Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival

With the possible exception of the reliably unpredictable Ybor Festival of the Moving Image (an annual event that very nearly won this category), nobody does film programming as creatively as The Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. For years, this spirited and sprawling event has concocted an intriguing and largely satisfying cinematic stew, balancing mainstream entertainment with the edgiest of art and mixing films geared primarily toward the gay and lesbian communities with movies that anybody, straight or gay, can relate to. What this year’s festival will wind up looking like is anyone’s guess — programming director Joseph Cook has moved on, and there are disturbing rumors swirling about that some of the movers and shakers behind TGLFF have become increasingly interested in the possibility of pumping up ticket sales by exploring less, uh, challenging filmic fare — but so far these are only rumors. This is a festival with a proven track record and considerable credibility, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed.

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