The Gasparilla Film Festival, which takes place February 28 - March 4, 2007, has secured its first two feature films, Motherland Afghanistan and Say I Do. Filmmakers Sedika Mojadidi and Ron Vignone, respectively, will attend the screenings of their films. Popular Latin star, Cristian De La Fuente will also appear at the film festival.
In Motherland Afganistan, Florida filmmaker Sedika Mojadidi follows her physicain father to the Laura Bush Maternity Ward in Kabul, Afghanistan - a country where one in seven women dies during childbirth. This inspirational film looks at the doctor's struggle against deplorable conditions to provide basic medical care to the Afghan women.
A producer of two experimental documentaries on Afghanistan, Mojaddi narrowed her film's focus to concentrate on her father after the U. S. Health and Human Services Department barred her from interviewing American hospital staff or filming certain areas of the hospital. The film is in Afghan Persian and English with English subtitles.
Say I Do is L. A. filmmaker Ron Vignone's answer to the question of what would happen to a bride and groom if the plans for their wedding day went so hideously awry that their relationship unraveled by the end of the day. This indie comedy has won several national film festival awards, including Best Screenplay and Best Ensemble Acting at the Breckenridge Film Festival.
Star of the Univision Network's hit TV series Sonar no Cuesta Nada, Cristian De La Fuente will appear - work schedule permitting - as a special guest of honor at the festival's Havana Nights Closing Awards dinner on March 4 at the Cuban Club.
De la Fuente executive-produced and starred in the film El Nominado, which was showcased at various national film festivals, including the New York Latin Film Festival. He is the first male to ever grace the cover of Cosmopolitan En Espanol and has been named one of the 50 Most Beautiful People by both People Magazine and People Magazine En Espanol.
De La Fuente's appearance at the Gasparilla Film Festival is part of the festival's tribute to Tampa's rich Hispanic heritage. With the theme "Havana Nights," the Closing Awards dinner will be a black-tie optional dinner at the original Cuban Club in Ybor City where festival winners will be announced. The night - and the festival - will end with a celebration of live Latin music and dancing in the Cantina at the Cuban Club.
The screening schedule will be posted on the festival website www.gasparillafilmfestival.com in early February. Festival memberships are currently available online, with individual tickets and passes going on sale approximately 3 weeks prior to the festival. Please visit the website for regular updates.