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Nolan's Pop Culture Review 2008!
   Assistant Editor / Co-Moderator:  Terence Nuzum.                                                   HOME      ARCHIVES
Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our ninth calendar year!
Number 455  (Vol. 9, No. 50). This edition is for the week of December 8--14, 2008.

"The Day the Earth Stood Still"
Time Warp Toy Box '08: Part 2
They Were Who We Thought They Were? .... Give That Man A Raise! .... Graham Harrell .... Arena Football: Dead Or Alive? .... Barry Melrose At It Again .... Nfl Picks .... .... h
Oscars .... Greedy Bastard .... Dead .... Next Year's Series .... .... .... .... .... And The Oscar For Should Have Gone To... s
From all of us here at CrazedFanboy.com

Tampa Indie Film: Mission Accomplished?
Bettie Page, Dead at 85

Tampa Indie Film: Mission Accomplished?

This piece is the result of several intense conversations I've had over the past few months or so with my esteemed colleagues here at PCR, most notably Lisa Ciurro and Terence Nuzum, about what I -- and we -- have observed and come to know regarding the Tampa film scene over the past eight years or so. Along with Paul Guzzo and Chris Woods, these are the folks with whom I've most frequently shared the mission of exploring and exposing the talent Tampa Bay has to offer the world. I am not attempting to speak for them, I am only sharing my conclusions based on my own personal experiences and what I've gleaned from theirs.

There's good news, great news, and well, if not bad news, not-so-great news.

The Good News
The good news is there has never been a time where the local film scene has been so interconnected and thoroughly networked as it is now. There are way more websites, message boards, forums and organizations devoted strictly to filmmaking and promotion than there were years ago. There are more avenues of exhibition than there has ever been before.

When I started covering local independent film, there were basically only The Saints & Sinners Film Fest (formerly Renegade) and the venerable 4-day TamBay Film Fest, which started in the late '90s. Both fests were exemplary events and were a blast to attend. Both closed by 2004. These festivals played both out-of-town and local films. (I know there were others; the Tampa International Film Festival comes to mind, and the Gay & Lesbian is still operating, but I don't know if they played local indie stuff). Around this time, David Audett began the Ybor City Festival of the Moving Image, an impressive film fest showcasing films from all over the world, including here. [UPDATE: Since this piece first ran, I have been reminded that the Independents Film Festval was also a mover and shaker of the day. Mea Culpa for the omission.--Nolan]

At the start of 2004, barely a month after the last Saints & Sinners, Peter and Paul Guzzo started The Tampa Film Review, a bare-bones monthly showcase for any and all local indie film, the only one of its kind for many years. Despite being dogged by technical problems and shifting venues, the nearly 5-year-old TFR remains the best ongoing exhibition of local and mid-Central Florida indie film, and a must-visit for anyone interested in educating themselves on the Tampa film scene.

Two years ago, a few movers and shakers saw what was happening, banded together with the local government together with several investors, and created the Gasparilla Film Fest, now a ten-day showcase of the best films from around the world, including the Tampa Bay area. Together with St. Pete's SunScreen Film Festival (itself only two or three years old), the Sarasota Film Festival and the Melbourne Film Festival, Florida is truly on the map as a world-class stop for indie film exhibition.

About a year ago, the Pinellas Filmmakers Society debuted, itself a monthly event that combines local film exhibition and networking. I haven't attended myself yet, but I've heard lots of positive feedback about it. And I would be remiss if I overlooked Art After Dark, put on by the Tampa Museum.

(For completeness, I'd like to salute The Globe Coffeehouse and the late Covivant Art Gallery for their film nights -- they showed hard-to-find foreign films and lots of independents, I'm sure at least some of them were local films.)

So, as you can see, there is no shortage of places to exhibit films, and most of these burst upon the scene only within the last few years.

The Great News
Talent. Oh my god, does this area have talent. When I started my multimedia "career" (in its present form, around ten years ago), my mission was to (among other things) discover and expose the arts scene I just knew was here, but had been undercovered by the news media. I'm happy to report there is no shortage of talented filmmakers, artists and musicians at least as good as any in the major cities residing right here in the Bay area. I've made no secret of the fact that it has been my honor and privilege to cover the local film festivals to the best of my limited abilities over the past several years, in particular, The Tampa Film Review. The TFR has been an extremely educational and eye-opening experience -- even I didn't know how amazing and weird it could get.

Now For the Bad, or at Least, Not-So-Great News.
Tampa has never been the friendliest town when it comes to supporting film. Luckily, that started to change slightly a few years ago when the Film Commissioners began to take more interest, and the Gasparilla Film Fest was instituted. But much more needs to happen before we can be called an "arts town" and before we lose too many more artists and filmmakers to larger cities.

Networking has had a rockier history than exhibition. It has been, at best, a hit-or-miss until fairly recently. More on that in a bit.

For years, the only networking organization I was aware of was the FMPTA, or the Florida Motion Picture and Television Association. This was a dues-paying club that met once a month to exchange tips and leads on getting film work. Noble in its cause, it tended to stay limited to small groups of regulars, mostly at or near retirement age. I attended many of these in the late '90s, and was discouraged by the stats, seeing it more as theraputic than networking, others may have had better experiences. However, the FMPTA still exists, still holds meetings, and still produces the occasional movie. I give 'em credit for staying power.

Shortly after the inaugural TFR, Steve "Uncle Creepy" Barton started the Florida Indie Film Group on Yahoo, seeing it as a way to help jump-start the networking community online (he had approached me about it first, but I declined the offer; the Crazed Fanboy message board started about a month later, and film networking was a part of it but never intended as a goal. I digress...). The Yahoo Group is probably the most successful film networking message board/email list in existence regarding local film.

The Tampa Film Network, began by Joe Davison and Chris Woods had the loftiest goals but the messiest management. After several very successful meetings, it peaked somewhere around mid-2006. Arguments over work assigments, website updates, contact lists, irregularly-scheduled meetings, and missing board members doomed this and it finally closed altogether. However, the Yahoo Group it founded continues on.

Unfortunately, both the Yahoo Indie Florida Film Group and the Yahoo Tampa Film Network Group have been overtaken by spammers. Since no one seems to be moderating either group, it may be only a matter of time before they go dark.

Which leaves the two more encouraging enterprises, Rod Grant's ThatsAWrapActorsForum.com (message board) and Dan Brienza's Weekend Film School and Tampa Film Networking monthly meet-ups that precede the TFR at the Romeo Coffeehouse location. These are regularly maintained and moderated. It appears to be these outlets (and probably a dozen others I'm not even aware of) that filmmakers have gone to for serious networking. In fact, the pilgrimage to these sites has been so thorough, the parts of the Crazed Fanboy message board I had devoted to indie film will likely be discontinued next year, due to inactivity. No sweat, go to where the action is people, we're pop culture nerds here anyway.

Due to the current economic downturn, there had been a decrease in filmmaking activity as filmmakers struggle simply to make ends meet and investors for larger projects are harder to find. I imagine that's the situation in just about any town these days. Still, the knowledge that so many talented artists are still here and still able to create wonders is all the inspiration I need to continue the mission.

Bettie Page, Dead at 85
The iconic pin-up girl who made S&M dress-up an acceptable part of magazine covers in the '50s and '60s, Bettie Page, has died at the age of 85 due to complications from pneumonia following a heart attack.

Most known for her good girl/bad girl poses in magazines of the 'late '50s, she was a bit naive when it came to appreciating her impact on the sexploitation scene. She regarded her nude posing as "modeling" and "acting". Pictures taken by one of her two most noted photographers, Bunny Yeager, wound up in the pages of Playboy magazine.

Her work with the other, Irving Klaw, precipitated a raid followed by a subpeona. Shocked that her posing could be construed as "pornography" she never appeared in print again (a later religious conversion reinforced that situation).

Rediscovery by fanboys in the '80s stoked a comeback of sorts, but she never came out of hiding. Rocketeer comic artist Dave Stevens, his work obviously influenced by Page, interviewed her once on video, but only if he agreed to leave her in shadow.

A Message Board thread has been started on this topic

Readers' Comments

The Readers' Comments section for this issue of PCR is now closed. To continue to interact, please use the Message Board or write a Letter to the Editor! The comments below are listed starting with the most recent. Thank you.

Crazed FanComments -- We Welcome Reader Feedback on any article(s) on this page.
Most Blogged About Filmmaker Paul Guzzo [14-12-2008 19:10] 
What is most sad, is that certain local blogs may soon be going out of business. What will certain blogs write about without me around? ... Also, I wonder what certain blog writers would do if they got to meet me in person ... hmmm.... would they be as bold? hmm.... haha
Puff Chrissy to the Max! [13-12-2008 10:01] 
I'd take over the TFR, but my model friend told me not to. Besides, I'm going to be famous at any moment and the TFR would interfere with my plans; you know, the plans that are happening in my head. Have I said too much? When I say more, I automatically assume that my idea has been stolen. I do want to say more, but I find that I sound crazier when I hint.
Soon To Be Ex-TFR Exec Paul Guzzo [13-12-2008 09:06] 
Welp, we announced last night that January's 5 year TFR anniversary will be the last run by Pete and me ... I will write up something in the next week or so explaining all the reasons behind our decision, but it basically comes down to our professiomal commitments are eating up too much of our time and we just don't have the proper time to commit to the TFR anymore. It would be ignorant of us to continue to run it if we could only do it half assed. It takes a lot of work to promote it and bring a good crowd every month, time we don't have anymore. A few people have expressed interest in taking it over, and I hope they follow through with it. But after five years, it was time for us to walk away.

I have loved every month of the TFR and am proufd of how large it has grown and the proud of the film community it helped to build.

January 9 will be the 5-year show ... hope everyone can come.
Nolan [13-12-2008 07:48] 
IFF: Point taken!
Nolan [13-12-2008 00:46] 
Screen actor (and proverbial "heart-throb") of the '40s and '50s, Van Johnson, dead at 92.

Christ, they're dropping like flies. Ackerman, Garland, Page, and now Van Johnson.
Steve Beasley [12-12-2008 13:17] 
I was always more of a page fan than a Monroe fan. She wasn't about being all sweet and innocent as Monroe was. At least that's how I saw her...as an honest version of Marilyn.

Plus, I bet she was a helluva lot more fun!
Nolan [12-12-2008 11:22] 
Puffy, thanks, I understand. I didn't want to dwell too much on the negative, there are others who do that full-time (our stalkers and naysayers, you know) and I didn't want to contribute to that faction. Besides the fact that what Paul and I do turning out to be a relatively thankless job for a too-often ungrateful and self-centered film community, I said pretty much all I wanted to say anyway, and wanted to end on a positive note. There will always be problems and personality conflicts, but we try and keep the big picture front and center.
Bad News Puff Chrissy [12-12-2008 08:01] 
I was hoping the bad news would be more expansive, but I understand your scheduling and patience only allows for so much. This is a dialogue that's been active for as long as I can remember, and while the names and faces change over the years, the problems continue to be the same.

The month before I moved here, my motorcycle broke down in the middle of the Howard Frankland bridge at around 7:30 in the morning. I remember Davison showing up within 45 minutes (with an ice cold frappucino for me). After that, I had around a dozen members of the Tampa film community helping me from transporting the bike all the way to repairing the bike. It ended up taking all day (I missed work), but the amount of attention and assistance I got for what amounted to be a trivial problem was pretty breathtaking. If the Tampa film community devoted the energy and resources they used to help me get off a bridge in the middle of a hot ass July day, it would be a force to be reckoned with.
Nolan [12-12-2008 05:32] 
Yeah, I heard about Page this morning. Very sad. I'm updating PCR now and will include that as a separate topic.
Lisa C. [12-12-2008 05:11] 
R.I.P. Bettie Page
Showcaser Of UN-Professionalism Steve [12-12-2008 00:40] 
Maybe I was just having a flashback from 1978...my apologies, folks.
Steve [12-12-2008 00:38] 
Okay, yesterday on this site I could swear there was a 10 greatest debut album challenge. That is what I was referring to.

Hell, now I can't find it anyplace...naturally. Perhaps my computer momentarily logged into a a Twilight Zone-esque Pop Culture Review from 2010. Who knows?

Over & Out
Nolan [11-12-2008 21:17] 
PCR #80?? That was from 2001!! And I'm supposed to know that's what he's talking about? He was wrong anyway, the very first entry on that debut list of mine was "Meet The Beatles" which was not from the '70s.

Steve, let me know when you get to 2002.
Terence [11-12-2008 20:49] 
i believe Steve is refering to PCR#80. it was a mike smith challenge. sounds like it was real memorable to everyone haha. i cant say why steve suddenly now many years after has decided to comment on it though.
Showcaser Of Professionalism Paul Guzzo [11-12-2008 07:38] 
Does PCR drug test its independent contractors? Maybe it should...
Nolan [11-12-2008 06:38] 
Puff, thanks. That does sound like a healthier recipe. Now, please send me a sample of whatever you and Steve are smoking where you can see these alternate reality webpages I write. I know my memory's failing these last few years, but I'm blanking on album picks and cookie recipes! Ha, ha.
Award Winning Puff Chrissy [11-12-2008 05:54] 
Nolan: I noticed that you said three whole eggs and a half cup of butter will do it. I've found that you can get the consistency with two eggs and a half cup of margarine; and it's healthier too! Try it out and let me know how the cookies come out!
Nolan [11-12-2008 03:07] 
Steve, to what are you referring? Where did I say all this?
Steve Beasley [11-12-2008 02:13] 
Nolan, I noticed every debut album you mentioned was from the 70s...although that was an amazing decade musically, I found that interesting. No Metallica, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, G&R, etc...

Having said that, I'll always have a fondness for 70s metal, being the old bastard that I am. All of today's bands compare themselves to the acts of that era.
Steve Beasley [11-12-2008 02:08] 
My boss is taking us all to see"The Day the Earth Stood Still" on Tuesday. I'm not expecting much, but I am hoping. I believe Klaatu just may be the perfect role for Reeves, considering his stiff acting manner.

Terence [10-12-2008 20:13] 
[31-12-1969 16:00] 
End of Comments    

"Mike's Rant" is ©2008 by Michael A. Smith    "Matt's Rail" is ©2008 by Matthew Drinnenberg     "This Week's Movie Review" is ©2008 by Michael A. Smith    "La Floridiana" is ©2008 by Will Moriaty    "FANGRRL" is ©2008 by Lisa Ciurro    "Retrorama" is ©2008 by ED Tucker    "Sports Talk" is ©2008 by Chris Munger      All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2008 by Nolan B. Canova    
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