Suncoast Credit Union Gasparilla International Film Festival
Actors, writers, producers, directors and the audiences they seek converged at the 11th annual Gasparilla International Film Festival, opening March 2 at Tampa Theatre and continuing throughout the week at AMC Classic Centro Ybor with nearly 150 features, shorts and documentaries, panel discussions and parties. Among the highlights: Actor Patrick Wilson picked up a Career Achievement Award for Hollywood and Broadway roles ranging from Phantom to Fargo. "I feel like it's more of a halfway award," he said. "With thirtysome films, I'm just getting going." Wilson's proud St. Pete entourage included parents Mary K and retired WTVT-Ch. 13 anchor John Wilson, brothers Paul and Mark, their wives and kids. "I call them the Von Trapps of Tampa Bay," board member and longtime friend Frank Robertson said of the talented family during the Q &A he led.
Screenwriter Mary Detres earned $5,000 and an option deal from producer Randall Emmett in a Billion Dollar Pitch; five Gold Star families were honored at the premiere of Danger Close and drag queen Joey Brooks performed after a screening of Joey's Show Will Go On. Following the closing night juried awards ceremony March 9, three-term GIFF president Rachel Feinman got an exuberant send-off as moviegoers poured into the third floor of the Franklin Exchange building for a pop-up "Larceny" bourbon after-party.
Centre for Women Waves of Change luncheon
Elegant and eloquent entrepreneur billionaire Sheila Johnson galvanized guests at the Centre for Women's annual Waves of Change luncheon where she shared her story and hard-fought success in the entertainment, hospitality and professional sports businesses. Poynter Institute vice president Kelly McBride moderated March 10 at the Hilton Tampa Downtown as Johnson received the Helen Gordon Davis Women's Leadership Award. Learning how the Centre helped launch 40 new women-owned businesses prompted Johnson to add $30,000 to the luncheon's proceeds. Executive director Ann Madsen and honorary chairwoman Susan Dellinger are thrilled to further serve "women of every age, circumstance and income level."
Tampa's first female mayor Sandra Freedman, dear friend of the late Sen. Davis who founded the Centre 40 years ago, received the inaugural Waves award from sponsor Julie Weintraub for "turning the tide" in women's leadership during her nine-year term, 1986-1995.
The Chiselers Market Preview Party
They did it again, for the 54th time, the Chiselers pulled a thousand bargain seekers to their annual, one-day "flea" market of art, furniture, books, jewelry, silver and so much more Saturday, turning every sale into preservation funds to restore the 1891 Tampa Bay Hotel, home of the University of Tampa.
The night before the Chiselers' Market, 500 supporters previewed the Chiselers Market, this year honoring patrons Tish and Bank of Tampa CEO Bill West. Browsing between shrimp and tenderloin, desserts and dancing on the verandah, guests bought anything that struck their fancy for twice the price marked.
Tuesday: Women of Distinction/Woman of Promise luncheon benefits Girl Scouts of West Central Florida, guest speaker Mary Lou Retton, noon; Glazer Family JCC; $75; (813) 262-1688, or gswcf.org/wod
March 24: Eighth annual "A Pair to Remember" benefits Easter Seals; 10:30 a.m.; Straz Center; $125; (813) 769-5923 or apairtoremember.com
March 25: Opera Tampa gala featuring Anton Coppola Centennial Celebration; 4 p.m.; Straz Center for the Performing Arts; $375; (813) 222-1275 or operatampa.org.