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Welcome to the first ever 

Tampa Film Festival

in beautiful sunny Florida!

We connect filmmakers with each other in a celebration of 

the best in independent cinema. We hope you join us

to enjoy the films and the sun and fun of Tampa!

Thursday, December 7th, 2023

Friday, December 8th, 2023

Saturday December 9th, 2023

FILMS OF THE 2023 Tampa Film Festival


Drama Life


Liang Yi yi, a 65-year-old actress who was tricked into selling her home for a film, accidentally realizes her dream when she finds out a way to get her money back.

Bo Yao has a Master degree in filmmaking and has watched more than 4000 movies. His past directing efforts include Mr. Bunny and the Undead Detective.

Directed by Bo Yao
Written by Xiaohan Luo




Detective Harder takes on her first case after surviving a bomb attack during a police training mission in Afghanistan. The remains of a girl are discovered in a moor near the small German town of Friedland. But Harder's investigation hits set backs.

Nominee - Berlinale (Berlin International Film Festival)

Official Selection - Cinefest Sudbury

Official Selection - The Oldenburg Film Festival


Mareike Wegener studied film at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne, documentary filmmaking at the New School in New York and philosophy at the European Graduate School in Switzerland.


Echo is her first feature and was nominated at the 72nd Berlinale. 

Written & Directed by Mareike Wegener


(The Moisture)


Teacher İshak is a teacher in Turkey struggling with an unruly student Yusuf as well as his own marital problems. But everything changes when one of his students goes missing.

Winner - Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Nominee - La Biennale di Venezia (Venice)


Turan Haste won Best Short for The Moisture at the 38th Santa Barbara Film Festival this year. The film was also nominated for Best Short at the 79th Venice Film Festival. 

Directed by Turan Haste
Written by Muhammed Furkan Dasbilek




On the day of her older sister's burial, a bereaved woman meets an amicable bartender who helps her find the courage to continue on. A story about sisterly love and the bonds that will always remain.

Stars Billy Magnussen (Game Night, Aladdin, 007 No Time to Die) and

Jayne Brook (Star Trek: Discovery, Brothers & Sisters, Boston Legal)

Directed by Shane Andries
Written by Meg Jenkins Locke

Born and raised in Houston, TX, Shane Andries graduated from The University of North Carolina School of the Arts. He won the Grand Prize at the Slamdance Screenplay Competition and is currently developing a live-action Aladdin spinoff for Disney Plus with Billy Magnussen who he runs a studio with and are producing several projects. Shane has performed worldwide as a Blue Man in BLUE MAN GROUP and has worked on projects such as HBO's Love and Death. He resides in Texas with his wife Bethany and their children.


The Nana


Set in the competitive world of chess, we follow Nana’s (Academy Award Winner Mercedes Ruehl) journey in a heartwarming feel-good comedy about reuniting her grandsons and supporting her retirement community. Also starring Nolan Gould (Modern Family), Morgan Fairchild, Tony Todd (Candyman), and Sierra McCormick


Robin Givens has acted in many projects including Boomerang and Riverdale and directed episodes of TV shows Nancy Drew, Dynasty, and others as well as six features.

Directed by Robin Givens
Written by Eric Ulloa




A young man who, solving his problems, finds himself in a string of events and people whose meanings of life form a kind of kaleidoscope.

Nominee - Tokyo International Film Festival

Official Selection - Toronto International Film Festival

Official Selection - Hong Kong International Film Festival


Emir Baigazin was born on July 19, 1984 in Alma-Ata, Kazakhskaya SSR, USSR now known as Almaty, Kazakhstan. Emir is a director and writer, known for Harmony LessonsThe River, and The Wounded Angel. He has won and been nominated at film festivals such as Tribeca, Berlin, Venice, Toronto, Tokyo, San Paulo, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington DC, and Seattle.

Written & Directed by Emir Baigazin


John Doe


A homeless man with no memory of his past or who he is, helps save the citizens of Los Angeles. Stars Martin Kove (Cobra Kai, Karate Kid), Crystal Allen (Star Trek: Enterprise) and Jeff Rector (American Horror Story)

Directed by Jeff Rector and Vahe Garabedian
Written by Jeff Rector

Jeff Rector is an award-winning writer, director, producer, actor, stand-up comedian and best-selling author. Jeff has over 150 Television & Film credits to date and is also the Festival Director for the Tarzana International Film Festival. He also supports many charitable organizations such as The American Heart Foundation, Ronald McDonald House, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, The Boys and Girls Club, and The Frontline Foundation which feeds the homeless on skid row.

Vahe is accredited for producing hit TV movies for HBO/Cinemax


Our Walls


Despite all odds, a group of inmates in Michigan join a Bachelor's degree program, in order to change their lives...and maybe even the system.

Directed by Nate Roels

Nate Roels is a director based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and the founder of Second Mile Video. Criminal justice reform is a special focus of his, which is the topic of two of his documentaries, Behind Our Walls (2023) and Renardo (2016).




When a closeted teen inherits her estranged father’s journal she discovers cryptic clues uncovering his secret life.


Now to fulfill her father’s dying wish she must blackmail an alcoholic hearse driver to race her cross-country to attempt a long shot rendezvous with her father's longtime friend Liza Minnelli.

Directed by Robert George Vaughn
Written by Allie Jennings

Vaughn has written and produced on more than 30 television and feature films for the likes of HBO, Hallmark, Showtime, and more. This Time marks his feature directorial debut and stars character actor Charles Martin Smith and emerging breakout talent Anwen O’Driscoll.



In the future, every U.S. citizen has the right to own one clone of themself. Clones have no rights and can only become citizens if emancipated by their original human.

After 30 years together, Alex suddenly elects to emancipate his clone, but his closest friends begin to question his true intentions. Starring Alex Breaux (Showtime's Waco: The Aftermath) and Kiowa Gordon (AMC's Dark Winds)

Official Selection - Jacksonville Film Festival

Official Selection - Flickers Rhode Island

Official Selection - Montclair Film Festival

Official Selection - DC International Film Festival


Ryan M. Kennedy is one of the few people to direct a feature and have it go to Netflix and Hulu and then go to film school! He has a Bachelors of Fine Arts in filmmaking from Montclair University and is currently working on his Masters at Georgetown

Written & Directed by Ryan M. Kennedy


Long Time
No Sleep


After a backpack hits a man at a bus stop. He must contend with a series of obstacles that befall him.

Winner - Mar del Plata International Film Festival

Official Selection -  Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival


Agustín Godoy was born in Buenos Aires. He's a graduate from the Universidad del Cine Buenos Aires and holds an Masters in Screenwriting from Goldsmiths University London. Godoy has directed several films and written multiple books. 

Written & Directed by Agustin Godoy


Losing Grip

Shane Wiskus is a top collegiate gymnast who dreams of going to the Olympics. On his most dangerous release move, Shane loses grip and falls onto the mats below. The crowd and commentators gasp. 

Shane is down, but is he out?

Official Selection - Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival


Steven is a documentary filmmaker from Minneapolis, MN. Has won several awards for his work and has a BFA in Film and Media Arts from the University of Tampa and now resides in Tampa running his own film production company, S Nye Films. Steven started practicing gymnastics at the age of two, and trained with Shane in middle school.

Directed by Steven Nye


8 Ball


Vini is a university student who is in a tough spot in his life. He lacks companionship, is severely introverted, and anxiety-ridden. When the state of his well-being is far from healthy he meets Emma, a bubbly, extroverted blind girl who he initially wants nothing to do with. A couple of coincidental meetings later, Vini’s quietness starts to crack, and he learns to get out of his shell.


Since he was 12 years old in Ghana, Adrian Marquet has been making films. He later moved to Toronto, Canada where during the pandemic he started a Tiktok channel that has amassed tens of millions of views.

Written & Directed by Adrien Marquet


Stolen Dough


Anthony Mongiello, a young Italian American Chef who, at the age of 18, invented and patented Stuffed Crust Pizza.


What follows are the real life events of a 1 Billion dollar lawsuit against Pizza Hut in the 1990s.

Winner - WorldFest-Houston


Filmmakers Stefano Da Fre & producing partner Laura Pellegrini won the Coup de Foudre at the Cannes Film Festival as well as the AFI award. Stolen Dough is made possible from a grant by the Russo Brothers (Avengers Infinity War, End Game, Captain America Winter Soldier and Civil War)

Directed by Stefano Da Fre




While interviewing for a job at Merriam-Webster, a young woman reflects on the relationship that defined the past year of her life


Kyra Arendt is a filmmaker out of Charlotte, NC. She directed the short Betta Sis about two brothers who team up to kill their super villain sister on her 13th birthday. She also cut her teeth on more shorts and music videos before making her first feature, Lexicon.

Written & Directed by Kyra Arendt


Warriors: The 
Bernie Mac Disease

Rhonda, takes us on a deeply personal journey through the life and legacy of her late husband and beloved comedian Bernie Mac and his hidden lifelong battle with sarcoidosis and the charity they started for it. Sarcoidosis is an illness where your body attacks its own organs. Patients from the US to Germany to Ghana describe their struggle with the disease.

Winner Best Short - Fort Myers International Film Festival


Nicholas Markart is a filmmaker and documentarian who has amassed over 2 million views across social media platforms. His television credits also include work on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.

Directed by Nicholas Markart


The Sound
of Your Voice


A romantic-thriller that centers around a linguistics student named Benjamin who is adrift in life, unsure of the direction to take his research. After stumbling upon a young woman named Ave and offering her a chance to be one of his test subjects, the two begin a nocturnal relationship.

Filmed in Lawrence, Kansas by Tampa filmmaker Nate Shapiro


Tampa-born Nathan Shapiro is an award-winning director/editor now based in Los Angeles, California. Some of his influences are Harmony Korine, Agnes Varda, Nicolas Roeg, and David Fincher.

Written & Directed by Nathan Shapiro


The Calm
Under The


After a surfing accident as a teenager leaves Cruise Bogle paralyzed from the neck down, he learns to express himself in his art. Will he return to the water?


Cam Brooks is a filmmaker from Delray Beach in Florida. He holds an Associate's degree in Graphic Design from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale.

Directed by Cam Brooks