Last night, the 2023 Gasparilla International Film Festival kicked off in Tampa with Miranda’s Victim leading the way. The small, but exciting festival features many exciting features and brings legitimate independent hits to the Tampa Bay area. Below, we document the films of the festival and highlight a few of note. We’ve marked those with “*** EDITORS PICK ***” below. We hope you have a fun time at the 2023 Gasparilla International Film Festival, and catch a few films to help this local festival grow.

March 23rd, 2023

Miranda’s Victim

Directed by: Michelle Danner

Starring: Abigail Breslin, Kyle MacLachlan, Donald Sutherland, Emily VanCamp, Ryan Phillippe, Taryn Manning, Luke Wilson, Enrique Murciano, Nolan Gould

Synopsis: In 1963, eighteen-year-old Patricia Weir is kidnapped and brutally raped. Committed to putting her attacker, Ernesto Miranda, in prison, Trish’s life is destroyed by America’s legal system as she triggers a law that transforms the nation.

March 24rd, 2023

AMC Westmore

The Pines – 4:00 PM

Directed by: Kim Caicedo

Starring: Henry Caicedo, Donnell E Smith, Margaret Brammell, Erin E. Boucher

Synopsis: Two friends on a desolate week-long canoe trip find themselves fighting for survival after waking up to find their canoe has been mysteriously damaged.

Crosses in the Dust – 4:15 PM

Directed by: Christine Kane

Starring: Irene Pons, Brett Castro, Adrianna Gonzalez, Kajal Patel, Jazzalyn Velez

Synopsis: A law professor and her students journey along the Arizona-Mexico border and through the Sonoran Desert to help organizations fighting the ongoing humanitarian crisis.

26.2 To Life Documentary Gasperilla International Film Festival 2023

26.2 To Life – 5:30 PM *** EDITORS PICK ***

Directed by: Christine Yoo

Starring: Frank Ruona, Markelle Taylor, Tommy Wickerd, Rahsaan “New York” Thomas

Synopsis: 3 incarcerated men run a full marathon in San Quentin State Prison on a quest for freedom — or something like it.

On the Dark Side of Comedy Shorts Program – 5:45 PM

Full list of films here.

Breathing Happy – 7:15 PM *** EDITORS PICK ***

Directed by: Shane Brady

Starring: Sarah Bolger, Katelyn Nacon, Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead, Jim O’Heir, Augie Duke, John D’Aquino, Shane Brady, Owen Atlas, Jake Satow, June Carryl

Synopsis: In this mind-bending drama, a recovering drug addict can achieve one year of sobriety alone on Christmas day, but his demons tempt him to relapse.

Thrills and Chills Shorts Program – 7:30 PM

Full list of films here.

Linoleum Gasperilla International Film Festival 2023

Linoleum – 9:00 PM *** EDITORS PICK ***

Directed by: Colin West

Starring: Jim Gaffigan, Rhea Seehorn, Katelyn Nacon, Gabriel Rush, Amy Hargreaves with Michael Ian Black and Tony Shalhoub

Synopsis: When the host of a failing children’s science show tries to fulfill his childhood dream of becoming an astronaut by building a rocket ship in his garage, a series of bizarre events occur that cause him to question his own reality.

Unfriending – 9:15 PM

Directed by: The Butler Brothers (Brett and Jason)

Starring: Sean Meldrum, Simone Jetsun, Michael Pearson, Jenna Vittoria, Honor Spencer, Rachelle Lauzon, Golden Madison, Alex Stone

Synopsis: A dark comedy of bad manners about a group of friends that host a “life intervention” for the outcast in their group, in order to convince him to commit suicide and make the world a better place.

UT- Ferman Black Box Theater

US Dramatic Shorts Program – 5:00 PM

Full list of films here.

Documentary Shorts Program – 6:30 PM

Full List of films here.

Dramatic Shorts Program 2 – 8:15 PM

Full List of Films here.

UT- Charlene A Gordon Theater

Chevalier Gasperilla International Film Festival 2023

Helen Believe – 6:00 PM

Directed by: Dylan Mulick

Starring: Helen Maroulis

Synopsis: HELEN BELIEVE tracks Helen Maroulis, America’s first female Olympic gold medalist in freestyle wrestling (Rio ’16), from being the best wrestler in the world into a series of concussions, forced retirement and institutionalization, through her PTSD struggles and eventually into her comeback at the Tokyo Olympics and World Championships in Oslo.

Chevalier – 8:00 PM ***EDITORS PICK***

Directed by: Stephen Williams

Starring: Kelvin Harrison Jr., Samara Weaving, Lucy Boynton, Minnie Driver, Marton Csokas

Synopsis: Based on the true story of composer Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, the illegitimate son of an African slave and a French plantation owner, who rises to heights in French society as a composer before an ill-fated love affair.

March 25th, 2023

AMC Westmore

Highlighting University of Tampa Block Program – 12:30 PM

Full list of films here.

115 Grams – 12:45 PM

Directed by: Andrew Kiaroscuro

Starring: Evan Gamble, Geoffrey Kennedy, Eugenie Bondurant, Chloe Mondesir

SYNOPSIS: A broken, police officer is forced to seek council from a unorthodox therapist who solves his inner turmoil through an experimental hynopsis, sending him back in time to face his past.

Beyond the Beat Gasperilla International Film Festival 2023

Beyond the Beat – 2 PM

Directed by: Fletcher Barnes & Henry Davis

Starring: Okurut George, Geoffrey Oryema, Totem

After decades of civil war in Northern Uganda, three best friends start a creative arts festival to inspire hope for a better future.

Only Wave Film Festival Block – 3:00 PM

The war against portrait video begins. Witness the official launch of “Waves,” the new platform and app for filmmakers, revealed through a series of short films hosted by the Tampa-based tech start-up Only Wave.

Focus on Florida Shorts Program – 3:15 PM

Full list of Films here.

I Like Movies – 4:30 PM *** EDITORS PICK ***

Directed by: Chandler Levack

Starring: Isaiah Lehtinen, Romina D’Ugo, Krista Bridges, Percy Hynes White

SYNOPSIS: Lawrence, a socially inept 17-year-old cinephile, gets a job at a video store, where he forms a complicated friendship with his older female manager.

Exit – 5 PM

Directed by: Alison Jayne Wilson

SYNOPSIS – A searing documentary about three women who were looking for a way out of their extreme poverty and found themselves at the heart of human trafficking networks. It’s a story about what it means to be trafficked, about the damage it causes and the extreme difficulties faced by those women who try to get out for good and regain their dignity. EXIT is not a straight road and many don’t make it to the end.

Gringa – 6:30 PM

Directed by: Marny Eng & E.J. Foerster

Starring: Steve Zahn, Jess Gabor, Roselyn Sanchez, Jorge A. Jimenez and Judy Greer

SYNOPSIS: Unpopular Marge Bickford (Jess Gabor) is having a tough time navigating the minefield that is her high school. But Marge’s life is upended when her beloved mother (Judy Greer) unexpectedly passes away. Marge decides to hunt down her estranged father (Steve Zahn), a faded ex-soccer star living in rural Mexico as a tequila aficionado and coach to the local women’s futbol team. Somehow these two misfits learn to play the game of life…both hoping that a family can be put back together, even if all you have are the missing pieces.

Starring Jerry as Himself Gasperilla International Film Festival 2023

Starring Jerry as Himself – 6:45 PM – *** EDITORS PICK ***

Directed by: Law Chen

Starring: Jerry Hsu, Kathy Hsu, Joshua Hsu, Jonathan Hsu, Jesse Hsu, Fang Du, Nick Bailey, Haosong Yang

SYNOPSIS: A family documents how their immigrant father Jerry, a recently retired Florida man, was recruited by the Chinese police to be an undercover agent, only to discover a darker truth.


Monica – 8:30 PM

Directed by: Andrea Pallaoro

Starring: Trace Lysette, Patricia Clarkson, Emily Browning, Joshua Close and Adriana Barraza

SYNOPSIS: The intimate portrait of a woman who returns home to care for her dying mother. A delicate and nuanced story of a fractured family, the story explores universal themes of abandonment, aging, acceptance, and redemption.

Shaky Shivers Gasperilla International Film Festival 2023

Shaky Shivers – 8:45 PM – ***EDITORS PICK ***

Directed by: Sung Kang

Starring: VyVy Nguyen, Brooke Markham, Jimmy Bellinger

SYNOPSIS: Two young women find themselves at an abandoned camp in the woods with a book of magical spells surrounded by classic monsters in this comedic send up of ’80s horror films.

In Attendance: Sung Kang, Brooke Markham, James Bellinger, Brian Yang (Producer).

March 26th, 2023

AMC Westmore

A League of Extraordinary Makers: New Frontiers of the Makerverse – 12:00 PM

Directed by: Mayurica Biswas & Dipti Chadha

Starring: Anouk Wipprecht, Dale Dougherty, Kate Reed, Dr Gokul Krishnan, Dr Craig Ades

SYNOPSIS: The Maker movement is entering new frontiers and growing in places it has never been before – our bodies, hospitals and the natural world. This is where making heals, legacies come alive & humans merge with computers.

Bridge to the Other Side – 12:30 PM

Directed by: KT Curran

Starring: Valerie LeBlanc, Chase Garland, John Scalzi, Sai Piña, Blake Lafita, Brian Boyd, Julia Grandpre

SYNOPSIS: In a small, seaside town, a young woman, struggling with the untimely death of her firefighter husband, joins a mobile response team to help those in mental health crisis.

High School Competition – 1 PM

See Full Films List Here.

Second Chances – 1 PM

Directed by: Tamara Nemirovsky

Starring: Rev. Justin Larossa, Mindi Vaughan, Charlotte Hillmon, Shalandra Rijo, Kurien Mathew, Jerome Clemon, Jeannie Wood

SYNOPSIS: Four lives in different stages of recovery from addiction were put to the test when the world was upended by COVID-19.

College Shorts Program – 2:15 PM

See Full List Here.

47 Gasperilla International Film Festival 2023

47 – 2:30 PM

Directed by: Alireza Ataallahetabrizi / Ahmad Otraghchi

Starring: Ladan Mostofi, Shaghayegh Farahani, Hamidreza Azarang, Mohammad Reza Ghafari

SYNOPSIS: Its about a family with their problems in a sick society.

27 Minutes at Son Toy – 4:15 PM

Directed by: Ehren Parks

In 1970, a team of Green Berets and Air Commandos raided a POW compound outside Hanoi — and forever changed the face of military operations.


Directed by: Lynn Marvin Dingfelder & Larry Wiezycki

Starring: The Manteiga family, historians, politicians & many others

La Gaceta’s roots stem from a strong immigrant past… cigars… romance and rumors…the FBI…Castro and plenty of politics creating an incredible perspective into a century of hispanic history and culture in Tampa.

Tampa Theater

Blackberry – 6:30 PM *** EDITORS PICK ***

DIRECTOR: Matt Johnson

CAST: Jay Baruchel, Glenn Howerton, Matt Johnson, Carey Elwes, Michael Ironside, Saul Rubinek, Rich Sommer, SungWon Cho

SYNOPSIS: A company that toppled global giants before succumbing to the ruthlessly competitive forces of Silicon Valley. This is not a conventional tale of modern business failure by fraud and greed. The rise and fall of BlackBerry reveal the dangerous speed at which innovators race along the information superhighway.

Read our full review of Blackberry from SXSW here.

What are you most excited to see at the 2023 Gasparilla International Film Festival? Let us know in the comments below!

Please check out other Sunshine State Cineplex reviews here!

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