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Now in our tenth calendar year!
PCR #484 (Vol. 10, No. 27). This edition is for the week of June 29--July 5, 2009.

"Public Enemies"  by Mike Smith
The British Invasion and Garage Bands a Go-Go  by Will Moriaty
The Monster Squad: The Complete Collection  by ED Tucker
FANGRRL Goes To The New Tampa Film Network Meeting  by Lisa Scherer Ciurro
Dr. Paul Bearer - Where It All Started .... .... Wghp-tv .... The Gags .... .... The Hearse .... What's It Worth? .... r  by Brandon Jones
The Music .... Have You Heard This One? .... America Wouldn't Know Talent If It Bit It In The Ass .... Please Have Kleenex Ready .... Passing On .... Happy Birthday U.s.a. .... .... .... My Favorite Films, Part 2... h  by Mike Smith
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FANGRRL by Lisa Scherer Ciurro

FANGRRL Goes To The New Tampa Film Network Meeting

The name "Tampa Film Network" has had different meanings in the Tampa Bay area over the past few years. A long time ago (way back in 2006), in a galaxy not so far far away, local filmmakers Joe Davison and Chris Woods founded the Tampa Film Network with the goal of bringing local indie filmmakers together to network and to help each other with different projects. That particular version of the TFN apparently ran its course, for a variety of reasons and rumors, and the group (and its website) lay dormant for a while.

In the meantime, Dan Brienza was bringing local filmmakers together to learn from each other and to support each other through a networking group he established through Meetup.com. Brienza had good timing and good sense: he had the good timing of expanding his networking group after the TFN had come and gone, and he had the good sense to recognize that the Tampa Film Network name fit perfectly, plus had some name recognition already established locally and online.

After receiving the OK from Woods and Davison to assume the Tampa Film Network name, Brienza folded his Meetup.com networking group into the refurbished and relaunched Tampa Film Network, "the largest network of Tampa Bay filmmakers, screenwriters and actors". In addition to a social networking site where TFN members can post clips, casting calls, meeting notices and other information, the Tampa Film Network meets the last Friday of every month. Each TFN meeting features a guest speaker and screens various (mostly local) films.

I finally got my lazy butt off of the sofa and attended a TFN meeting. The June meeting was held at the Art Institute of Tampa near the Raymond James Stadium and Joel "King of the B Movies" Wynkoop was the guest speaker. I liked the location – easy to get to, lots of parking – and of course everyone likes Wynkoop.

Wynkoop showed some clips from his movies and commercials to give the audience a sense of who he is and on what projects he's been involved. It seemed to me to be more of a historical montage than a highlight reel, because some of my fave Wynkoop scenes weren't included. Following the clips reel, Wynkoop spoke to the audience about his experiences – both challenges and successes -- trying to make a living as a full-time actor, and then answered audience questions. He opened up about how after 20+ years of working a full-time job while taking acting roles on the side (often unpaid), he is now pursuing an acting career full-time. I don't know how many actors were in the audience (there were about 35-40 people total at this TFN meeting), but I found Wynkoop's honest answers about the nitty gritty details of this business very informative and useful.

Next up were the films. Most of the films screened at the June TFN were past selections from the Independents' Film Festival, with some local ones here and there.

Spaventare -- Chris Woods introduced his horror short Spaventare by telling the audience that his goal was to make a short, simple, scary film that was actually scary (unlike those films that promise to be scary and then aren't). And now I know that "spaventare" is Italian for "frightened" or "scared" (not some new pasta dish that's all the rage).

In Spaventare, a woman (Sarah Bray) at home alone finds a weird email in her in-box that spooks her…or opens the door to the other side… or fuels her overactive imagination…or unleashes evil…or something like that. We don't really know which, and it doesn't really matter because Rod Grant can play creepy like nobody's business. Spaventare is one eerie, disturbing film that completely freaked me out, which is just what you want in a scary movie. Highly recommended and film of the night.

Father Eddy – A student film from 2006, written by Bill Bush and directed by Curtis E. Graham. An amusing "behind the scenes" look at what goes on inside the confessional booth. Well done.

Modus Vivendi: A Way of Life – Richard J. Liukis' award-winning short opens with Plato's quote "the body is the tomb of the soul" and then explores that statement through a series of beautifully-shot, brightly-colored, sensually-scored scenes of a female artist at work, in love and in life. Gorgeous to watch and to listen to. Very well done. Highly recommended.

Trash Compact Grindhouse Cinema trailer – This entry from the 2008 48-Hour Guerrilla Film Competition is a hilarious "trailer" for the double feature of Mad Mormon Milkman Versus Gangbanger Grandmas 3 and KGB: Intergalactic Russian Robot Assassin. Creative, clever and purposely campy. Highly recommended.

Hooligan's Valley – The comic book hero wannabees Itchy and Lobo try to save the day in this wacky, weird, surreal comedy short. Plus a mobster midget, a sweet soundtrack and a crazy pirate chasing a man in an alligator mask. Good.

Bobo Tales -- An animated short about birds, designed to teach kids the value of sharing or being nice or getting the worm if you get up early or some such important life lesson. Okay.

Robots Are Blue – This award-winning short film about human-looking robots living among us as less-intelligent, second-class citizens starts out as sci-fi, morphs into comedy, and then slaps you in the face with troubling philosophical questions about prejudice, conformity and the definition of humanity. Very well done and highly recommended.

Press Play -- In this film, music – any and all music – is forbidden and illegal. Which means, of course, that there's a thriving black market where people can get their tunes on. Press Play made some interesting and thought-provoking points about censorship and Big Brother, but took a long damn time to finally get around to making those points. Good.

Souvenir -- An odd, sad little black-and-white short about the lonely world inside a souvenir snow globe, shot entirely on a toy camera. Well done.

The next Tampa Film Network meeting will be July 31. Brienza is looking for films to screen, so visit www.TampaFilmNetwork.com for info on how to submit your film.

"FANGRRL" is ©2009 by Lisa Scherer Ciurro.   All graphics, except where otherwise noted, are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2009 by Nolan B. Canova.