Tampa's Gasparilla International Film Festival, now in its third year, has grown incredibly quickly, making impressive strides toward becoming a truly international affair. If it hasn't already, the jam-packed 10-day event may soon be comparable to the likes of the Sundance Film Fest. Comparisons to the Telluride may be a little lofty just yet, but not all that far off.
MARCH BIRTHDAYS Marcus Koch, March 18, 32 yrs.
This year, Hollywood luminaries Armand Assante, Terry Moore, Anne Jeffreys and Rod Lurie attended the GIFF, awards and honors were given, and thousands of patrons gathered to celebrate independent film.
Local indie film representation, somewhat of a sticking point in the past, has improved greatly with showings by Andy Lalino (Brainjacked preview), Chris Woods (Joe Redner: Strip Club King), and Pete & Paul Guzzo (Combination Lock and their Charlie Wall documentary).
With Ye Olde Editor's physical condition not what it used to be, attending the festival can be a complicated affair, but not an impossible one. An unfortunate breakdown in communication earlier this year apparently cost me the position of Young Filmmaker Award judge, something I'd done for GIFF the past two years, and enjoyed immensely. If the position is open next year, and the corporate sponsors don't object to my semi-underground self's presence, I'd be glad to jump back onboard.
William Grefé and The Death Curse of Tartu
One year after many of us on staff met cult filmmaker Herschell Gordon Lewis before the GIFF showing of his classic gore-fest Blood Feast, another special occasion was upon us. Andy Lalino (Filthy, Brainjacked, former PCR columnist) and the GIFF staff had arranged for a personal appearance from another cult legend, Bill Grefé (Stanley, Impulse, Mako: Jaws of Death), who would attend the showing of his 1967 Florida-filmed creature feature, The Death Curse of Tartu, meet and greet fans and sign autographs. The notable significance of both Grefé and Lewis is how many of their films were shot on location in Florida.
The Saturday night showing was preceded by the extended trailer for Film Ranch's Brainjacked. The projection crew obviously did not experiment beforehand with the projector as it took several minutes of adjustment to stabilize the image and center it properly onscreen, but that aside, Brainjacked looks to be quite a ride, as it tells of a mad doctor and his experiments (best I could tell). Even after further adjusting the projector for Death Curse, the image and audio quality suffered in part from an obviously sub-par transfer acquired from Something Weird Video (nothing against Something Weird; it's just their company watermark was conspicuous in the lower-right picture of this DVD, so I know it was them).
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William Grefé, standing, left, talks to fans about his movies. Film critic Steve Persall, standing right, moderated the Q&A.
A pretty special moment for Ye Olde Editor (left), as I stand with Bill Grefé, center, and Steve Persall.
Cult film legend Bill Grefé, left, converses with PCR staffers Chris Woods (right) and John Miller (center).
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ED Tucker (standing, approx. center) and Andy Lalino (right) converse with cult film fans.
PCR group shot, sans Ye Olde Editor who had to be photographer! L-to-R, Chris Woods, Andy Lalino, Lonnie Dohlen, ED Tucker, Cindy Tucker, Joel Wynkoop, and John Miller.
Adapting to the shifting viewing experience having finally settled, The Death Curse of Tartu, the story of an ancient Indian mummy resurrecting to avenge his tomb's being disturbed by partying explorers, displayed that great combination of low-budget, high ambition, mixed production value cheeziness that makes creature features like this such an enjoyable experience. (I'm sure Dr. Paul Bearer showed this "horrible old movie" on Channel 44's Creature Feature several times!)
After Death Curse, we were shown several snippets, gleaned from home-recorded VHS tapes, of TV interviews featuring Grefé over the years. Following this, was the short film Fairy Princess, a shocker dealing with a little girl's turning the tide on a kidnapper during Halloween. This was a great little film tacked on by Gasparilla, but unrelated to Bill Grefé in any way.
Film critic for the St. Petersburg Times, Steve Persall, led the brief question and anwser period following the film (as he'd done last year for H. G. Lewis). Mr. Grefé told many interesting stories of his experiences in Florida, including filming Impulse with William Shatner, being second-unit director on the Bond film Live and Let Die, and the challenges of directing so many "wild animal" scenes which permeated his career.
A genuinely nice man, he seemed to really enjoy hobnobbing with fans and answering questions.
Several of the PCR staff were in attendance (see photos), along with indie film notables Joel Wynkoop and Shelby McIntyre, as well as Dr. Paul Bearer über-fan, Lonnie Dohlen. (You all might be amused to know that Lonnie and fellow über-fan ED Tucker had driven to Tampa directly from Orlando's MegaCon to join us this night. That's adding to the fact that each drove from Bradenton and Jacksonville, respectively, to get to Orlando in the first place. Lots of driving!)
Return of The World of Nolan! POSTED BY NOLAN B. CANOVA, MARCH 4, 2009
It's back! In this 2-minute "episode" I simply re-introduce the series that was intended to be much more prominently featured than it has been the past several years.
The little proprietary video player at left is an experiment to test compatiblity with y'alls browsers more than anything. The future TWONs will be hosted on YouTube and this player will host other duties right here on Crazed Fanboy. If it gives you trouble, go to the YouTube version.
Anyway, I'm going to try my level best to keep it afloat this time. AND...yes, I intend to finally edit "lost" episodes, search for ones I haven't seen in a while, and re-post old ones that were encoded originally as Real Media (sorry about that, folks, but most of the original MPEG source files have been lost to time). I won't find everything.
But I need to get back in the saddle as a video producer and host. And there's no time like the present for that.
The Death of Paul Harvey at 90
POSTED BY NOLAN B. CANOVA, MARCH 4, 2009
Although I became a TV zombie shortly after birth, it took me a little longer to appreciate talk radio. The transition was made easier and faster when I discovered special individuals who did both equally well. One such individual was broadcast commentator Paul Harvey whose noontime appearances on whatever news show I watched in the '70s (likely Channel 13's "PULSE") absolutely rivted me to the spot with his baritone voice, deep thoughts, infamous "pregnant pauses", and, of course, the notable "Good Day" wish that always closed his few minutes on the air. He was special and he was unique. That people would imitate the "Good Day" part helped make him a household name probably more than any other thing he did. But, of course, it was his stories told with slow and meticulous pacing, along with his brooding news commentary, that forever influenced me as a writer, video producer and radio fan.
Paul Harvey just died at the age of 90, and I believe he continued to work right up to the end, adding to the indelible mark he made on broadcasting long ago. He was a classic and will be sorely missed.