Saturday, August 19, 2006

Sunrise Cinemas Slain

A few more thoughts on this:

It's worth noting that the Tampa International Film Festival had a home at Sunrise, and that the festival presented a slate of intriguing films from around the world.

And it's also worth recounting what Rob Tregenza, director of TIFF and a UT film professor, told the St. Pete Times in April, for a story on the impact of losing Sunrise: "I think it would really put the arts scene in Tampa in a very difficult position. The loss of it would be a major hit against independent film."

Tregenza and TIFF deserve a lot of credit for their efforts. Let's hope the fest finds a good home elsewhere.

The people at Channelside Cinemas have made some noise about offering screen space to arthouse/indie/alternative/foreign fare once Sunrise is shuttered. So let's hold them to their promise.

At the same time, don't forget that the Channelside theater opened several years with the same kind of commitment. And in no time flat, that pledge was forgotten, and every single screen was occupied by the same kind of mainstream, commercial movies that were playing everywhere else in Tampa.

There's no reason not to give Channelside a second chance to make good. In fact, gently inquiring about their plans to take up where Sunrise is leaving off might help: Call (813) 221-0700 and let them know. Or email

And about film festivals in Tampa: Yes, TIFF has been a good festival, and few other specialty film festivals take place in the area.

But Tampa, St. Petersburg or Clearwater have yet to support a film festival as large, well-attended and important, in terms of U.S. and world premieres, and major releases, as the ones in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Sarasota.

It's about time.


tampafilmfan said...

Thanks for your support of the Tampa International Film Festival. I hate that Sunrise is closing! Sigh... The TIFF will probably wind up at Channelside.

Channelside told me that they are the new home of the Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (along with the Tampa Theatre), the Jewish Film Festival and something new called the Gasparilla Film Festival.

(p.s. I'm the former assistant director of the TIFF.)

Philip Booth said...

Hey, that's good news that TIFF will have a home at Channelside, and that Channelside will provide support for those other festivals.
Not sure that it's the perfect place for a film fest, but ... you take what you can get.

Let's hope that a)their commitment to the cause doesn't waver, and b)they get their marketing/communications act together sufficiently enough to get out the word on all of these fests.

Thanks for reading.