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Gasparilla Honors Tampa Natives and Horror History
(released 2/27/2008)
By Douglas Lorah

The 2nd Annual Gasparilla Film Festival starts tonight Wednesday, February 27th in Tampa. Screenings for this year's festival will be held at Channelside Cinemas, the historic Tampa Theatre, and The Florida Aquarium. The fest opens with a Tampa native, closes with a Tampa native, and includes a historic horror event in the middle.

The Opening Night Film is Kabluey which stars Lisa Kudrow, Chris Parnell, Christine Taylor and Teri Garr. The film was produced by Tampa native Jeff Balis. He will be in attendance after the screening for a short chat. There is a VIP party in conjunction with the film that is sold out. You can still get tickets to the screening, though, which starts at 7:45pm. The screening takes place at the Tampa Theatre located at 711 Franklin Street in Tampa.

There's something about the Tampa film scene that just says horror and this year's fest is honoring that. On Saturday, March 1st, the festival becomes GASParilla. This event includes the 45th Anniversary screening of Blood Feast, which was made in South Florida and is known for being the first splatter film. Blood Feast was produced by David F. Friedman and directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis. The evening begins with a reception for the filmmakers at 8pm, followed by the screening at 9pm, and a Q&A with Lewis and Friedman at 10:20pm hosted by St. Pete Times film critic Steve Parsell.

Blood Feast is followed at 10:55pm by a screening of locally produced 100 Tears directed by Marcus Koch and starring Joe Davison and Georgia Chris. You can get both movies at a discount if you buy both tickets at once. Both films will be at Channelside Cinemas located at 615 Channelside Drive in Tampa.

The Closing Night is being held at the Florida Aquarium at Channelside on Sunday, March 2nd. The closing night will include the awards ceremony hosted by ABC Action News Anchor Wendy Ryan. Tampa native Brittany Snow will be honored with the Rising Star Award. Brittany has worked on The Guiding Light, American Dreams, Nip/Tuck and most recently played lead character Amber von Tussle in the movie Hairspray.

There are many more movies and events ranging from Richard Gere's The Flock starring Claire Danes and Avril Lavigne to a showcase of films from Campus Movie Fest. A full festival schedule is available and tickets can be purchased in advance at www.gasparillafilmfestival.com.

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