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Star-studded Gasparilla International Film Festival includes Abigail Breslin, Sung Kang

illuminated marquee at the Tampa Theatre.
Photo by Andrew Harlan

The Gasparilla International Film Festival (GIFF), presented by Film Tampa Bay, has just revealed its 2023 lineup. This year’s festival includes 23 Feature Films, 50 Short Films, 5 Educational Panels, 4 Parties, a High School Film Competition, and over 50 filmmakers attending from around the world. 100,000 arts patrons, film buffs, actors, directors, distributors, and casual attendees are expected to experience the event at the end of March. PredictHQ estimates a $12.3 million economic impact from the event. It’s just one of the reasons why Tampa is one of the busiest cities in America this month.

GIFF will kick-off the festival with the film MIRANDA’S VICTIM, making its Florida Premiere as the Opening Night Film on March 23 at the Tampa Theater.  Directed by Michelle Danner, Miranda’s Victim tells the story of Patricia “Trish” Weir played by Abigail Breslin, who was kidnapped and raped by Ernesto Miranda. This case triggered the law that would transform America’s justice system, which we know as ‘Miranda Rights’.  Michelle Danner, Abigail Breslin (known for her roles in Zombieland, Little Miss Sunshine), and Enrique Murciano are confirmed to be in attendance and will host a Q&A session after the film. Other notable cast includes Donald Sutherland, Luke Wilson, Ryan Phillippe, Emily VanCamp, Taryn Manning, Andy Garcia, & Nolan Gould. 


Still from MIRANDA’S VICTIM starring Abigail Breslin

Gasparilla International Film Festival returns for 16th year

GIFF’s Closing Night Film, also held at the Tampa Theater on March 26 is BLACKBERRY,  also making its Florida Premiere.  The film tells the story of the meteoric rise and catastrophic demise of the world’s first smartphone.  Director Matt Johnson’s adaptation portrays a suspenseful and insightful journey for Research In Motion’s race to launch its BlackBerry phones that changed the way we communicate. Notable cast includes Jay Baruchel, Glenn Howerton, Matt Johnson, Cary Elwes, & Saul Rubinek.  Director Matt Johnson will be in attendance and will host a Q&A session after the film.  

Between Opening and Closing Night, GIFF will screen many more films throughout the 4-day festival. “We are very excited to announce this year’s film selection,” said Monica Varner, Executive Director. “We believe this is the best lineup yet and will appeal to all film lovers in the Tampa Bay Area and those who are visiting from out of town.”

Another notable attendee at this year’s festival is director Sung Kang, (Fast & Furious films) directing SHAKY SHIVERS, which will also be making its Florida Premiere at the Festival.  Director Sung Kang, producer Bryan Yang, cast members Brooke Markham, and James Bellinger will also be in attendance for a post film discussion. 


Actor/director Sung Kang in the film Fast 5. Kang appeared in Tokyo Drift, Fast Five, Fast & Furious, Fast 6, and F9 | Universal Pictures screen cap

Recognized as a top-50 festival

GIFF is known as a cultural arts institution that inspires, educates, and entertains through its annual celebration of film. In 16 years, GIFF has emerged as one of the fastest-growing film festivals in the U.S. and is consistently recognized as a top-50 festival.  With year-round events, community outreach, and social awareness initiatives, GIFF also supports and cultivates the film industry of Tampa Bay and Florida and makes an economic impact on the region. GIFF has also hosted thousands of filmmakers, talent, producers, and film buffs by bringing the arts, education, and quality films to the Tampa Bay area.  

“We are grateful for the support of Film Tampa Bay and Hillsborough County throughout the years.  We would not have been able to be recognized as one of the best film festivals in the country without their partnership,” said Tim Zehnder, President of the Board of GIFF.  

Most of the films screened at GIFF are in competition for a prize in their respective categories.  Winners are chosen by a distinct panel of Grand Jury Members and include the following categories:  Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary Feature, Best Short Film, Best College Film, Best High School Film, Best Florida Production, Best International Film, Best Male Performance, and Best Female Performance.  

Gasparilla International Film Festival’s full lineup is available online.

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