With film critic Lance Goldenberg's departure from Creative Loafing, two of the area's three major print-media outlets are now without locally based writers to lead and coordinate movie coverage.
Yes, as a matter of fact, that is a crime.
Thankfully, Steve Persall, the longtime critic for the St. Petersburg Times, continues to apply his expertise and enthusiasm on movies to reviews and coverage of local filmmakers and film festivals.
Steve blogs at Reeling in the Years. For his latest post, he recounted an evening out at a fundraiser for the Gasparilla Film Festival. The silent auction of movie-themed work by local artists was held at the Don Vincente de Ybor, a gorgeous, historic inn in Ybor City.
Sadly, the position of full-time movie critic is being eliminated at newspapers everywhere. Independent bloggers, particularly those who write about movies only on a part-time basis, will never replace critics who spend their days and nights absorbed in seeing, thinking about, reading about, and writing about film.
But because of the movie-critic attrition, independent bloggers are becoming more important than ever, particularly in terms of bringing attention to festivals and filmmakers.
One of the most pro-active movie bloggers in the Tampa Bay area is Lisa Ciurro, who blogs at Tampa Film Fan, and is a guest blogger at Sticks of Fire.
She recently assembled a round-up of information on the festivals slated to play the Tampa Bay area in 2009.
IMO, no Tampa Bay area film festival -- with the possible exception of the now-defunct TIFF - has yet to match the breadth and depth of the major film festivals around the state, including Cine-World in Sarasota and fests in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Then again, I haven't been as attentive to local film fests as I should have been, or could have been.
Tampa Film Fan points to several 2009 fests worth celebrating ...
The 3rd annual Gasparilla Film Festival, Feb. 26 to March 7; 100+ films from all over the world, at several Tampa Bay area venues
The Ybor Festival of the Moving Image, April 1-5, 2009; "Humor & Satire" is the theme.
The 4th annual Sunscreen Film Festival, April 22-26, 2009.
The Sarasota Film Society's Cine-World Film Festival, always a smorgasbord of first-rate films from around the globe, is set for Nov. 7-16. For a look at last year's schedule, go here.