Tampa’s Gasparilla International Film Festival returns for its 13th year

It’s almost time to roll out the red carpet in Tampa for the annual Gasparilla International Film Festival. Now in its 13th year, the festival continues to attract thousands to the six-day event. This year’s festival runs March 19-24.

The festival provides an opportunity for film buffs to see movies before they hit the big screen and rub elbows with directors and actors. It’s also a chance to mingle with Tampa Bay’s elite and have fun while doing it.

The highest VIP level is Red Carpet status. For $1,500 a person, it provides advance seating choices for the films, access to all events, and meet-and-greet face time.

“We bring an experience,” says Monica Varner, the executive director for GIFF. “About 75 to 80 percent of our films have someone from the project present, whether it be a director, writer or actor.”

The opening night gala is one of the most-attended festival events. A VIP party will take place at The Vault downtown, and festivalgoers can walk the red carpet to see the premiere film.

Some notable films that have previously premiered during the festival include The Challenger, The Poet of Havana and Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck. Get more information at www.gasparillafilmfestival.com

GIFF By the Numbers

• 15,000 attendees

• 140-plus films

• 200 directors, talent and industry members

• 14,000 Facebook, Twitter and Instagram followers combined

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