UNAUTHORIZED REVIEW OF
THE TAMPA FILM REVIEW 2008
review of the Tampa Film Review monthly film festival By C. A. Passinault
PUBLISHED DECEMBER 15, 2008. REVISED OCTOBER 24, 2009
FILM FESTIVAL SCORES
About This Tampa Film Festival Review
my last review of The Tampa Film Review,
I have been very unpopular with the film festival organizers. I did not
attend The Tampa Film Review in 2008, although I tried to attend the December
Tampa Film Review to obtain a first-hand account on reported improvements.
I was denied entry to the Tampa Film Review.
This review is a result of many hours of conversation with attendees of
all of the 2008 Tampa Film Review film festivals and reports from people
who attended. I have done a lot of research on every Tampa Film Review
film festival event in 2008.
If you disagree with any part of this Tampa film festival review, or are
curious to see how accurate this review is, you can always attend a Tampa
Film Review event yourself. I am confident that, after you experience
it yourself, that you will agree with the points brought up in this film
festival review, and with the film festival scorecard.
This review will not have the background information which I included
in last years review of The Tampa Film Review. I don’t intend to
bog down this Tampa film festival review with all that background information,
as I don’t want to repeat myself.
I strongly recommend going back and reading the review for the Tampa
Film Review 2006-2007. You will understand more about some of the
points in this review if you take a moment to review the earlier review,
which was originally published on Tampa Bay Film in January 2008, and
was upgraded with more content added on October 24, 2009.
and another note for trivia fans. I didn’t use my professional camera
to obtain the pictures for this review and the earlier review of The Tampa
Film Review. I could not justify taking a large, expensive camera to Ybor,
at night, for something like The Tampa Film Review. So, I used a consumer-level
Nikon L10 to take these pictures. For what I used, it wasn’t bad,
and I pulled it off. Both title images for the TFR reviews were taken
with this camera, and those pictures turned out awesome.
The Tampa Film
Review entered its fourth year strong, but it began to experience
mixed attendance and film programming beginning in the
February 2008 Tampa Film Review. The Tampa Film Review
did, however, have a successful run of monthly film festival events despite
missing an October installment, and despite venue issues. The Tampa
Film Review encountered turbulent, and stressful, times, too as it
endured not one, but two, venue moves! During the moves, the organizers
also managed to fix some of the technical issues that have plagued The
Tampa Film Review since it began. I will say that 2008, in many aspects,
has proven to be the best year for The Tampa Film Review.
This said, 2009 is looking cloudy for the future of The Tampa Film
Review. There are new challenges ahead, and some sticking issues
that threaten to undermine this monthly Tampa film festival series. We
may be looking at the last days of this film festival series, and none
of us want to see it end, despite the issues that we have with it. The
Tampa Film Review, although still very rough around the edges after
all these years, does show potential, and this film festival series could
be awesome if the organizers work harder, pay attention to details, promote
it to the general public instead of people in the Tampa indie film scene,
and, well, actually organize it.
Oh, and film festival organizers, please note that there is nothing wrong
with making money producing this film festival. There have to be at least
99 ways of making money with a film festival series and still make it
free to the public, or, at the most, make it available at a small cover
charge. Making money would also give you the cash flow to keep the quality
of the event up and make attending fun, productive, and career-worthy
(although it could be argued that this is not what the TFR is all about,
and being free makes it more accessible; that's fine if all you want it
a monthly gathering where you watch films of varying quality instead of
a serious film festival).
That’s the problem with many Tampa film festivals. Everyone wants
to run a charity, and not a business (and, yes, charities ARE businesses,
if they want to be successful). In my opinion, the lack of a business-mindset
is the number one problem with The Tampa Film Review, and I am
simply amazed that they have been able to pull this off as long as they
have with so little to work with. That alone is worth a bit of respect.
Unfortunately, you can only wing it so long before the flawed organization
and other issues begin to catch up with you. I don’t see how The
Tampa Film Review can last much longer, and if 2008 has been any
indication, that end may be closer than most would think. Indications
are that the organizers seem to be losing interest in The Tampa Film
Review, and there are reports about general apathy. I can relate
to that, as we all face times in our careers where we stare burnout in
the face. You either deal with it, or you throw in the towel. There is
no middle ground. If you go through the motions and have a film festival
just to have it, then it’s not fair to you, and it’s not fair
to your audience. It’s also not fair to the filmmakers, who would
simply be wasting their time submitting films to a mediocre film festival,
which is the same film festival with the same issues, month after month.
There is a saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing
over and over again expecting a different result. May I present to the
jury The Tampa Film Review. There have been almost 60 TFR’s
since it began in 2004, and in that time there has not been so much as
a single innovation, or that much of a change (other than the venue merry-go-round).
Hell, this year they finally managed to deal with some of the issues that
they had with audio, and that’s a detail that should have been addressed
four years ago when the film festival was getting up to speed. Feature?
I think not. Audio is a basic part of the event which should be at least
acceptable by default (perhaps they though that the TFR was a
silent film festival with occasional audio highlights?). I couldn’t
begin to tell you how much it hurts the viewing experience when the audio
cuts out when you are trying to watch a film. Such was my experience many
times at The Tampa Film Review, as well as the experience of
those around me. There was one time, at its International Bazaar
venue, where I was talking to film festival organizer Paul Guzzo before
the film festival, as I arrived 30 minutes early and there was no one
there yet (this was before the film and actor networking started running
an hour before the TFR). Paul asked me if I could fix their sound system,
which was the one supplied by the venue. I told him that I would make
an attempt to do so. I took one look at it, and I couldn’t believe
the way that it was wired. I’ve rigged systems before, but I’ve
never seen a system so half-hacked in my life. I told him that I probably
could rig it if I had enough time to figure it out and do some wiring.
It would take me at least thirty minutes of tinkering with the mess to
sort out how it was wired, thirty minutes to wire and rig it, and another
thirty minutes to test it out and make sure it was working correctly.
I stood there imagining disconnected wires all over the Tampa Film
Review venue floor when the event was starting, and me sitting in
a suit and tie, on the floor, in the middle of the wires clenching plugs.
That would have sucked, especially since I would have been blamed by the
people for crippling their film festival, and the venue would probably
have not been too happy with me for tinkering with their equipment.
So, The Tampa Film Review forged on as-is. It managed, and the
sound was sketchy, but bad sound is better than no sound at all. The audience,
after all, was used to it. Once you’re acclimated to something,
it becomes more difficult to notice what’s wrong.
In retrospect, I should have got with the venue owner and the Guzzos and
took some time later to fix that sound system, or loan them that seven
channel dual-amp Peavy board that I don’t use anymore (it’s
a “Sherman Tank”, and a pain to move and set up, but it’s
awesome once it has been set up- it can power four large speakers, handle
up to seven microphones or inputs, and run enough sound for a venue of
1,200 people, or ten TFR’s at once). At least then The Tampa
Film Review would have had some good sound. One of the regrets that
I have, even after regretting helping with the production of The Quiet
Place, was that I didn’t do anything to help them with their
audio issues. For that, I am sorry, but then again, it really wasn’t
my responsibility. It wasn’t my event. It was theirs, and if it
had issues, it was their fault. It’s not like they didn’t
have time to fix it.
can hear the excuse of money coming up. I can imagine what they would
say. “Well, if we had the money, we could fix some of those issues”.
Let’s not talk about money. I I spent years pulling off the impossible
with little, to no, money. Only in the last few years have I really started
making it, and most of that has been working as a photographer. If you
don’t have the money, find a way to make it. If you don’t
have time to earn it and run something as time consuming as The Tampa
Film Review, at least find some investors to get what you need, run
it as a business, and respect your efforts enough to make money producing
your film festivals. The Guzzos always seemed to find money to do their
films. Why did the film festival become an afterthought? Well, maybe it
technically wasn’t, but this is what it looked like to all of us.
If you can’t do something right, or don’t have the resources
to do it properly, should you? One reason that I have not launched my
own monthly film festival, the Tampa Film Showcase, at the time of this
writing is that I need the resources in place to do it right. It needs
resources in place, and it needs to be consistent each and every month.
It also needs to do a lot more than just show indie films. It needs to
set, and maintain, standards.
I have a business rule. It goes like this. If it’s worth doing,
it’s worth doing well. If it’s worth doing well, you need
to get paid doing it. If you don’t do it well, you sell everyone
short, including yourself and your clients. If you do it well and you
don’t get paid for it, you sell yourself short, and the time that
you can keep up the effort of doing it well is limited. Eventually, you
won’t be able to do it anymore because you won’t be able to
justify the time and the energy expended into a project with so few returns.
In such a scenario, a film festival becoming routine and popular would
become a victim of its own success. It would quite literally implode with
few resources supporting it, and the high demands, upon it.
My photography company is a business. I treat it as such. I take care
of it, and it takes care of me. In any endeavor, you will only get out
of it what you put into it. Stop trying, and you stop benefitting. Think
that I go around undercutting my profits by selling cheap photography
services or doing charity work? No, I don’t. I researched the photography
market, and found out what was appropriate to charge for different services.
I set my base rates, and prepared to market my business. I collaborated
with professional models to invest in and to build a strong photography
portfolio, always putting my best into what I did regardless of the hardships,
and my portfolio shows the hard work, the love, the passion for photography,
and the effort that I put into building it. As a result, I book work without
having to pitch anyone any service. Once my clients look at my portfolio,
they pay what I ask for because they see how my work can benefit them.
My sell-through numbers astonish salespeople, and I really can’t
recall anyone who ever tried to talk my rates down. I get what I ask for,
and I probably would get more, although I wouldn’t know because
I don’t take advantage of my clients. I practice good, fair business.
I also have one of the highest client satisfaction rates out of most service
companies. My client satisfaction rate currently stands at more than 98%,
which is something that I am very proud of. I put my best into everything
that I do. It shows. I care about what I do. I care about what my clients
want. I care about what my clients need. I do photography work for them
like I would do it for myself. Every shoot that I do, I try to get results
which are worthy of being showcased in my photography portfolio, as well
as their portfolio. We mutually benefit, and it is balanced out quite
How many businesses do you know of where they simply don’t care?
They don’t care! They only want to get paid! How long do you suppose
that those businesses last? I’ve never seen any business run like
I spent some time in a large retail store a few months ago doing a project.
I talked to one of the salespeople. She was running around handing out
flyers, and pitching product to people. She later talked to me, and complained
about the lack of sales that she was getting. She blamed it on the bad
economy. Without taking down to her and while remaining positive (yes,
I can, and do, do this- I just choose not to when I don’t feel that
someone is worth it), I told her that the economy was a scapegoat. I told
her that retail businesses were panicking by marking down their inventory
too quickly and too soon (50% discounts on their most profitable products
two months before black Friday! Could it be that heavy discounting is
what is putting these businesses out of business and not a slow economy?).
The customer’s picked up on the panic, and it undermined their confidence
in what the store was selling, regardless of how good the product was.
As a result, most of the customers had the mindset of looking for discounted
items rather than quality items. This temporarily raised sales, but it
further cut into the profits because, while there were sales, there were
few profitable sales. This fed into the panic that the retail store management
were seized by, and became a vicious, downward spiral. One customer that
I saw walked around the store, and she was talking loudly on her cell
phone (I did not purposely eavesdrop, but her loud conversation made what
she said impossible to miss). “Wow” she said, looking at tags
as she wandered the floor, “There are some great deals here! You
really need to get down here, and take advantage of the misfortune of
others..... Wow, I really sound bad when I say it like that, don’t
I was amused. She summarized what was happening perfectly!
Customers won’t care about you if you don’t care about them.
Customers won’t respect you if you don’t respect yourself
and what you claim to be doing. In this economy, and with retail in particular,
the things that are happening are a self-fulfilling prophesy. It’s
a bad economy if you believe that it is, and you allow your fear to dictate
how you act. In the case of retail, the customers became discount-driven
and it seemed as if their higher brain functions shut down. They were
not rational, and like the retailers, simply did not care. They became
more animalistic, like sharks in a feeding frenzy.
Of course, there is always a way to turn it around. It doesn’t take
much get a customer to stop, think, rationalize, and think about how buying
something can benefit them. At that point, they care more about how the
product benefits them rather than the discount.
Going back to the salesperson, she kept lamenting about the bad economy
and how people were not buying anything regardless of how hard that she
tried to sell to them. She asked what I did. I told her that I made most
of my money as a professional photographer, and I also make money as an
event planner. She asked how much I made. Her jaw dropped when I told
her. She asked how I could make so much in this bad economy without offering
discounts. She asked my advice.
I was more than happy to help out.
First, take care of the customer. Genuinely care about them and what they
are looking for- none of this fake B.S., either, because even actors fail
to pull that off. Most people can pick up on things such as false modesty
(and if they don’t, are they worth dealing with?), the fact that
you don’t really care about them as a customer, and other B.S. Also,
don’t pitch them. Pitch most people, and you make them more resistant
to what you are selling. Instead, talk to them. Just talk to them, and
be genuine about it. Listen to what they say, too. The customer will often
tell you what they want. While conversing with the customer, demonstrate
how the products or services that you are selling will benefit them, and
fit those benefits into what they are looking for. You’ll sell,
and you will never have to pitch.
The salesperson listened. She returned to the floor.
“One more thing” I said.
“Look at the people walking around. Those are opportunities. Every
single one of them. Also, with all that foot traffic, it’s a great
sales day! It will only be a bad one if you allow it to be.”
Well, I must say, she did quite well that day. She had some of the highest
sales numbers in the store.
She came up to me smiling at the end of the day. “You, my friend,
are a very unique person. You are very smart. Thank you for your help!”
I smiled, knowing that the customers won that day, too, and that they
what does all of this sales and business mumo-jumbo have to do with The
Tampa Film Review? A lot, actually. There are a lot of analogies that
fit, if you look for them, and I won’t insult your intelligence
by trying to explain it more than it needs to be. Just think about it
as you read over this review of The Tampa Film Review.
Simply put, The Tampa Film Review never had a business mindset, and although
the organizers pitched the benefits, they never seemed to care about those
who they pitched to (even if this was not the case, although the point
is that no one could tell from what they observed). Worse still, they
consistently failed to deliver the benefits which were promised, and this
undermined the confidence of their audience. Many of the people who checked
out The Tampa Film Review went once, usually to show their film or to
support a filmmaker, and never bothered to return. Why should they return?
How did The Tampa Film Review benefit them?
Hell, it was worse than that. I remember, more than once, where a group
of people got up and left right after their film or the film of their
friend played, right in the middle of the program!
The Tampa Film Review is not run like a business. It should be, but it
never has. There is no way that it can keep going like it has been the
way that it is being run. Something will have to give.
I would be shocked if The Tampa Film Review is around long enough for
a 2009 review, and I really don’t want to see it fail. It still
has potential, and it can be fixed!
Pretty much, the only way that The Tampa Film Review can fail as an event
is if the organizers give up. As for its effectiveness as a marketing
tool, however, that’s another story altogether. The Tampa Film Review
can go on, month after month, technically a successful event, but also
a failure. The whole point of a film festival is to EFFECTIVELY promote
indie film. Effectiveness? How do you weigh that out? Well, who is your
target audience? Professionals who can get distribution for your film?
Investors who can see promise in your short film and can help fund a feature
film? Is anyone who can benefit you present in the audience? No? Then
how does showing your film at The Tampa Film Review benefit you? How is
that effective marketing when you don’t reach your target audience
and the effort does not support your professional business goals in any
I told the organizers with my last review that I hope that they would
utilize it as a wake up call and make the changes that are needed. That
review was never meant to disparage them or to slam them in any way. That
review was born of frustration, of hearing too many complaints from people
attending, and enduring many Tampa Film Review events myself. Something
had to give. Someone had to do something, someone had to say something.
I finally did.
I couldn’t begin to tell you how many people contacted me after
reading the last TFR review and thanked me. “At last”, they
would say, “Finally, someone said it. Someone finally said what
we’ve all been thinking. Now, maybe things will get better”.
Oh, and most of those people were hopeful that the issues with The Tampa
Film Review would be addressed. They didn’t want to see the Tampa
film festival series end and fail, and frankly, neither do I. I do this
review for the good of The Tampa Film Review organizers, their audience,
the filmmakers trying to promote their films, and for my readers.
If nothing does improve, at least others can learn from the mistakes of
The Tampa Film Review.
The concept of The Tampa Film Review is remarkably simple. It is a monthly,
bare-bones Tampa film festival with seats, a portable screen, a video
projector, and a sound system. It was initially a good concept, albeit
with flaws, because there is at least one other monthly film festival
in the Tampa Bay area, and this one features professional networking.
The Tampa Film Review gained networking in 2007, with the Tampa Bay Film
Industry and Actors Network holding meetings at the same venue as The
Tampa Film Review right before the film festival. Although the networking
meeting is conducted by a different group than the organizers who managed
The Tampa Film Review, it is a symbiotic relationship. The networking
meetings were scheduled and timed to lead into The Tampa Film Review event.
As someone who has actually endured this process, I can say that it doesn’t
work well. The professional networking is not directly integrated into
The Tampa Film Review, as the networking event is technically a separate
event teaming up with the film festival, and it is not nearly as effective
as it could be, or rather, should be. This is why the other monthly Tampa
film festival has superior networking. The professional networking is
a direct part of the monthly film festival, and it benefits from stronger
organization because it is integrated into the film festival event and
is managed by the same people (In my opinion, the TFR would be better,
and run much better, if the people running the networking ran the TFR,
although the improvement wouldn’t be much).
In 2006 and 2007, I know of many actors, talent, and filmmakers who had
complaints about The Tampa Film Review. I heard many of the same complaints
As a monthly Tampa film festival, The Tampa Film Review is a decent concept,
but what undermines any potential of maximizing that concept are sloppy
organization, an event which is marketed only to a niche group, and spotty
execution of the film festival.
The Tampa Film Review still fails in one big area. It’s not a good
platform for promoting serious indie films. How many distribution deals
have been made through exposure at The Tampa Film Review? How many filmmakers
have actually benefitted from submitting their films and getting involved?
The organizers see The Tampa Film Review formatted like a group of friends
getting together to watch movies. While that is cozy and inviting in theory,
it has proven to be useless for professional filmmakers.
Ok, I can deal with the “friends getting together to watch movies”
theme. That’s cool if you’re not serious about filmmaking
or are not into watching good, creative films. Anyway, let’s go
with that. At least make it fun! How to you make that concept fun? How
about a group of friends getting together to laugh at and mock bad films?
Oh, that’s right. The filmmakers are in the audience, too. That
might not go over too well.
Ah, I am happy to see this change for The Tampa Film Review. Although
the new venue is actually the original venue in Ybor City, inside a small
storefront, this is a good thing. The venue is much better suited to be
used for a film festival, as you do not have any drunks vomiting or obnoxious
shoppers interrupting films with noise. The Tampa Film Review venue is
smaller that the International Bazaar was, but it gets major points for
being much more comfortable, and appropriate, for a film festival. It
also has good air conditioning, which is very important in Florida, as
none of us want the stench of sweating fanboys with our films.
From what I could see from the glance that I had of it, the organizers
have learned to put the screen at the back of the store, with a good amount
of seating arrayed simply in front of the screen. The screen can be seen
from the storefront, so pedestrians can see movies playing as they stroll
by, and I can see them becoming curious and going inside (I know of a
certain Ybor photography studio which was set up the same way a few years
back, but the photographers shot a lot of nude and questionable work,
and I’m not sure how well that went over with the people walking
by). This is a good thing, although I certainly hope that cars going by
on busy 7th avenue can’t see the screen. If they are distracted
by a large movie screen, I could see potential liability if it is blamed
for an automobile accident. This is speculation on my part, however, as
I don’t think that it is easy to see from a car.
Ahem. On to the venue location. Ybor City is a seedy place, and it has
never had a great reputation. It has one of the highest crime rates in
the Tampa Bay area, and its night clubbing party atmosphere is fake and
trashy. This said, I talked to many people who work in Ybor City, specifically
ones who work in Centro Ybor around the Tampa Film Review venue. I found
out that crime had gone down. Walking around, it did seem a bit calmer
than before, but I still came across some sketchy people. I even talked
to a criminal lurking over at Subway, and avoided becoming a crime statistic!
I also witnessed two drunk bums fighting on 7th avenue, but it was easy
to avoid them by walking around them and continuing on my way with my
Anyway, speaking of walking, what I like about the new (old) Tampa Film
Review venue is that it is twice as close to the main parking garage,
and you no longer have to cross 7th and 8th avenues to get to the film
festival. This, in my opinion, make it much safer.
Once again, there are no vendors. Would it be cool if there were? I suppose
that it is too much to expect vendors at a monthly film festival. Well,
at least for now.
The Tampa Film Review doesn’t seem to factor in vendors, so I don’t
see this changing. In all fairness, however, the other monthly Tampa film
festival in Saint Pete doesn’t have vendors, either.
I keep hearing the same old story. The Tampa Film Review has not improved
much with organization, and the organizers still do not screen the films
properly. The Tampa Film Review is still loosely organized, and it’s
not seen as being very professional. The organizers, to their credit,
have been trying to improve the organization, and it has improved a bit,
but they still need work.
Perhaps they could partner with a professional event planner? I’m
all for that, as long as it is not me. The Tampa Film Review is not the
type of film festival that I would be interested in running. My idea of
a film festival would be an effective one with no technical issues and
an extensive program of benefits. That’s not The Tampa Film Review,
and frankly, I don’t think that The Tampa Film Review could be brought
up to my standards even if its issues were fixed. The problem? The core
audience, which is the Tampa indie film clique. They need to be banned,
and since there are not that many of them, it wouldn’t hurt the
film festival at all. You know the saying about how a few bad apples spoil
the bushel. Well, these people would surely do their best to sabotage
and improvements, much like the bitter, disgruntled employees of a company
undermine change after a merger or a takeover. Fire them, and bring in
fresh people with good attitudes, I say.
Sometimes, it is best to start over fresh, and discourage the participation
of anyone who would work against the goals of the film festival. I certainly
don’t mean profiling people or discriminating against them, but
those who aren’t with the program need to be shown the door. Check
your egos and your fake politics at the door, or leave with them.
99% of most attendees, however, won’t be a problem.
Well, things haven’t improved much here. The Tampa Film Review simply
isn’t much fun, and a lot of people don’t bother coming back
sit through one (that is, if they last that long). This has led to weaker
attendance in 2008.
Sitting though bad, poorly made films is still a big issue. This is largely
due to the lack of screening of the films by the organizers, but I understand
from conversations, with those-in-the-know, who have indicated that this
could be because of a time crunch. The organizers may not have much time
to screen films and to program a two hour film festival. Might I suggest
that they get the help of some volunteer screeners who can watch the movies,
rate them, and then give them synopses of what the films are about, and
how good they are?
It really wouldn’t make a difference, though, because the organizers
have made it clear that the main idea of The Tampa Film Review is to be
a place for all indie filmmakers to show their films, regardless of their
quality. While I like this idea, and I applaud them for their professed
principles, this does not necessarily work as a film festival. You have
an audience who has to sit through all those films! Don’t bore them.
At the very least, entertain them!!!!!!!
Fortunately, The Tampa Film Review plays short films. Unfortunately, most
of those films suck, and you have to endure the bad ones to find the occasional
The experience of The Tampa Film Review has improved, from what I gather.
While the video projector remains mediocre, there was at least one Tampa
Film Review event where they used a stunning high definition projector.
They have mostly fixed their audio issues, too, and this is a great thing
(could it be that they did so in response to my last review?). Ok, guys,
you’re making progress. You gain points.
Attendance for The Tampa Film Review in 2008 is reported to be slacking,
and a big issue with that was the changing venues. After the International
Bazaar, The Tampa Film Review briefly moved into a studio before they
were forced to move again, finding their way back to the original venue.
A lot of people had trouble finding the venue/s, and the organizers didn’t
communicate what was going on very well. The Tampa Film Review lost some
of its audience through the move, and the present venue cannot handle
nearly as many people as the International Bazaar. This said, they are
not nearly at capacity at their existing venue, so this is not significant.
You have to have a full house before venue capacity becomes an issue.
Ah, and the main issue with attendance remains. The Tampa Film Review
serves primarily as a club for a small clique of indie filmmakers and
film fans. The Tampa Indie Film Clique is still the resident group, and
they make it hard for any professionals to network and to get involved
with Tampa indie film. This is a big reason why there really isn’t
a Tampa indie film community. There is only a Tampa indie film scene,
with a Tampa indie film clique masquerading as a Tampa indie film community
and using these film festivals as a way to satisfy their feelings of self-importance.
Many times, professionals do stumble in and try to get involved, but they
are quickly discouraged. The Tampa indie film clique is generally nice
to those who they do not perceive to be a threat to their careers, but
if they feel that you are competition, insecurities flare and things get
nasty. They will size you up, set you up to fail, slander you, try to
undermine your credibility, and gang up on you. You get treated like this
from people who have little to offer you to begin with, too, which is
Is it really worth attending if the core group is a small clique who really
don’t have much to offer?
With all of the time that I spent attending The Tampa Film Review, I made
three professional contacts and people who I consider to be friends. I
keep in touch with them outside of The Tampa Film Review, and I will add
that out of all of my hundreds of professional indie film and talent contacts
who I have, not a single one of them came from The Tampa Film Review or
would ever want to become involved with The Tampa Film Review. I tried
bringing actors and talent to The Tampa Film Review in the past, and they
all were not impressed. None of them wanted to come back, and they tried
to discourage me from attending, too. With that many people walking away,
could it have been a sign that there was a lot wrong with The Tampa Film
Maybe not wrong, but the feeling of many professionals is that it is really
a poor investment of time to attend and to get involved, and that in itself
is a symptom of many issues.
Well, The Tampa Film Review is free. That’s good, I suppose, but
the realty is that you get what you pay for. As you have to watch a lot
of crappy films, and the networking prospects are limited, you expend
a lot of time at each Tampa Film Review with very little to show for your
attendance. Most of the films are poor quality, the main people are boring,
and the organization is sloppy. There are the good people and the good
films that appear from time to time, but they don’t last. They are
often lost in a sea of mediocrity.
With gas prices, and parking which is not free, there is a cost to attending
the Tampa Film Review, even if it isn’t directly. Since most of
the good films which have been shown at The Tampa Film Review, or will
eventually show at The Tampa Film Review, are also available online or
on the Tampa Bay Film Online Film Festival, is there a point to attend
The Tampa Film Review in order to watch indie films? Sure, you might bring
up professional networking, but trust me when I say that The Tampa Film
Review is a poor professional networking opportunity, even if you attend
the Tampa Bay Film Industry and Actors Network meeting held before The
Tampa Film Review. I attended three of them, only had time to talk to
four people and hand out cards before The Tampa Film Review started, and
was not too impressed with the people who I did meet.
The Tampa Film Review
is something to do if you don’t have anything else going on. If
you want to discover what the current Tampa indie film scene has to offer,
it’s a good way to do that, but if you are looking for more, forget
If you are a professional filmmaker, professional talent, a production
professional, or an entertainment professional, your time is better spent
elsewhere. Do you really want to hang out with amateurs and watch films
that, mostly, are not worth the time spent watching them? Most of my experience
at The Tampa Film Review was watching films worse than the ones that we
made in school in the early 90's, or meeting people who really have no
clue what they are doing; people who did not have much potential to make
it in indie film.
Time is valuable, people. Watch how you invest it. If you don’t
have much going on, and have some free time, checking out The Tampa Film
Review might be something that you could consider. If you have something
better to do, however, then it is hard to justify attending The Tampa
Film Review Film Festival Event Scorecard
note that a score of 5 is average.
-1 deduction from previous score.
Tired concept of people getting together to watch indie films of mixed
quality. It’s simple, but extremely limited. The professional networking
is not effective, either, as there is little time to meet others and to
network after the networking meeting ends and the film festival begins.
+2 improvement from previous score!
Much better than the venue last year. The current venue is the first venue
from 2004-2005, and this full circle is a good one. Close to the parking
garage and you don’t have to cross two streets to get there. Additionally,
no obnoxious shoppers to distract you from your indie film goodness!
Same as previous score.
Hello? Vendors? Maybe the TFR is too small and too short for vendors.
There are none.
+2 improvement from previous score!
Much improved, although the organizers seems to be more apathetic about
things. The improvement seems to be more about getting into a routine
than actually planning and executing a film festival.
+1 improvement from previous score!
It’s more fun that it was. A few better films and some unintended
comedy. It’s more fun if you go and quietly make fun of the films
to your friend sleeping beside you. Better yet, try bad film transference,
where you pretend that characters in the film are people that you know.
This was great fun for me and friends when we watched bad films such as
the late 80's remake of “The Blob”, and the recent horror
film “Devil’s Den”! Since the TFR shows shorts, however,
this may not be easy to do, since most films are short and have few characters
-2 deduction from previous score.
Lost in Ybor........ How many muggings happened as a result of the wandering
flocks of film fans searching for the secret venues of The Tampa Film
Review? This, and questionable programming and the trademark TFR organization,
led to lower than average attendance for most of 2008. Oh, and skipping
the October TFR was a bad move. Were the organizers afraid of the large
horror film festivals in October, and they gave up and rolled over without
a fight? It would have been interesting to see what attendance would have
been if there was an October TFR, although at least they would have tried.
Same as previous score.
Well, there are films. And announcements that were probably easier to
listen to. Oh, and there was networking, but that didn’t work well,
either. That’s about it, again.
+1 improvement from previous score!
It’s still free, and still what some may refer to as a guilty pleasure.
Watch bad films, and like the proverbial box of mystery chocolates, you
may luck out with an occasional good film, but usually not before choking
on some bad ones. The venue is closer to the parking garage, which limits
the danger of the walk in many ways. Did I mention that it was free? May
I add that you still get what you pay for?
Overall Event Score
+1 improvement from previous score!
A little better, but still a flawed Tampa film festival. With a year to
make improvements and to fix what was wrong, this is a case of too little,
too late. If you are interested in checking out The Tampa Film Review,
if only to see if this review was right, do it while you can, because
we expect this rickety train ride to derail in 2009 and crash into a ditch.
If you do it, do it just to say that you were there once!
END OF REVIEW
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