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Gasparilla International Film Festival includes local production

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The eighth annual Gasparilla International Film Festival will screen more than 100 movies and shorts, including “Chu and Blossom,” a coming-of-age comedy shot entirely in the Bay area.

GIFF will be held March 19 through 23 at Tampa Theatre, Cinébistro at Hyde Park, Muvico Centro Ybor 20, the Tampa Art Museum and Firehouse Cultural Center, according to a news release.

“Chu and Blossom,” a film that centers around the friendship of an awkwardly tall Korean foreign exchange student named Joon and a militant performance artist, Butch Blossom, will make its Florida premiere on the festival’s closing night.

Directed by Gavin Kelly and Charles Chu, it stars Chu (Joon) and Ryan O’Nan (Blossom), Annie Potts, Caitlin Stasey, Alan Cumming, Melanie Lynskey, Richard Kind and Mercedes Ruehl. It will screen at Muvico Centro Ybor 20.

The film was shot in Tampa, Lakeland, Plant City, Ocala and Pinellas County in summer 2012.

Moviegoers who enjoy seeing their hometown on the big screen will see the Whistle Stop Cafe in Plant City and its vintage phone booth and scenes along Main Street, as well as Bruton Memorial Library and the 1914 Plant City High School Community Building.

Opening the festival this year will be “There’s Always Woodstock,” about a struggling songwriter who discovers herself after spending the summer at her childhood home in Woodstock, N.Y.

The movie, which makes its world premiere at the festival, was directed by Rita Merson and stars Tampa native Brittany Snow, Katey Sagal, Ryan Guzman, Allison Miller and Jason Ritter. It will screen at Tampa Theatre.

Other movies screening at GIFF include:

“The Boys of Abu Ghraib,” about an American soldier in Iraq who develops a secret friendship with an Iraqi detainee. The movie, directed by Luke Morgan, stars Morgan, Sean Astin and Sara Paxton.

“Hank and Asha,” about an Indian student in Prague and a lonely New Yorker who correspond online through video letters. It was the Audience Award recipient at Slamdance 2013. It stars Mahira Kakkar and Andrew Pastides and was directed by James E. Huff.

“Enemy,” starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Melanie Laurent, is about a history professor who spots his double in a movie, tracks him down and their lives become irrevocably intertwined.

In addition to movies, the festival will include competitions in narrative, world showcase, documentary feature, focus on Florida and new visions.

There also will be Cuisine Short Films at the Tampa Museum of Art, which celebrates the culinary delights of cinema, a Women Filmmakers panel and a selection of documentaries and feature films that explores the film culture and landscape of Cuba.

For GIFF details and to view a complete list of films, go to www.GasparillaFilm Festival.com.

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