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Best Places For Film Buffs In Tampa Bay

Dinner and a movie is a great combination and a good plan for date night. If you don't have a date, Tampa offers exciting independent film festivals and places to just hang out with friends and catch a flick. Looking for some time outdoors? Watch a free movie on the beach. Tampa abounds with movie buff opportunities. Check out these five throughout the area to get your fix.
Left: (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)Right: (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

Tampa Theatre

711 N Franklin St
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 274-8981

Tampa Theatre, a historic movie palace built in 1926, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Most of the theater's programming consists of contemporary, independent and classic films. However, there are also concerts, community events, corporate events, tours and educational programs for Hillsborough county schools with the Arts Council of Hillsborough County located in the building. Get your child involved in big-screen admiration with the one-week Tampa Theatre Film Camp that provides an opportunity for young filmmakers to participate in the creative process of filmmaking. Tampa Theatre was threatened to be torn down in the 1970s with the opening of multiplexes and the rise of the suburbs. Luckily, the historic preservation movement kept it alive and it was rescued from demolition in 1978. Come out for an informative tour to experience the grandeur firsthand.


Global Lens 2012
Tampa Museum of Art

120 W Gasparilla Plaza
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 274-8130

Gasparilla International Film Festival presents the critically-acclaimed Global Lens Series of International Films the second Friday of every month. These films are screened at the Tampa Museum of Art. Admission fee is $25 for students and $50 to $1500 for memberships. The next event coming up is Pegasus (Pegase) - Morocco, 2012. This event will take place on Friday, August 10. Call to get your tickets immediately.

Related: Most Iconic Works Of Art In Tampa Bay

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Gasparilla International Film Festival
701 S Howard Ave #106-432
Tampa, FL 33606
(813) 514-9962

GIFF just completed its 6th annual film festival, where it screened over 100 films in three venues and even provided a drive-in movie. This year, GIFF honored Chazz Palminteri with a Career Achievement Award, Keith David with a Life Achievement Award and honored Ryan O'Nan with the coveted Rising Star Award. Ryan O'Nan is working to bring his next production to Tampa Bay this summer. GIFF had over 10,000 attendees and more talent attended the festival than ever before. GIFF has become a can't-miss event in Tampa Bay. The organization is actively seeking key volunteers for the next big event, so visit Gasparilla International Film Festival on Facebook and sign up on the website to get involved.


Independents' Film Festival
Wyndham Tampa Westshore
700 N Westshore Blvd
Tampa, FL 33609
(813) 254-2253

The Independents' Film Festival (IFF) is an annual project of the Tampa Bay Arts & Education Network (TBAE). The 2012 IFF will be held at the Wyndham Tampa Westshore hotel on September 6 through 9, 2012. TBAE also programs short films and animations from past IFFs at the monthly Flicks and Food Trucks events at the Grand Central at Kennedy in the Channelside district. TBAE Network's annual Independents' Film Festival has been supporting the local film industry and educating audiences on the joys of indie films for the past 18 years. The IFF is famous for its hospitality and focus on the filmmaker's personal perspective. The 2012 festival plans four days of screenings, educational seminars, parties and non-stop networking. The festival presents a quality program of shorts, animations, documentaries and features from local, national and international student and independent filmmakers. The Junior IFF selects high-quality work from students in grades K-12 and encourages the careers of high schoolers now in graduate programs at prestigious film schools all over the US.

(credit: Sarah Dees)

Sunsets at Pier 60
1 Causeway Blvd
Clearwater, FL 33767
(727) 449-1036

Sunsets at Pier 60 is constantly hosting live, free family events with artisans, crafters, street performers and musical entertainment. Every Friday and Saturday night at sunset, there are free movies on the beach. Bring a chair, blanket and cooler. Snacks are available at the snack bar.


The Historic Capitol Theatre
405 Cleveland St
Clearwater, FL 33755
(727) 791-7400

The Capitol Theatre presents a Classic Film Series in July and August. Constructed and established in 1921, this is one of the oldest operating theatres in the state of Florida, built in the style of a classic Hollywood theater. Once a vaudeville theater and movie house, it showcased many of the best entertainers in the world. The City of Clearwater and Ruth Eckerd Hall have come together to revamp and ingest life into the historic theatre. This project is part of the plan to enliven downtown Clearwater. When completed, the theatre will become another venue available to present all kinds of live entertainment.

(credit: The Buzz/Facebook)

The Buzz
710 Harbour Post Drive
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 224-9214

Paul Guzzo and his wife Amy bring some interesting films to The Buzz coffeeshop in the heart of Tampa's beautiful Harbour Island. Buzz offers free documentary films in the summer for diners' enjoyment. There is an expansive selection of microbrew beers and a carefully-constructed wine list from around the world to keep you hydrated throughout the film. Also, espresso drinks and freshly-brewed coffee are on hand to keep you alert for the screening process.

Related: Best Budget Culture Events In Tampa

Head to CBS Tampa's Best Of pages for more local tips on family fun, shopping, nightlife, food, culture and more!

Sarah Dees is an accomplished artist, writer, educator, and entrepreneur, with over twenty-five years of professional experience. Sarah attended Eckerd College for two years, and graduated with a BFA from Parsons School of Design in New York City. She is a freelance writer in Tampa Bay. Her work can be found at

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