March marked the 5th celebration of the Gasparilla International Film Festival (GIFF). First launched in the summer of 2006, GIFF has grown into an annual entertaining and educational event in the Tampa Bay area. As the Director of Events for the Gasparilla Film Festival, we had one option—Go big or go home! Well, we did just that!
Opening night of GIFF was held on March 24th at the Tampa Theatre. We kicked off the night with many of our amazing VIPs, staff, and of course our sponsors! Guests had plenty of photo ops on the red carpet, but it was the famous faces of Tom Berenger and M. Emmet Walsh who made the evening so memorable.
Opening night was a huge success! Some of our favorite restaurants came out to provide samples… and what’s good food without a drink in hand?! Thanks to Stella Artois, Jana Water, and Barefoot Wine & Bubbly. The evening continued with a dance performance by Jumpin Bumpin, as well as the acceptance of M. Emmet Walsh receiving his Lifetime Achievement award.
The lights dimmed and all eyes were on the big screen, where we showed “The Music Never Stooped.” Following the movie, we took the after party to FlyBar. This was only the beginning of our insane but AWESOME film festival!
The GIFF Closing Night party was held on March 27th in the historic Kress building in downtown Tampa. Despite the lack of electricity, water, and decaying floors and walls, the building never looked more alive! The Kress has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1983… so it is only appropriate that the theme of the night was a “burlesque-circus.” The ingredients to this crazy night—a little bit racy, a touch freaky, and a WHOLE lot of fun!
Finding fresh, new ways to put on events is what we do at Elan! We brought in water, ice, restrooms, and a generator for the Closing Night party. We even had new doors installed at the Kress Building to comply with fire codes. Our friends at MMD Events created performance cubes that acted as a stage for the edgy but classy Le Teaze dancers, and burlesque performers. As if that weren’t enough, we took the craziness outside to include a fire-breathing stilt walker, contortionist, several flash mob performances, Taco Bus, beer, and bands. As the night went on, our crowd only got rowdier (with a little help from our sponsors, Stella Artois, Red Bull, Ciroc Vodka, and Connelly Cocktails! An additional thanks to Kevin from Good Food Catering for providing the “Haute” Dog and Popcorn Martini stations.
The former dusty ground at the Kress Building became a lively dance floor, and as far as décor goes, it is an understatement to say that we decked this place out! Live models filled the window frames in custom-couture corsets designed by Russian Roulette. DJ Fresh performed center-stage atop a hand-crafted bar in the center of the room. Cocktail tables were garnished with circus colored linens, and an array of seating, which included church pews, select chairs, and vintage couches that acted as lounges from MMD Events Vintage and Found Objects Collection. Mosaics by Dawn Hunt added a vibrant touch to the room, along with special effect lighting.
Our 2011 GIFF Closing Night Party was one to remember! I should probably mention that were published: http://www.bizbash.com/historic_tampa_building_hosts_gasparilla_film_festival_party_despite_lack_of_electricity_water/orlando/story/20292
Congrats to Tom Berenger for receiving the Career Achievement Award and a big thanks to all of our guests for coming out to support the Film Festival. To our devoted volunteers—we love you!
Décor/Lighting: MMD Events
Art: Dawn Hunt
Linens: Connie Duglin Linens
Chairs/Cocktail Tables: Signature Event Rentals
Bartenders: U Dream Events
Atmosphere Entertainment: Jumpin Bumpin
Burlesque Dancers: Le Teaze
Catering Desserts: Micro Sweets
DJ: DJ Fresh
Video: CineZen USA
Official Photography: K&K Photography
Hair/Makeup: Athenia Montague
Corsets: Russian Roulette
Restroom: Royal Restrooms