The eighth annual Gasparilla International Film Festival is movies and more, as these weekend highlights suggest:
Nearly 100 scheduled features, shorts and documentaries mean there's something for any taste at Gasparilla. Complete lineup information is available at gasparillafilmfestival.com.
Tonight's 8:05 screening of House of Last Things at Cinebistro Hyde Park is a chance to see the weekend's top celebrity, Breaking Bad co-star RJ Mitte, one of three Rising Star award recipients this year. Mitte will introduce the movie and answer questions afterward.
Entries in the narrative feature competition are slated today, all but one at Cinebistro: Winter in the Blood (2:10 p.m.), Teddy Bears "The Big Ask" (3:25), Copenhagen (6:10), In Lieu of Flowers (8:25) and The Red Robin starring visiting actor C.S. Lee of TV's Dexter (10:35). The lone exception is Odd Brodsky, showing at 7 p.m. at the Firehouse Cultural Center in Ruskin.
All narrative feature entries get an encore presentation later this weekend at Centro Ybor 20 in Ybor City.
Gasparilla also includes panel discussions of movie-related subjects, free to the public. Topics include directors and their craft (4 p.m. today at Cinebistro), talent management (5 p.m. today at Cinebistro), dealing with the media (5 p.m. Friday at Filmmaker Lounge at Centro Ybor), women in show business (12:45 p.m. Saturday at HCC-Ybor) and an acting panel with Mitte, Lee, Jason Ritter and others, moderated by yours truly (3:45 p.m. Saturday at HCC-Ybor).
As usual, each Gasparilla screening is expected to be accompanied by filmmakers or actors discussing the movie.
It's a city ordinance that any event named Gasparilla must include parties. Not really but the politician proposing it gets my vote.
Each night of this weekend's Gasparilla International Film Festival offers a flashy distraction from the screen. Tonight at 9 it's celebrity bartending at 717 South on Howard Avenue. Friday and Saturday at 9 it's drink-and-mingle sessions at Creative Loafing Space, 1911 N 13th St. in Ybor City. Each is free to the public.
The real throwdown happens Sunday at the Ritz Ybor, 1503 E Seventh Ave. in Ybor City, with doors opening at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $75 in advance and $90 at the door for an evening of live music, food and libations.
Steve Persall, Times movie critic