Best Of 2007

SADDEST FILM-RELATED R.I.P. OF THE YEAR: Tampa International Film Festival

It’s been a tough year in the world of cinema, both globally and locally. We lost way too many massive talents — directors Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo Antonioni were only the tip of an iceberg that included Taiwanese auteur Edward Yang, Senegal’s Ousmane Sembene and legendary cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs, just to name a few — trailblazers whose passing puts the drabness of today’s film scene in all-too-sharp relief. The state of film criticism sank to new lows as newspapers dropped local voices in favor of anonymous wire reviews; bloggers spewed an increasingly superficial mix of fanboy gossip and box-office boosterism; and independent theaters continued to shut their doors at ever-alarming rates. Yeah, things are tough all over. But probably the most significant loss on a local level was the demise of the Tampa International Film Festival, a hugely ambitious, award-winning event that for the past four years has energized the local film community, adding much-needed credibility to Tampa Bay’s art scene by screening scores of great films that might otherwise never have been seen here. R.I.P., TIFF, we hardly knew ye.

Tampa International Film Festival, 401 W. Kennedy Blvd. Tampa, 813-253-3333,