Visitors to the Gasparilla International Film Festival were surprised Thursday night when actor Colin Farrell dropped by unannounced to Cinebistro at Hyde Park. And he wasn't plugging his latest movie showing at the multiplex, Dead Man Down, that could use the help.
Farrell arrived in Tampa to support his friend Ante Novakovic, whose short film The Fix made what was billed as its Florida premiere at the festival later Thursday. Farrell's Irish wit made it sound more like a world premiere, during a brief chat with the Times:
"It's the first time this film has been screened in front of a live audience, as opposed to a dead audience," he said.
Farrell joked about his relationship with Novakovic: "We've worked on a lot of projects the last seven years or so.... We should start seeing other people."
The 36-year-old star of Total Recall, In Bruges and Horrible Bosses did the red carpet routine a couple hours earlier, before departing with Novakovic and friends for dinner at 717 South on Howard Ave. The group returned to Cinebistro in time for the shorts program, stayed for the post-show Q&A session then returned to 717 South.
Farrell didn't join in the festival's celebrity bartending fundraiser there, choosing to remain on the pleasure side of the bar until after midnight.
Blended with independently produced features, documentaries and shorts that are a hallmark of any festival, Gasparilla is presenting movies like Olympus Has Fallen, Disconnect and Empire State that are coming soon to theaters near you.
This year's career achievement award will be presented Saturday at 5:30 p.m. to Thomas Jane, a three-time Golden Globe nominee in HBO's sexy series Hung, in addition to playing Mickey Mantle in the tele-movie *61, and roles in Boogie Nights, Magnolia and The Thin Red Line. The award presentation by Punisher co-screenwriter Michael France of St. Pete Beach is exclusively for premiere festival pass holders and sponsors.
Jane also starred in The Punisher, based on a Marvel Comics character and filmed in Tampa in 2003. The Gasparilla festival celebrates that 10th anniversary with a special screening of The Punisher (Sat., 6:30 p.m.) at Centro Ybor 20. Tickets are $15, if available.
Other celebrities expected to attend this weekend include actors Armand Assante (The Mambo Kings, American Gangster), rising star award recipient Blake Berris (Meth Head), producer Randall Emmett (End of Watch, Alex Cross) and director Dito Montiel (Empire State, The Son of No One). At least two dozen feature films at the festival are expected to be represented by their artists.