Archive for the ‘Tampa Theatre on the Road’ Category

Jan & Tara

So just how do films get to the Tampa Theatre screen?  Our first-run films are booked by the smart, nice and overall wonderful Jan Klingelhofer with Pacific Film Resources. That’s her with me to the left underneath the Egyptian Theatre marquee at Sundance.  Jan was on the Art House Convergence committee at Sundance and presented on a couple of panels.

She works with film distributors on behalf of Tampa Theatre and several other A-list art houses around the country.  I book our classic film series directly with occasional help from Jan.  The best way to describe it is a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle, between when the distributors want to open a film in Tampa and when we can accomodate them on our single screen along with concerts and community events.   

If you’re interested in learning more about the wacky process, stayed tuned to tampatheatre.org.  We’re working on getting Jan to come talk at our next members’ reception, probably in April.     

Check back here soon…will be adding more Sundance snippets later. 


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Team Tampa - John, Tara, Erin, Jim, Alicia

While at Sundance, met up with with my Tampa pals, the fabulous and funny Alicia and John Johnson and new Tampa pals, the lovely Erin who volunteers at WMNF and Jim.

Jen, Alicia, Mario After Filming

Erin, Alicia, Mario, John

We were walking down Main Street and ran into a crew for Extra TV with Mario Lopez.  We got pulled in to be on the show for a staged photo during a promo.   We stood next to Mario while he talked about Extra’s Sundance coverage.  Then Alicia was told to ask him if we could take a photo.  At that point, I zipped around to snap this photo (left). 

I texted some friends and family to watch the show that night, adding to look for the dork in the red hat (me).  Several people texted back that, yes, I did look like a dork.  I don’t mind being a dork — it keeps expectations low. You can watch us all in our little Extra segment by clicking here.   

Speaking of Tampa pals, I stayed warm thanks to the sweet and generous Andrea Daly Halpern, who lent me her blue ski parka.  (Hey – let’s plan the next next G.R.G.!)  And hey Mom — thanks for sending me off to Sundance with a new scarf!  Kept my neck fashionably warm.

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Bran Nue Dae - Post film chat with Director Rachel Perkins

I’m back from the Art House Convergence and the Sundance Film Festival.  Finding time to blog was a bust.  I was constantly on the go during the convergence with panels, speakers, chatting with my art house colleagues and playing in the snow.  Got slammed with a snowball and when I picked up a handful to fire back, discovered that it’s really, really cold — who knew!  

The two days at the film festival were filled with reading about films, figuring out how to get tickets to films, riding the shuttles to films, watching films (saw four), hanging with art house and Tampa friends, and being on Extra TV with Mario Lopez.

So thought I’d do recaps by subject.  First up – the films: 


I was only at Sundance for two days but managed to see four films (which was a herculean feat since I didn’t have tickets in advance). 

Bran Nue Dae  Fun, colorful, quirky, toe tapping and delightful!  Director Rachel Perkins spoke after the film about the joy of working with such a wonderful cast.  (That speck in the photo is her.)   She said Geoffrey Rush was brilliant (I agree!) and spent lots of time picking out just the right glasses for his character (and improvised on ways to comically interact with them.) 

Winter’s Bone   Loved it!  And it was a big winner — Grand Jury Prize, Dramatic plus the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award.  This was an absorbing film about an intrepid 17-year-old girl in the Ozarks searching for her drug-dealing father who skipped bail – and who put up the family’s home as collateral.   She was played by Jennifer Lawrence who was absolutely spellbinding.   Going into Sundance, I have wish list, but realistically it’s based on showtimes, ticket availability and mostly luck.  For this one, I happened to run into a friend who had an extra ticket – yay! 

Obselidia  A Grand Jury Prize nominee, Obselidia was a sweet, poetic film about a man who catalogues things that are obsolete (including love) and a woman (and silent film projectionist) who believes that nothing is obsolete as long as someone loves it.    Winner – Excellence in Cinematography and the Alfred P. Sloan Prize, a $20,000 cash award presented to an outstanding feature film focusing on science or technology as a theme, or depicting a scientist, engineer, or mathematician as a major character.

Southern District   A Grand Jury Prize nominee.  Set in La Paz, Bolivia, Southern District quietly follows the final days of an upper-class family at a time when the country is undergoing social changes.  The camera was interesting – it panned around in full circles during each scene, which allowed for more details.  Winner —  Directing  and World Cinema Screeningwriting Awards for writer-director Juan Carlos Valdivia.


Both of these screened after I left (drats) but one of my art house pals said they were both terrific.  And congrats to both film crews for Grand Jury Prize nominations! 

Joan Rivers:  A Piece of Work   USF grads and former Tampa residents, Seth Keal (producer) and Charles Miller (DP), followed Joan Rivers around the U.S. and U.K. for over a year.  Seth and I chatted through Facebook (thanks to Jim Wordes for the intro).  It was nice to read this message from Seth:  “Hopefully after the smoke clears at Sundance the film will make it to Tampa Theatre, my favorite theater in the world.”  Mine too, Seth!   We’d love to have you and your film — let’s chat!  Winner — Documentary Editing Award. 

Freedom Riders  A documentary produced by PBS’ American Experience and based on the book by St. Pete’s own Ray Arsenault (History prof at USF St. Pete).  “Inspiring… an astonishing testament to the accomplishment of youth and what can result from the incredible combination of personal conviction and the courage to organize” — Sundance Film Guide.  Thanks, Beth for the scoop about Ray Arsenault.

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Yesterday was the first day of the Art House Convergence – the three-day gathering of 120 art house directors and programmers including a smattering of film distributors and service providers – and one famous filmmaker.   It’s been great to re-connect with friends/colleagues and meeting new friends/colleagues.  

Was inspired by two keynote speeches.  Bob Ottenhoff, the president of Guidestar, a fantastic web resource for nonprofits, spoke about how art houses are valuable institutions that create value for communities by bringing people together.   After dinner, Sundance Film Festival John Cooper (who goes by Cooper and is a total hoot!) talked about the magic of experiencing a film on the big screen and applauded the Art House Convergence team.  The Sundance Institute celebrated art houses for its 25th anniversary a few years back.  With the support of the Institute, the art houses kept the momentum going by creating the Art House Convergence.  The first year, 25 of us met for a couple of days.  (TT Director John Bell – the best boss on the planet — and I attended.)  Last year 75 showed up and this year 125.  Cooper stressed how impressed the Sundance Institute is with the spirit and passion of our intrepid group.   Also told us about some interesting Sundance Institute projects and produced content, some of which I’ll be exploring for TT.

I co-led a panel on profitable special programming.  Loaded up a power point with lots of fun photos from the classsics, sing-alongs, special one-off bookings, Sunset Cinema and the Late-Night Ghost Hunt.  I also focused on fun and wacky audience participation ideas (audience costume parades, photo opps at events, etc.) which gave me the opportunity to show off photos by our fab house photographer Radko Keleman.  Word on the street is that it was a hit.

That night at the bar, ran into my new pal, the lovely and brilliant Deb Lake, who runs Michael Moore’s art house, the State Theatre in Traverse City, Michigan.  She and Michael were at my session – but I didn’t realize it – and he loved what we do and wanted to hear more.   Today, I’m wearing my TT Megaplex, Schmegaplex t-shirt (John Bell’s idea by the way).  Michael laughed and asked me to send him one.  Will do!  Got a photo of us, but I accidentally traded cameras with someone so will post it later.

Rounded out yesterday and today with sessions on membership programs, not-for-profit benchmarks and art house metrics, social networking and programming trends.

Tomorrow co-leading another session on volunteers with Deb Lake and my other new pal, Amanda Bynum of the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor, MI.   Then it’s off to Park City and Sundance!

More blog and adding photos tomorrow.  The internet here is real sketchy, but then again I have a history of disrupting electrical systems.  Really — ask anyone at Tampa Theatre.

P.S.  Hey Times Favorite Funny Movie Guy Steve Persall —  Telluride Film Fest co-director Gary Meyer says hi back.  He mentioned having a copy of one of your articles in his collection.   Had lunch with him today.  What a nice guy — pretty darn smart, too.  Picked up a few ideas to take back to TT.

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Tara @ Sundance 2008

Packing my parka and bathing suit (more on that crazy fact below*) for the Art House Convergence immediately followed by the Sundance Film Festival next week.  Presented in cooperation with the Sundance Institute, the AHC is a three-day gathering of 120 art house professionals representing 68 theaters, plus other industry professionals for sessions and speakers (including Sundance Film Festival Director John Cooper and Filmmaker Michael Moore.  Yes, that Michael Moore who also operates a successful art house in Traverse City, MI.)  

I’m co-leading two sessions — “Working with Volunteers” and “Profitable Special Programs” — and looking foward to learning from my colleagues during other interesting sessions.

I’ll be at Sundance for the first few days of the festival.  Getting film tickets is a fun adventure — but I really mean that in a good way.  In 2008, I happened chat with someone on the shuttle who had an extra ticket for a screening of Frozen River (which we brought to Tampa Theatre.)  I had 20 minutes to change my plans and shuttles.  Made it with five minutes to spare.  

Paparazzi @ Sundance 2008

Lots of fun and quirky things happen during the festival.  One year, I chased some  paparazzi who were chasing Mary-Kate Olsen (who was there with her film, The Wackness — which was good).  After she ducked into a door, I snapped a pic of the photogs.  They were both confused and amused.  So hope to have more adventures to share this year.

* So what’s up with the parka and bathing suit?  The AHC is at the Homestead which has a natural hot springs.

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