Interview: Filmmaker Talal Jabari explores his concerns about cell towers in Full Signal documentary at Gasparilla filmfest

[Editor's Note: For much more on the Gasparilla International Film Festival, check out Joe Bardi's cover story from this week's issue of Creative Loafing.]

Despite strong opposition from community members, a Hillsborough County land use hearing officer last week approved a cell phone tower at Cannella Elementary School in Carrollwood. The tower will be installed by Collier Enterprises II, the firm run by Stacy Frank, a Hillsborough Democrat running for office in State House District 47 this year.

As we reported back in November, and evidenced as recently as Monday afternoon during a South Tampa protest, Frank has alienated some members of the community over the past year who have contested the installation of such towers. Critics have also questioned statements that she has made about the potential ill effects from said towers, such as “You get more exposure from using your cell phone or lap top than from a tower.”

Although the safety issue from cell phone towers has been disputed over the years, more and more people in the Bay area and the country think there is potential for harm from wireless technologies, such as cell phones, laptops, and yes, cell phone towers.

Mainstream media is beginning to follow suit. In February, GQ published an article by journalist Christopher Ketcham called “Warning: Your Cell Phone May be Hazardous To Your Health.” Now there is a documentary called Full Signal that will be screened this weekend at the Gasparilla International Film Festival in Tampa.

Full Signal marks the directorial debut of Talal Jabari, a Palestinian/American journalist who has worked with CBS News and 60 Minutes.

We spoke to him last week from upstate New York, part of what he joked was his “worldwide tour” behind the film. We began our interview by asking him what inspired him to make it?