In year lucky number seven, Gasparilla International Film Festival is looking to separate itself from the 2nd-tier film fest pack and join the elite.
On March 19th, GIFF’s opening night curtain jerker is Empire State. Directed by Dito Montiel (Fighting, The Son of No One) and produced by Randall Emmett (End of Watch), the crime drama features Dwayne Johnson (a.k.a. The Rock), Liam Hemsworth, Emma Roberts, Jerry Ferrara, and Nikki Reed. Montiel, Emmett, and Ferrara are confirmed to attend the flick’s world premiere while the rest of the aforementioned cast has been invited to join the six-day festival that takes place in Tampa, Florida. Emmett, from Miami, will receive the fest’s Florida Producer of the Year honors.
Speaking of honors, actor Thomas Jane (The Punisher, HBO’s Hung) will be presented with the fest’s annual Career Achievement Award on Saturday the 23rd. Marking the 10th anniversary of Marvel’s feature length adaptation of The Punisher comic series, which was shot in Tampa Bay, Jane will take part in an intimate conversation prior to the special screening of the film. Jane played the cult favorite vigilante, Frank Castle; who violently goes to any means necessary to take down the suave yet ruthless crime boss, Howard Saint (John Travolta).
Other notable screenings include Olympus Has Fallen starring Gerard Butler and Morgan Freeman, and Telluride festival darling The Iceman, which boasts a stellar roster that includes Michael Shannon, Chris Evans, Ray Liotta, Stephen Dorff, Winona Ryder, David Schwimmer, James Franco and Ryan O’Nan.
Gasparilla International Film Festival runs from March 19th – 24th.