight was presenting the Starr Award, named for festival co-founder Jesse Starr, to 12-year volunteer Sharon Feen-Wallace, prior to the feature film, Bethlehem. The festival concludes Monday.

Boys & Girls Clubs' New York Yankees luncheon

The Steinbrenner family and the New York Yankees scored big time for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay, hosting nearly 600 autograph hounds for lunch March 21. Fans formed orderly lines in front of every player, coach and manager for 20 minutes of bat, ball, cap and what-have-you signing, at $300 per ticket. For $10,000, sponsors got 40 minutes. Yankees great Derek Jeter's line was twice as long as anyone else's.

Youth of the Year Gene Mosely brought his A game, passionately describing how club activities changed his life. Board chairman Hal Steinbrenner announced 11,000 kids like Gene at 18 clubs will benefit from the nearly $300,000 raised at the Marriott Waterside that day. "The spirit of George Steinbrenner is always with us," said perennial emcee John Wilson, WTVT-Ch. 13 anchor.

Person of Vision Dinner

Vision screening and treatment agency Prevent Blindness Florida revived its Person of Vision award after a seven-year break, honoring the public service legacy of mother/daughter dynamos Betty Castor and U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa. Dinner co-chairs Jim Davis and Lorna Taylor asked Children's Campaign founder Ray Miller to give the invocation March 20 at the Vinoy Renaissance Resort. They joined seven others with tributes and toasts, including Fulbright Scholar board chairman Tom Healy, consultant Juel Smith and Alex Sink who made sure the Castors' husbands, Sam Bell and Bill Lewis, were recognized for their loving support. Dinner proceeds will help promote eye health and safety statewide, said CEO Joanne Olvera Lighter.

Gasparilla International Film Festival

A Magic 8-Ball logo foretold Year 8 of the Gasparilla International Film Festival, which opened with actor Jason Ritter attending the world premiere of There's Always Woodstock, and closed five days later with the screening of locally filmed Chu and Blossom. In between, more than 13,500 movie buffs viewed nearly 100 features, shorts and documentaries, with many also getting to meet actors R.J. Mitte (Breaking Bad) and C.S. Lee (Dexter).

Known for its cinematic celebrations, the fest feted fans March 19 at Tampa Theatre, moving over to Anise Global Gastrobar for late-night mingling. A wild wrap party entranced 500 fans and filmmakers March 23 at the Ritz Ybor with a 4-D interactive projection of a Magic 8-Ball. As DJ Fresh spun the hits, guests asked questions on an iPad to be answered by the spinning ball projected on the stage.

"Fingers crossed, we can lure The Infiltrator to film here," said Dale Gordon, director of Hillsborough's Film and Digital Media Commission, eyeing the enthusiastic crowd.


Saturday: 66th annual Fashionollia sponsored by Tampa Woman's Club to benefit Bridging Freedom; fashions from Dillards; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Renaissance Hotel International Plaza, $60; (813) 839-7457.

Saturday: Stepping Out Gala benefits St. Joseph's Hospitals Foundation; 7 p.m.; A La Carte Event Pavilion; headliners Midtown Men; $300; (813) 872-0979 or

Saturday: Fifth annual Wishmaker's Ball benefits Make-a-Wish Central and Northern Florida, Suncoast Region; 6:30 p.m.; Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay; $150; (813) 288-2600.

April 2: Lights, Fashion, Hope benefits LAMPLighters; 6-9 p.m.; Straz Center; fashions from Neiman Marcus; $100 and up;

April 4: Masquerade Ball benefits Kids Charity of Tampa Bay; 6 p.m. VIP reception; 7 p.m. cocktails and dinner; black-tie with mask; $250: the Vault, 611 N Franklin St.; (813) 843-1833.

Amy Scherzer's Diary: Gasparilla Film Fest wows 03/26/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 1:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Anthony Weiner sentenced to 21 months in sexting case


    NEW YORK — Former Rep. Anthony Weiner was sentenced Monday to 21 months in prison for sexting with a 15-year-old girl in a case that rocked Hillary Clinton's campaign for the White House in the closing days of the race and may have cost her the presidency.

    Former Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) arrives at federal court for his sentencing hearing in a sexting scandal, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in New York. [Associated Press]
  2. Kiran and Pallavi Patel commit $200 million for Clearwater medical school

    Real Estate

    CLEARWATER — Tampa Bay philanthropists Dr. Kiran Patel and his wife, Dr. Pallavi Patel are spending $200 million to create and promote a Tampa Bay regional campus for the private Nova Southeastern University.

    Drs. Kiran and Pallavi Patel, prolific Tampa Bay philanthropists, are putting up $200 million to create and run a new medical school under Nova Southeastern University. Here is a rendering of the proposed campus [Courtesy of Southestern Noval University}
  3. Lightning to retire Vinny Lecavalier's No. 4 in February


    When Marty St. Louis became the first Lightning player to have his jersey retired back in January, it was hard not to think that former captain Vinny Lecavalier would be the next one.

    Vinny Lecavalier takes the ice before a 2010 game against the Florida Panthers.
  4. 2018 Tampa Bay Blues Festival lineup: Buddy Guy, Robert Cray, Delbert McClinton, more


    Another Tampa Bay Blues Festival, another visit from the great Buddy Guy.

  5. Throwdown by the Bay: Jake Owen leads country festival lineup at Tampa's Amalie Arena


    After a couple of successful years where they brought headliners like Brantley Gilbert, Jake Owen