Best Of 2005

BEST REASONS TO BELIEVE THE LOCAL FILM SCENE IS ALIVE AND WELL: TIE: Coffeehouse Film Review/Education Channel’s Independents’ Film Festival

We don’t need to tell you that the Tampa film scene isn’t New York or L.A. or even Austin, but don’t give up hope. Even out here in the hinterlands, there are signs of intelligent life. A small but dedicated band of Bay area filmmakers continues to quietly plug away, making and promoting their own movies and, in some cases, actually creating opportunities to get those movies shown. Take the case of Coffeehouse Film Review, for instance, a free monthly showcase of local film and video work programmed by independent filmmaker Paul Guzzo. Coffehouse Film Review is presented on the second Thursday of every month at Studio 1515 in Ybor City, and the series’ programmers make the solemn promise that every single film that’s submitted will be shown (porn excluded, natch). For an even more comprehensive and high-profile sampling of the area’s loose-knit group of budding auteurs, check out the Education Channel’s long-running Independents’ Film Festival. This extensive and always intriguing program of films from the Bay area and beyond has become something of a local institution, airing every year on the Education Channel and followed by a live awards ceremony at Tampa Theatre, complete with a public screening of the festival’s very best selections. For many of the filmmakers, the occasion marks the first time their movie will have been shown before an audience of more than a few friends, and just being in the room with them when that happens is a very cool thing. Studio 1515, 1515 Seventh Ave., Ybor City, 813-307-6339, [email protected] or [email protected]; Education Channel, Time Warner Channels 18 and 21 in Hillsborough County, 813-254-2253, ext. 206, www.independentsfilmfest.com. - Lance Goldenberg