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Halloween Horror Picture Show 2014 horror film festival

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Halloween Horror Picture Show 2013 Review Sections
Forward recap: The demise and the rise of the support of independent film in Tampa Bay. 01. Forward recap: The demise and the rise of the support of independent film in Tampa Bay.
The Gay and Lesbian Film Festival and Shelby McIntyre’s UnBanned. Propaganda? 02. The Gay and Lesbian Film Festival and Shelby McIntyre’s UnBanned. Propaganda?
Supporting independent film in Tampa Bay. 03. Supporting independent film in Tampa Bay.
Halloween Horror Picture Show 2013 Review. 04. Halloween Horror Picture Show 2013 Review.
Meet and greet at the film festival Lobby for the Halloween Horror Picture Show 2013. 05. Meet and greet at the film festival Lobby for the Halloween Horror Picture Show 2013.
The Halloween Horror Picture Show 2013 Film Festival Event Scorecard. 06. The Halloween Horror Picture Show 2013 Film Festival Event Scorecard.

Halloween Horror Picture Show 2013

Forward recap: The demise and the rise of the support of independent film in Tampa Bay.

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Words and pictures by C. A. Passinault
Additional content credited to supporting contributors with permission and full promotion.

The opinions expressed in this film festival review are those of C. A. Passinault and may not necessarily be those of Tampa Bay Film, the organizers of the film festival event, the venue of the film festival, or anyone named or photographed therein.

Forward recap: The demise and the rise of the support of independent film in Tampa Bay and the Halloween Horror Picture Show.

Rick Danford’s flagship film festival, created in the midst of the four successful (and legendary, I may add) Saints andHalloween Horror Picture Shows 2013 founder and independent filmmaker Rick Danford. Sinners Film Festivals in 2003, the Halloween Horror Picture Show had a great run, lasting several years and many events, until 2008. After that, everything went dark.
The Halloween Horror Picture Show film festivals were film festivals for the independent horror film fan, and one of the last of a dying breed of film festivals catering to, and supporting, independent film. Did I say dying? It was not quite that bad, but these types of independent film festivals seemed to be in decline, and when the economy crashed in 2008, they became very, very rare.
Around 2006, opportunists in the Tampa Bay area saw what the independent film festivals were doing and decided that there was gold in movies and film festivals. They, in my opinion, wanted to cash-in, and it is also my opinion that it was at the expense of independent filmmakers. So, large, well-organized film festivals such as the Gasparilla International Film Festival (GIFF), the Sunscreen Film Festival, and others started up and began to flood the Tampa Bay market. The original independent film festival inspiration could not compete, mainly because they were labors of love by the fans of independent film and were not designed to be commercially marketable, and some of them were even swallowed up by the large film festivals. Indeed, I even pointed out in the review for HHPS 2008 that, while it was not absorbed into the Gasparilla Film Festival, that branding for the Gasparilla Film Festival was dominant, and that the average patron would not have known that it was the Halloween Horror Picture Show, and assumed that it was some horror fan sideshow of the Gasparilla Film Festival (Soon to be up-branded the Gasparilla International Film Festival). Although I have to give kudos to Andy Lalino for his clever play off of the Gasparilla International Film Festival with his GASP horror film festival event, a one-off independent horror film festival which Tampa Bay Film was unable to attend, allowing a larger sponsoring event to overtake your branding is a final nail in the coffin of any film festival. Sure, you could get away with playing off of the other brand, just like Andy did, but once it overtakes your original branding, it hurts you. Just like it hurts a business to make cuts in marketing and advertisement, once you downplay your branding, you diminish the value of your brand, and short-change what you are trying to do.
So, while the 2007 Halloween Horror Picture Show at Channelside was ambitious with its larger Halloweenapalooza scope, personal issues with many of the people in the independent film scene caused many to ignore it, which was wrong because it was a great film festival to attend (and thanks go out to Jeff Strand for allowing Tampa Bay Film to publish his film reviews, because Tampa Bay Film was unable to see most of the films and review them for HHPS 2007). As a result, Halloween Horror Picture Show 2008, held the following year and the last of that series until now, was scaled back and dominated by Gasparilla branding. While the venue for HHPS 2008 was excellent, being held at the Beach Theater in Saint Pete, the film festival itself almost seemed like an afterthought, and the writing was on the wall.
So, in 2009, with the Gasparilla International Film Festival and the Sunscreen Film Festival reigning, with more of a focus on mainstream movies and playing “let’s pretend that we are pretentious Hollywood players with faux red carpet events, mainstream movie premiers with celebrities, expensive elitist ticket prices, spread out venues and multiple days diluting and fragmenting the audience and the film festival event experience, snobby fundraiser events and workshops that have little relevance to independent filmmaking because we only teach the Hollywood way, and most aspiring filmmakers can’t afford, and do not have the resources to, make movies that way”, the independent film festival went away, if only for a few years.
It would be a long hiatus, and a cold winter for not only independent filmmakers, but their fanbase, as well, because the large film festivals did not give them priority, and treated independent film like an afterthought, as well as something not worth any respect or headlining. Indeed, the Gasparilla Film Festival was started by Krista Soroka, who was the Tampa film commissioner at the time, and a team that she had set up. It is my opinion that the emphasis of that film festival, and the other film festivals which seem to follow the lead of Gasparilla, was to market the Tampa Bay area as a location for outside production companies and Hollywood to make movies here, rather than support independent film and work on exporting movies from local filmmakers. It is also my opinion, also, that Paul Guzzo and Pete Guzzo, independent filmmakers who teamed up with Krista, sold out the filmmakers who looked up to them, and became the token independent filmmakers and the film commission’s puppets on the advisory panel instead of looking out for the interests of independent film here in Tampa Bay. Then again, perhaps that is what they wanted all along, because undermining support for independent film here strengthens your hand when you stand to benefit, and it cripples your competition. Way to go, Guzzo!
What do you suppose happens to independent film in Tampa Bay when people sell it out, and the large film festivals market the Tampa Bay area as a location to the competition of independent filmmakers, which would be outside companies with deep pockets? What do you suppose happens when these large film festivals are used as marketing platforms for filmmaking workshops which have little relevance for independent filmmaking, and are more like a cash-in way of making money from aspiring filmmakers instead of actually helping and supporting them?
How many independent filmmakers have benefitted from Gasparilla and Sunscreen? Really? You HAVE to ask yourself this, and bragging rights that you were screened there do NOT count! Isn’t the point of a film festival to show films, films without distribution, to audiences to expose them to independent films which they are not able to see anywhere else? Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you the faux film festival, which may claim that they support independent film, but in reality are overblown, pretentious, expensive, drawn-out snob fests which support the competition of independent film, instead! Hey, actions outshine words, and when the actions betray the words, then you have a serious problem.
Don’t even get me into the ticket prices for Gasparilla and Sunscreen. Hey, I’d love to spend $150.00 for a full festival, V.I.P. pass over five days to take out time out of my schedule, for most of a week, and watch mainstream movies which I will see in the theaters and on DVD months later. Oooooh...... I get to meet C and D-list “stars”, and the occasional B-lister, all of whom have NOTHING to do with independent films in Tampa Bay, and all of whom could really care less about the “fans”! Whatever...... Overpriced, inconvenient, redundant, and not at all what a film festival should be? You bet! That’s why I don’t care about those film festivals, and the organizers can keep them. They don’t speak for me, they don’t speak for Tampa Bay Film, they have little to no relevance to independent films that I am planning on doing, and I don’t think that they support independent filmmaking.
I don’t need them, either, and it is my opinion that independent filmmakers would be better off without them. Soon, most of them will wake up and realize this.

NEXT: The Gay and Lesbian Film Festival and Shelby McIntyre’s UnBanned. Propaganda?

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