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Et Cultura hopes to bring South By Southwest flavor to St. Petersburg

It's no accident that one of the keynote speakers at St. Petersburg's inaugural Et Cultura festival is a planning manager at South By Southwest in Austin, Texas.

Every hip city wants a South By Southwest of its own. Et Cultura, organizers believe, could one day fill that role for St. Pete.

"There was an existing vacuum for something like this to happen," said co-founder Colin Lyman, general manager of Green Bench Brewing. "People had been talking about doing it for a while, and we finally found ourselves with the right group of people with the right skill sets who were able to come together and make it happen."

Et Cultura runs Wednesday through Friday in venues around downtown, with Green Bench serving as a hub. It'll include a music festival, film festival, interactive events and more, all geared toward the sort of young creatives who typically frequent the city's Edge District on weekends. Several of them — filmmakers, artists, designers — are the ones bringing it to fruition.

Organizers have been conceptualizing Et Cultura — pronounced cul-TOOR-ah — for a year and a half, picking up steam following a small film festival at Green Bench last November. They got the ball rolling with an IndieGoGo campaign, but have since relied on sponsorships, donations, grants and in-kind assistance.

To pump up its first-year offerings, Et Cultura will team with existing events like yoga gatherings, movie screenings and the St. Pete Indie Market. That's not an accident. Back to South By Southwest: That festival grew because it adapted to the city around it, Lyman said, not the other way around.

"Every component of Et Cultura already exists in St. Pete," Lyman said. "I think it's going unnoticed because it's all happening independently, and you have to go to each one of those little events and spend a little money and time taking it in. Putting it under one small footprint, like, 'Hey everybody, this is all the cool things we have going on in this city; you can see it all in one afternoon,' lends it more legitimacy and recognition."

Organizers are hoping the event's one-size-fits-all $25 price tag will be enough to convince people to come out. If so, it'll only get bigger in Year 2.

"I thought we were just building a festival when we started this, but after hundreds of meetings with everybody in the city, we're creating a community," said co-founder and filmmaker Joel Mazilia. "It's just a really interesting thing that's happened, and we're calling it a festival."

Contact Jay Cridlin at cridlin@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8336. Follow @JayCridlin.

Et Cultura

St. Petersburg's new creative fest encompasses music, films, technology, art, yoga and more. It runs Wednesday through Sunday, in and around two venues, Station House (260 First Ave. S) and Green Bench Brewing (1133 Baum Ave.). Some events are ticketed (access to everything is $25 for the week), others are free. Head to etcultura.com for complete details. Here's an overview:

Music

All weekend, there's a music festival on Baum Avenue, near Green Bench. Friday at 7 p.m., it's St. Pete fusionists the Hip Abduction and pop-rock singers Kendra Morris and Dan Orlando. Saturday's lineup starts at 1:30 and includes Must Be the Holy Ghost, Walker Lukens, Loose Talk and more. On Sunday starting at 1:15 it's Future Thieves, Tides of Man, the Jackettes and more. Tickets are required.

Film

Friday through Sunday, there will be will be two dozen films, shorts, previews and more screened inside Green Bench. Among them: The podcast doc Ear Buds: The Podcasting Documentary; Nerdland, an animated film starring Patton Oswalt and Paul Rudd; and a sneak peek at The Bowden Dynasty, about former Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden. Also, at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Green Bench will host a free screening of the agricultural documentary Seed: The Untold Story, followed by a talkback with director Jon Betz.

Interactive

Station House will host a handful of lectures and discussions on art, technology, entrepreneurship and networking on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Highlights include "Tech and the Music Business" (7 p.m. Thursday), "The Entrepreneurial Landscape (10 a.m. Thursday) and a keynote address from Catlin Whitington, a planning manager for South By Southwest. All are ticketed.

Art

Green Bench will host three visual exhibits: A graphic design exhibition from 8 to 11 p.m. Friday; a "Heroes vs. Villains"-themed exhibit from 7 to 11 a.m. Saturday; and a recurring photography event known as the Carousel from 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday. All are free.

More

Green Bench will host a Maker's Market organized by the St. Pete Indie Market, with some 150 vendors plus live music from 2 to 10 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday. At 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, look for yoga workshops from the Body Electric Yoga Company. There will also a kids' station with yoga, storytime, a puppet show and karaoke, all starting at noon Saturday; and cardboard-castle creation all day Sunday.

Et Cultura hopes to bring South By Southwest flavor to St. Petersburg 11/11/16 [Last modified: Friday, November 11, 2016 10:47am]
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