The Gasparilla International Film Festival (GIFF) announced their full slate of films for the upcoming 2018 Feature Film Competition Lineup. In all, 35 narrative and documentary features were selected from the US and around the world.
GIFF kicks off Tuesday in Tampa, Florida with “Stuck,” an original music starring Giancarlo Esposito and Amy Madigan. Some films will enjoy their world premieres in the Sunshine State, while others continue their march along the festival circuit. The Closing Night Gala will showcase “Brothers in Arms,” a documentary about the making of Oliver Stone‘s Academy Award winning film, “Platoon.”
GIFF began in 2006, and has grown into a popular event for film fans. Monica Varner, Executive Director addressed this year’s lineup:
“We are very excited to announce this year’s film selection. We believe this is the best lineup yet and will appeal to all film lovers in the Tampa Bay Area.”
Here is the selection of films:
OPENING NIGHT FILM & GALA
STUCK – (USA) Director: Michael Berry
An original pop musical film about six strangers who get stuck on a New York City subway together and change each other’s lives in unexpected ways. Understanding their struggles and prejudices, the characters realize that they have more in common than their previous assumptions of each other allowed them to notice.
Cast: Giancarlo Esposito, Amy Madigan, Ashanti, Arden Cho, Omar Chaparro, Gerard Canonico, Tim Young
CLOSING NIGHT FILM & GALA
BROTHERS IN ARMS – (USA) Director: Paul Sanchez
Charlie Sheen narrates, as cast and crew share their personal experiences making the Academy Award winning film, Platoon. This non-union, low budget, independent film was cast almost exclusively with young, unknown actors making their first film. Together they share their first-hand accounts of the grueling boot camp, Oliver Stone‘s “unique” directing style, and the brutal filming conditions that together forged their eternal brotherhood.
Cast: Johnny Depp, Willem Dafoe, Charlie Sheen, John C. McGinley, Keith David, Tom Berenger, Mark Moses, Tony Todd, Kevin Dillon, Richard Edson
BEIRUT – (USA) Dir. Brad Anderson
U.S. diplomat Mason Skiles (Jon Hamm) flees Lebanon in 1972 after the curious murder of his wife. Ten years later, he is called back to war-torn Beirut by a CIA operative (Rosamund Pike) to negotiate for the life of a friend he left behind. Unsure of who can be trusted, Skiles must determine who can be trusted and what the link is to the group that killed his wife.
Cast: Jon Hamm, Rosamund Pike, Dean Norris, Larry Pine, Shea Whigham
CHAPPAQUIDDICK – (USA) Dir. John Curran
In 1969 U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy is involved in a car accident involving a young, female campaign worker. Kennedy leaves the scene of the accident and doesn’t alert authorities for 10 hours, resulting in the death of Mary Jo Kopechne. As his brother John’s presidential promise to land a man on the moon unfolds, Kennedy considers his own legacy, wrestles with his own moral compass and ultimately puts his future in the hands of the American people.
Cast: Jason Clarke, Kate Mara, Ed Helms, Jim Gaffigan, Bruce Dern
FIRST REFORMED – (USA) Dir. Paul Schrader
In a small town in upstate New York, a mysterious reverend, Ernst Toller, is struggling with his faith due to the death of his son. As Toller is dealing with his role in the death, he is sought out for counseling by a pregnant woman struggling with a seemingly unstable, radical activist husband. This thriller delves into religious exaltation and torment to deal with the issues of anger and pain of the past.
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Amanda Seyfried, Cedric Kyles, Michael Gaston, Philip Ettinger, Victoria Hill
GEMINI – (USA) Dir. Aaron Katz
Jill is the assistant of Hollywood superstar Heather. Equal parts “yes” man, fixer, and best friend, Jill finds herself in a bad spot when Heather is found dead and Jill is the prime suspect. She now has to use her wits to deal with the celebrity culture and image awareness of Los Angeles to find the real killer.
Cast: Lola Kirke, Zoe Kravitz, John Cho
OUTSIDE IN – (USA) Dir. Lynn Shelton
Chris is released early from prison thanks to the advocacy of a former high school teacher. As he tries to readjust to life in his small town, he forms an intense relationship with his former high-school teacher, but she’s much older…and married.
Cast: Jay Duplass, Edie Falco, Kaitlyn Dever
YOU CAN’T SAY NO – (USA) Dir. Paul Kramer
Just days from signing divorce papers, Hank and Alexandra give their relationship one final shot by playing a game with only one rule: no matter what they ask each other to do, they can’t say no. All bets are off when they finally get the honesty their marriage had been craving.
Cast: Peter Fonda, Marguerite Moreau, Julie Carmen, Hamish Linklater, Hus Miller (Producer/Writer/Actor)
U.S. FEATURE COMPETITION
CLASS RANK – Dir. Eric Stoltz
Bernard and Veronica join forces in an attempt to improve the educational system. Guided by their families, they enter the perilous word of politics and, in the process, learn a thing or two about love. In their entanglements with others, Bernard and Veronica learn more about their relationship and the importance of helping people.
Cast: Olivia Holt, Bruce Denr, Kristin Chenoweth, Skyler Gisondo (PALM BEACH NATIVE)
THE HOUSE OF TOMORROW – Dir. Peter Livolsi
A sheltered, socially-awkward teen becomes friends with a green-haired heart transplant patient who introduces him to punk rock.
Cast: Asa Butterfield, Maude Apatow, Alex Wolff, Ellen Burstyn
LOVE AFTER LOVE – Dir. Russ Harbaugh
After their family patriarch passes away, a mother and her two adult sons try to regain their emotional equilibrium. Learning how to guide their unstable lives with his support, they learn the importance of family in dealing with failure, hardships, and depression.
Cast: Andie MacDowell, Chris O’Dowd, Francesca Faridany
QUEST – Dir. Santiago Rizzo
A non-romantic true love story between a humble teacher who believes there is no such thing as a bad kid, only a bad situation, and an abused 12 years old graffiti addict who has lost faith in integrity.
Cast: Lou Diamond Phillips, Dash Mihok, Betsy Brandt, Lakeith Stanfield
ROCK STEADY ROW – Dir. Trevor Stevens
Rock Steady Row centers around a young college freshman who, after his bike is stolen, lands on a college campus and is compelled to take action against the reigning fraternities. Forced to play both sides against the antagonists, the hero maneuvers through warped games and an unbalanced dean.
Cast: Heston Harwin, Diamond White, Logan Huffman, Isaac Alisma, Larry Miller, Allie Marie Evans, Peter Gilroy
INTERNATIONAL FEATURE COMPETITION
BACK TO BURGUNDY – (France) Dir. Cedrick Klapisch
When he learns of his father’s imminent death, a young man returns to the land of his childhood and reconnects with his sister and brother.
Cast: Pio Marmai, Ana Girardot, Francois Civil
BORG VS MCENROE – (Sweden, Denmark, Finland) Dir. Janus Metz
The story of the 1980s tennis rivalry between the placid Björn Borg and the volatile John McEnroe.
Cast: Shia LaBoeuf, Stellan Skarsgaard
THE DESERT BRIDE – (Chile/Argentina) Dir, Cecilia Atan, Valeria Pivato
A middle-aged woman who works as a maid for an upper middle-class family in Buenos Aires goes back to her hometown of San Juan after decades away to visit her dying sister.
Cast: Paulina Garcia, Claudio Rissi
KILLING JESUS (Matar a Jesus) – (Columbia/Argentina) Dir. Laura Mora Ortega
A few months after witnessing the murder of her father, a woman crosses paths with a young man she believes to be his killer, in Laura Mora’s feature debut based on true events.
Cast: Natasha Jaramillo, Giovanny Rodriguez, Camilo Escobar, Carmenza Cossio
MADAME – (France) Dir. Amanda Sthers
A dinner party goes off the rails when the maid runs off with a wealthy guest.
Cast: Harvey Keitel, Toni Collette
SWEET COUNTRY – (Australia) Dir. Warwick Thornton
Australian western set on the Northern Territory frontier in the 1920s, where justice itself is put on trial when an aged Aboriginal farmhand shoots a white man in self-defense and goes on the run as posse gathers to hunt him down.
Cast: Bryan Brown, Matt Day, Sam Neill, Thomas M. Wright
THE CHINA HUSTLE – (USA) Dir: Jed Rothstein
The China Hustle tells the story of the 2008 stock market crash. Chinese companies were seen as great opportunities, but American investors were not allowed to directly invest in the Chinese market. This documentary explores the massive fraud and reinforces the need for transparency and regulation surrounding the stock market, greed, and a big heist that no one heard about.
THE FABULOUS ALLAN CARR – (USA) Dir. Jeffrey Schwarz
Armed with a limitless Rolodex and a Benedict Canyon enclave with its own disco, Allan Carr threw the Hollywood parties that defined the 1970s. A producer, manager, and marketing genius, Carr built his bombastic reputation amid a series of successes including the mega-hit musical film “Grease” and the Broadway hit “La Cage Aux Folles” until it all came crashing down after he produced the 1989 Academy Awards, a notorious debacle.
Cast: Maxwell Caulfield, Steve Guttenberg, Connie Stevens, Marlo Thomas, Lorna Luft, Brett Ratner, Valerie Perrine, Sherry Lansing, Bruce Vilanch, and many many more.
THE KING – (USA) Dir: Eugene Jarecki
Forty years after the death of Elvis Presley, a musical road trip across America in his 1963 Rolls Royce explores how a country boy lost his authenticity and became a king while his country lost her democracy and became an empire.
Cast: Alec Baldwin, Chuck D., Emmylou Harris, Ethan Hawke, Van Jones, Mike Myers, Ashton Kutcher, James Carville
THE PICK OF THE LITTER – (USA) Dirs. Don Hardy, Dana Nachman
Pick of the Litter follows a litter of puppies from the moment they’re born and begin their quest to become Guide Dogs for the Blind, the ultimate canine career. This two-year journey follows the dogs and the incredible individuals who train them. Only the pick of the litter makes the final cut.
Cast: Phil, Poppet, Primrose, Patriot, Potmac (dogs in the doc)
RBG – (USA) Dirs. Betsy West, Julie Cohen
A look at the life and work of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who has become an icon for women and an idol for girls.
Cast: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Gloria Steinem, Nina Totenberg
BEST F(R)IENDS – (USA) Dir. Greg Sestero
When a drifter befriends a quirky mortician, an unlikely business partnership is formed. Paranoia soon develops, however, and both men are forced to come to terms with the fragility of friendship and loyalty.
Cast: Greg Sestero, Tommy Wiseau
COLD SKIN – (Spain/France) Dir. Xavier Gens
A young man who arrives to a remote island finds himself trapped in a battle for his own life.
Cast: Ray Stevenson, David Oakes, Aura Garrido
THE FEELS – (USA) Dir: Jenee LaMarque
A lesbian bachelorette weekend goes awry when one of the brides admits she’s never had an orgasm. Constance Wu (“Fresh Off the Boat”) stars in this funny and raunchy, yet poignant and real, reflection on trust, love, and the journey every woman shares.
Cast: Constance Wu
LET THE CORPSES TAN – (Belgium/France) Dirs. Bruno Forzani, Helene Cattet
On a beautiful corner of the Mediterranean, Rhino and his men take refuge after the robbery of 250 kilograms of gold. The plan is simple: Wait and split. But some unwanted visitors are about to turn this idyllic corner into a bloodbath.
Cast: Elina Löwensohn, Marilyn Jess, Marc Barbé, Stéphane Ferrara
MADE IN FLORIDA
BETWEEN WAVES – Dir: Joe Herbert
When a best-selling author has a midlife crisis, he returns to his coastal hometown and embarks on a wild adventure in a desperate attempt to reclaim his youth.
Cast: Amy Jo Johnson, William Russ, Vincent Caso, Christine Bell, Andy Ahrens
DISPATCHES FROM THE GULF 2: Research * Innovation * Discovery – Dir: Hal Weiner
Experience remarkable stories from the unprecedented scientific mission to comprehensively study the environmental impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and find new ways to ease the devastation. Includes the never-before-documented drama of bottlenose dolphins struggling to survive, and the capture of one of the world’s largest predatory sharks.
JUST A KICKER! – Dir: Michael Rothwell
Many sports documentaries have peered into the world of football, but none have done so through the eyes of their most unique player, the Kicker. This film takes you into their world and examines the perceptions and stereotypes of these often-misunderstood athletes.
PRINCESS OF VERSAILLES – Dir: Cinnamon Monteville
David and Jackie Siegel seemed to be on course for a picture-perfect year with a billionaire lifestyle of wealth and luxury. Life was a fairytale until David and Jackie’s oldest daughter, Victoria, was found dead in their Windermere mansion, forcing them to reevaluate their priorities. This is the story of how this high-profile couple’s grief was transformed into a determined mission to save lives. The Princess of Versailles features David and Jackie at the center of a growing movement to conquer the opioid epidemic that is plaguing the United States. Victoria’s death will mean that thousands, and even millions, will survive.
Cast: Jacqueline Siegel, David Siegel