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Gasparilla Film Festival highlights

The 2008 Gasparilla Film Festival (Wednesday, February 27th- Sunday, March 2nd, 2008) will feature a film produced by Tampa native Jeff Balis and directed by Scott Prendergast on its Opening Night at Tampa Theatre, Wednesday, February 27th.

(The screening will be preceded by an Opening Night VIP party, which will begin at 6pm. The screening will start at 7:45pm)

The movie 'Kabluey' has been called a 'charming and pointed comedy- a genuine discovery' by the Hollywood Reporter. 'Kabluey' stars Lisa Kudrow, Chris Parnell, Christine Taylor and Teri Garr. Inept Salman, played by Prendergast, must take a humiliating job as a huge, blue corporate mascot in order to make ends meet and hold his brother's family together, who is off fighting in Iraq.

Balis, raised in the Temple Terrace area, graduated from Berkley Prep in 1993 and headed off to Harvard, where he majored in visual and environmental studies. He gained acclaim as a producer on HBO's "Project Greenlight" in 2002 and has also produced the independent hit "Waiting" in 2005.

Other highlights of the 2008 Gasparilla Film Festival include:

- A debut preview screening of the latest work from George Butler ('Pumping Iron') entitled 'The Good Fight'. Profiling historic winning coach Bobby Bowden, the documentary follows Bowden and the Florida State football team during their most recent seasons, containing never seen before footage.

- A North American exclusive screening of Richard Gere's latest, 'The Flock',
Also starring Claire Danes and Avril Lavigne.

- A Special Horror Screening: Legendary Horror Filmmakers Herschell Gordon Lewis and David Friedman will appear at the 45th anniversary of their horror cult classic, "Blood Feast"

- Films from the American Film Institute's (AFI) 20/20 Program "Big Rig" and "American Fork" as well as a film from the Global Film Initiative - Global Lens 2008, "El Custodio" (The Custodian)

- 'The Man of 2 Havanas', Vivien Lesnik Weisman's historical profile of her controversial father, Max Lesnik and the Cuban-American community of Miami during the 60s, 70s, and 80s.

The 2008 Gasparilla Film Festival is Tampa Bay's largest independent film festival. Over 81 films from 10 countries will be screened over 5 days. Venues include the Tampa Theatre (Opening Night), Channelside Cinemas, and the Florida Aquarium ('Requiem'). Dozens of filmmakers, industry professionals (from AFI, HBO, Netflix, Venemovies, and others) + many distributors will be in attendance during the 5 day Festival.

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