The 10th annual Gasparilla International Film Festival will take place this year starting on March 30, 2016 and ending on April 1, 2016Frestival goers have the opportunity to attend films, receptions, family friendly events and media days at venues across the Tampa Bay area.


The Gasparilla International Film Festival is run by the 501(C)3 Nonprofit Organization, The Tampa Film Institute, Inc. They are a cultural arts institution that inspires, educates, and entertains Tampa Bay’s diverse population through an annual celebration of film, year-round events, community outreach, and social awareness initiatives that foster communication, generate economic impact, and provide support for the film industry of Tampa Bay and State of Florida.

In just 10 short years, GIFF has hosted thousands of filmmakers, talent, producers, and film buffs along with countless World Premieres, USA Premieres, and Florida Premiere film screenings that have brought and continues to bring the arts, education, and quality films to the Tampa Bay Area!


  • Film Categories at the Festival include Shorts, Narrative Feature, College Student Films, International, Focus on Florida, Documentary Feature and High School Film Showcase.
  • The Tampa Film Institute was founded in 2006 with the inaugural Gasparilla International Film Festival held in 2007
  • In just 10 short years, GIFF has hosted thousands of filmmakers, talent, producers, and film buffs along with countless World Premieres, USA Premieres, and Florida Premiere film screenings.
  • This year’s special tribute will celebrate the many accomplishments of Oscar, Grammy, Emmy, Golden Globe and Tony winner Rita Moreno. GIFF will honor Moreno with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Also, her film, “Remember Me” will screen at the festival.
  • In addition to the annual film festival, GIFF provides local residents with monthly screenings of the Global Lens series at the Tampa Museum of Art, and other special film and entertainment events year round.



“An event to be sure to be a part of. The Gasparilla International Film Festival is always growing with excitement and experience. Expectations should be high of this event. The films are always so great and the participants so gracious. Join in the festivities because, it’s a great time!”

“Gasparilla International Film Festival is one of Tampa’s premier events! Incredible films, parties, panels that draw some of the biggest crowds and movie stars to the Bay Area!”

“Gasparilla International Film Festival offers movie buffs the unique opportunity to ask questions to the directors and actors about their new movie, while taking pride in having them debut it here in Tampa!”




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Tampa Film Institute, Inc.
Gasparilla International Film Festival
1723 W Cypress St.
Tampa, FL 33606
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A Public Relations Plan for a Spring Break to Remember

Spring Break is one of those holidays that really encapsulates the college experience. Groups of friends road-tripping to questionable beaches and staying in condos belonging to unsuspecting elders that could kick you out at any minute…as Taylor Swift would say “its miserable and magical, oh yeah.” Over the years my friends and I have traveled all over the country, but ended up at those questionable beaches every single time.

Freshman year it was Destin, a quaint little beach town often overtaken by college students for weeks at a time. For some reason I convinced myself I liked Luke Bryan? Oh to be young and naive!


Sophomore year, came with a more low key trip to Vero Beach Trip. However, we still drove way to far to see sand and water! I’d also like to point our our outfits. Honestly, if giant fisher shirts are wrong, then I don’t want to be right!


Finally, Junior year we went a little wild and traveled 12 hours to South Padre Island in Texas. This “beach” has been described by many of my friends as “a modern day Chernobyl” or “purgatory”. Pictured below is me with two of my best friends. We may be smiling, but we were actually huddling together to shield ourself from a giant wind and sand storm that had overtaken the beach. I need to emphasize: this trip, while now a funny story, was NOT our best idea.


So here we are on our fourth and final Spring Break, and while I have some amazing memories and hilarious stories from trips in the past, I really want this trip to be the best of all time. My friends and I will be taking a seven-day cruise that stops in Cozumel, Costa Maya, Belize and Honduras. So, like any good public relations professional with a plan I will need to develop a goal, objectives and strategies and tactics to ensure our trip will be executed correctly.


To have the most enjoyable and relaxing Spring Break cruise possible with my best friends.

Objectives, Strategies and Tactics

Objective 1: To relax

Strategies and Tactics for Objective 1: After a pretty challenging semester this is the objective I am most looking forward to fulfilling. My strategic plan to do so will include getting a massage on the ship as well as lazy days in the sun reading one of the books I will be bringing with me.

Objective 2: To go on an adventure

Strategies and Tactics for Objective 2: This objective will be easy to accomplish because my group has booked an exciting excursion! We will be snorkeling with sting rays in nurse sharks in Honduras. As a Florida native who grew up doing “the sting ray shuffle” I am a little nervous to be in the water with these creatures. However, I will embrace my inner mermaid and have the adventure I am dreaming of.


Objective 3: To enjoy the company of my friends

Strategies and Tactics for Objective 3: This is one of the most important objectives of the trip. I have made some amazing friends over the last four years and after all we have been through we deserve to have a great trip together. We will accomplish this objective by having dinner together, telling jokes and dancing the night away!

** I would also like to give a shout out to my friends if they happen to read this blog: I love you all, thank you for being my friends. Without you and our spring break memories, blogs like this wouldn’t be possible. **

After our trip I will assess our public relations plan by answering a few questions. Am I tan? Did I finish a book? Did I get bit by a shark or stung by a sting ray? How many fights did I get in with my roommates? Hopefully the answers to those questions are yes, yes, no, no and zero…but you never know, when it comes to my group of friends, anything is possible!

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Auburn Students Reach Across the Aisle for Voter Registration Drive

As you walk down the Haley concourse, it is not unusual to see students from various political organizations handing out fliers, stickers or candy in order to get students involved in their clubs But, what is unusual, is a group of them all sitting together. For two weeks in February, the sisters of Omega Phi Alpha, the College Democrats, the College Republicans, the Young Americans for Liberty and the Student Government Association (SGA) all joined forces and worked together to help students register to vote. Their slogan, “No matter the Party, let your voice be heard”, seemed to resonate with students.


“I loved seeing everyone working together for such a great cause because it is imperative that college students vote in order for our generation’s opinion to be represented in our government,” said junior Meredith Smith. “I think students are sometimes apathetic about voting because they don’t understand the political process or feel that their vote doesn’t make a difference, so I was happy to see those students passionate about government work together to encourage others to participate and vote.”

The students sat together at a table every day and collected voter registration forms as well as absentee ballots. They even took the forms to the county registrar office. In the first two days of having the voter registration the students were able to register over 100 students.

“SGA tried to set up the dialogue between the different groups and handle the logistics. Omega Phi Alpha took the lead on volunteers, and the other political groups were able to get the word out and generate interest and other volunteers,” said Michael Bullington, Assistant Vice President of External Affairs for the Student Government Association. “SGA’s mission is to serve and promote the individual student, and to unify all that is Auburn. By bringing four distinct groups together to try to help students let their voices be heard, we hope to have adhered to that mission.”

Aside from just helping students register to vote, this drive worked as a way to showcase the different organizations on campus that students could be involved in. Students were able to have a dialogue with members of all of the political organizations on campus in order to find out where they fit in.

“My favorite part was the interaction among members of different political affiliations and ideologies at the volunteer table,” said Calvin Wilborn, President of the College Democrats. “It provided a great opportunity for students to socialize and talk who otherwise might not.”

Although this project was about helping students find their voice in the political process by registering them to vote, it proved to be so much more. This University thrives when students work together and share ideas and by working together the leadership of all of the organizations involved did just that. By these organizations coming together they showed what it truly means to be an Auburn student.



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Alabama 4-H Good Dog Project: Learning to be Dog’s Best Friend

Auburn, Ala.—The Alabama 4-H Good Dog Project, open to 4-H youth ages 9-19, is a statewide program where students can learn how to train a dog for agility and obedience, and ultimately compete in a dog show. This program, which focuses on the many aspects of dog companionship, covers aspects of pet care such as behaviors, health and nutrition, service project ideas, dog related careers and public speaking. Aside from just the benefits to their pets, youth develop skills in critical thinking, goal setting, time management, decision-making and problem solving.

“I got interested in the project because I wanted to learn the correct way to train my dog Paisley, not the wrong way,” said 10-year-old Emma Grace Broyles, a 4-H member in Henry county. Broyles is also excited to show off her and Paisley’s new skills at their upcoming dog show.

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Emma Grace Broyles with her dog, Paisley.

The Good Dog Project is being rolled out statewide this year, and is currently being piloted by a few counties. Certain counties, such as Henry and Houston, are using a local credentialed CPDT-KSA trainer. CPDT-KSA trainer stands for Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Skills Assessed. The program for Henry and Houston County currently holds two obedience-training workshops per week that lasts for eight weeks. At the end of the training period, there is a dog show to showcase the mastery of skills learned by the students and their dogs.

“Dogs are very popular companion animals and most of our 4-H families either have a dog or know someone who does. When youth enroll in 4-H, there is a section for them to indicate what they like to do as well as projects they are interested in. One of those projects is Companion Animals. As we followed up with these young people, we discovered an interest in working with dogs, especially obedience and agility training,” said Doug Summerford, a 4-H Foundation  regional agent.

“They [youth] acquire responsibility and leadership skills throughout the project. They learn about the selection, care and training of a dog. They gain knowledge of a selected dog and interact with that dog on a daily basis. And, they master the dog project via showmanship and presentations,”  Summerford said.

For youth that do not own a dog, there is still a way to participate. Aside from just borrowing a dog from a friend or neighbor,  there are local resources in every county that can help them locate a dog to train. Youth can contact veterinarians, animal shelters, CPDT-KSA trainers and pet stores. To get in contact with these organizations, youth can call the Alabama Cooperative Extension System office in their county.

For more information please contact your county Extension office.


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Single and Bitter on Valentine’s Day? Have No Fear, Public Relations is Here!

With Valentine’s Day coming up this weekend and graduation right around the corner, I have decided that I know a lot about public relations and a dismal amount about love. In my mind public relations has structure. When you face a public relations problem you state the problem, come up with a plan to fix it and then implement that plan. Although fixing a public relations problem takes hard work and creative problem solving, at the end of the day you can look at your work and see actual results. Now love, at least for me, is not quite that simple. In my mind it seems messy and complicated; and when a problem arises I just pretend like its not happening. I have discovered that this is a terrible strategy.

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I decided to take what I know about public relations and apply it to romance! It may sound insane, but my hope is to make solving a love problem as structured as finding a solution to a public relations problem.

Over the years I have learned that there is a four-step public relations process. These steps include assessing the problem, planning and programing a solution, putting your plan to action and then assessing your overall progress. This organized process has been used by PR professionals for decades and has lead to many successful public relations campaigns. So today, my love life is the public relations nightmare and the trusty public relations process is here to fix it.

So for once, thanks to public relations, I will come up with a structured plan on how to survive this Valentine’s Day as a content single woman.

Assess the Problem: What is happening now?
Let me start by saying that I have a myriad of relationship problems, but I don’t feel like my public relations class blog is the place to air my dirty laundry. So instead of focusing on all of my romantic failures, I will be focusing on the problem I have faced on every Valentine’s Day for my entire life: being single. How can I be content being single on a day where love is being shoved in my face? So here is my problem: why is this the only day of the year that I care about not having a boyfriend?

Planning and Programing: What should we do, say or change?
For me, Valentine’s Day is a total drag. I usually find myself yelling something like “Do you really think that chocolate heart and Yankee Candle he gave you is going to fix his intimacy problems Karen?” Its not that I’m not happy for all my friends with significant others, but do they really need an entire day to love each other? Shouldn’t every day be Valentine’s Day? So to counteract these negative feelings my plan will be to create a Galentine’s Day event for myself and my other single friends.

Taking Action and Communicating.
I will implement my Galentine’s Day plan by booking a venue to celebrate Galantines Day. I will also buy decorations, organize games and come up with fun things to talk about to distract my guests from any negative thoughts about their relationship status.

Assessment: How did we do?
Like any good public relations plan, my Galentine’s Day event will have to be assessed after it is complete. To do so I will check up with friends after the event in order to get feedback and make changes for next years event. And if you’re thinking, well what if you aren’t single next Valentine’s Day….I will be.

By following this public relations plan to create the perfectly distracting Galentine’s Day, being single on Valentine’s Day should never be a drag again!


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Helping Hands Filling Empty Bowls

For the third year in a row the Auburn Parks and Recreation’s Dean Road Ceramics Studio and Opelika Parks and Recreation’s Denson Drive Recreation Center will host the Empty Bowls event to benefit the Food Bank of East Alabama. The event will take place on Saturday, Feb. 13 from 10 a.m. – 2 the Denson Drive Recreation Studio in Opelika.A minimum donation of $10 per person entitles each ticket holder to their choice of a handmade bowl created by studio potters. They can then fill that bowl with soup and bread.

“The bowl is a take home reminder about food insecurities in your area. We don’t always think about how many people go to bed each night hungry so we hope Empty Bowls will help raise that awareness” said Cari Cleckler, art education specialist at Dean Road Ceramics Studio and Co-Host of Empty Bowls.DSC_0136

One of this year’s coordinators, Sherie Spain, pottery director at the Opelika Ceramics Studio, has been working on the event for over a year. She has arranged food donations from Panera Bread, Niffers and Jim Bobs; as well as volunteers servers from the Master Gardeners.

Aside from just corporate sponsors, local potters from Auburn and Opelika volunteer to make this event possible.

“All of the potters donate their time, and the clay and the glazes. Everything is donated by the potters. Every penny goes to the Food Bank, we do not deduct anything for expenses” Spain said.

This year’s event is a casual lunch where patrons can come and go as they please. The event will showcase the works of potters from both the Dean Road and Opelika ceramics studios. Aside from just lunch, patrons will be able to enjoy entertainment such as watching throwing demonstrations, hand building, sculpting and a children’s activity area. In addition, live music will be provided by harpist, Cindy Harris and local funk band, The Good Doctor.

Empty bowls is a grassroots effort across the nation to end hunger. To participate in an Empty Bowls Fundraising event you have to follow three simple rules. You must use handmade bowls, all proceeds have to go to a local food organization and there has to be an educational component about hunger in your area.


“I like organizations spreading the message of Empty Bowls,” Cleckler said. “To play into the education aspect, we are able to tailor a lot of our classes around Empty Bowls. For example, this summer we will offer an opportunity for kids to come in and help ‘Mold out Hunger’, that is the name of the class, where kids will get to make six bowls in which they keep three and donate three to next year’s Empty Bowls. That’s what I love the most, the coordination aspect of talking to so many different people about such a wonderful cause.”

For more information regarding the event or ticket sales, please contact Cari Cleckler, Art Education Specialist at or Sherie Spain, pottery director at 334-705-5558.

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