Best Of 2008

BEST FILM SERIES: Gasparilla International Film Festival's Global Lens 2008

This one’s a close call, since Eckerd College’s International Cinema Series continues to amaze us with some of the best films the Bay area gets to see all year. But the Gasparilla Film Festival really pulled a rabbit out of its hat this year, and came up with one of the most consistently high-quality film series we’ve ever seen around these parts. Teaming up with the Global Film Initiative, a San Francisco-based outfit that includes board members like Pedro Almodovar and Lars Von Trier, GFF has become the local host and facilitator for Global Lens 2008, an acclaimed series of international films currently making the rounds in some 40 cities in the United States. Wonderful productions from the Philippines (The Bet Collector), Iran (The Fish Fall in Love) and Croatia (All for Free) have already brightened up a dull year at the movies, and there’s still more to come, with some films from Argentina, India and Indonesia on tap that may well prove to be the best of the entire batch. The movies screen on Friday evenings at the University of Tampa or St Pete’s [email protected] and Sarasota’s Burns Court, and are usually followed by a lively discussion led by a local teacher, historian, critic or somebody with a particular passion for the film. The next Gasparilla Film Festival doesn’t take place until Feb. 26 (running a full 10 days this year!), but Global Lens will tide us over just fine in the meantime. Gasparilla Film Festival, 813-514-9962, gasparillafilmfestival.com