Though entertainment fads come and go, movie theaters remain, tempting audiences with fantastical stories new and old. The film buffs behind the Tampa Pitcher Show understand this craving for narrative connection, filling their movie hall and bar space?s calendar with first-run films, alternative events, and live music that helped them take home the prize for Best Kept Secret in Creative Loafing's Best of the Bay 2011 Reader?s Poll. Within the theater, projectors hum to life with current hits and cult classics every night; weekends welcome special happenings that include independent film and live stage shows, shadow-casts, art bazaars, and comedy shows. The Take 2 Lounge dispenses a sprawling menu of bar fare, including burgers, pizzas, and beers such as Magic Hat #9, Southern Tier, and Florida Avenue Ale flowing from 13 tap lines.
Cinema 6 projects second-run films onto first-rate silver screens. Bring some friends and brandish your four movie tickets to see a box-office hit weeks after its premiere—the exact time when it has aged to its optimal ripeness, like a fine wine or a bag of Funyuns. As you watch, sip on two cool, carbonated beverages and chomp on the fluffy explosions of a large popcorn while taking in the scene-stealing performance of a favorite actor for the first, second, or eighth time. Although not included in the deal, Cinema 6 presents in-theater dining tables and a full menu of nonfried fare, including pizza, french fries, and mozzarella sticks, for those with more massive movie munchies. Recent titles have included Little Fockers and Tangled, but Groupon buyers should go online to check out what films are making their re-debut next.
Tavares is home to one of cinema's longest-enduring performers. In 1964, this star debuted alongside Robert Redford in This Property Is Condemned, and more and more films would follow that initial role, including True Grit and Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? An impressive resume for any actor, but even more so considering this star is over 100 years old. The Orange Blossom Cannonball, appropriately nicknamed "America's movie train," has hurtled down the tracks in classic westerns and other films for half a century, though its roots stretch back much further. The 1907 steam locomotive pulls vintage coaches and a caboose, complete with a potbelly stove made in 1873.
When not sharing screen time with George Clooney or his five identical siblings, the train carries the general public along the banks of Lake Dora. Hours aboard the locomotive seemed ripped from another time?conductors and staff don period costumes, and they spin tales of the train's past as well as the history of the area.
Channelside Cinemas immerses movie lovers in a constantly changing selection of box-office smashes that play on classic projection screens, four Sony 4K digital 3-D screens, and a 70-foot digital high-definition 3-D screen. Concession stands dole out savory treats such as Westshore cheesesteaks and pizza, as well as free refills on popcorn and soda, which guests can enjoy inside theaters or while sitting in the plush couches that line the lobby. The sit-down Dolce Vita Dinner Lounge, outfitted with a full bar, couches, and booths, entrances eyes with feature films on 30-foot indoor and outdoor screens as waitresses serve up gourmet Italian feasts during dinner-and-a-movie screenings, private parties, and fundraisers. Channelside Cinemas offers $0.50 parking and takes reservations up to five months in advance for long-awaited blockbusters or unveilings of highly anticipated new Skittles flavors.
The India International Film Festival (IFF) of Tampa Bay selects a small sampling of more than 1,000 films produced in India each year to demonstrate that the most prolific film industry in the world is more than just masala musicals. Like the culture from which they spring, the films speak in a lush polyglossia of English, Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Nepali, Kashmiri—but the common language of humanity unites them all, whether the subject is Down syndrome, terrorism, patriotism, or simply losing yourself to spiritual bliss. Opening-night ceremonies and filmmaker Q&As round out the schedule of events, offering a more immersive movie experience than watching the Screen Actors Guild Awards in 3-D.
As a part of its continuing mission to promote the cultural and economic impacts of independent filmmaking, the not-for-profit St. Petersburg–Clearwater Film Society hosts the annual Sunscreen Film Festival. Each day of the four-day festival packs in more than 12 hours of short- and feature-film screenings, as well as workshops on the filmmaking process, such as "Tips for Creating a Talking Picture." Local documentarians and producers of comedic shorts, genre pieces, or feature-length films showcase their work for eager audiences and industry professionals. Myriad workshops cover aspects of screenwriting and acting as well as promotional arts such as how to land an agent or how to use social media as an advertising and networking tool. Many nights also feature concerts and after parties, allowing auteurs, musicians, and audience members to mingle.