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Tampa Bay model Lisa Marie Lowrey photographed by Tampa Bay photographer C. A. Passinault during a photography session for Tampa Bay modeling resource site Independent Modeling in 2003. Photography by Aurora PhotoArts photography and design Tampa Bay - Tampa Bay Film Festival PictureTampa actress and model Sarah Bray photographed poolside in Tampa Palms (New Tampa) by Tampa Bay photographer C. A. Passinault in 2002. Photography by Aurora PhotoArts photography and design Tampa Bay A Dancer in a Tampa Bay event photographed by Tampa Bay photographer C. A. Passinault. Photography by Aurora PhotoArts photography and design Tampa Bay - Tampa Bay Film Festival PictureTampa filmmaker Chris Woods headshot by Tampa headshot photographer C. A. Passinault, Aurora PhotoArts Tampa Photography and Design.Tampa Bay model, dancer, and choreographer Melissa Maxim photographed with Lance, a nightclub dancer, in a Ybor City nightclub by Tampa Bay photographer C. A. Passinault in 2002. Photography by Aurora PhotoArts photography and design Tampa Bay Tampa model and actress Roxanne Kowalska (right) and singer Michelle pose for a pre-production shoot of the short indie film “The Pledge”, in a preproduction photography session with the original cast by C. A. Passinault. Both Roxanne Kowalska and “Lowie” Laura Narvaez (not pictured) were scouted for the film at a Passinault audition. Casting crew for Passinault Entertainment Group conducting auditions for the Reverence feature film.Tampa audition photograph of actresses reading roles from the Reverence feature indie film project by Dream Nine Studios.Two actresses read during an audition for the Reverence feature film, a Passinault indie film.Tampa actress and model Harmony Layne poses for pictures to be used in the Tampa indie film, The Quiet Place. Photograph by Tampa photographer C. A. Passinault, Aurora PhotoArts Tampa photography and design.Tampa singer, model, actress, television host, pageant title holder, and entertainer Ann Poonkasem serenades an audience near Brandon, Florida, in the Tampa Bay area. Photograph taken by Tampa photographer C. A. Passinault, who was sitting in the front row judging the beauty pageant with a camera and a long, 300 MM lense.Tampa actor Rob Mussell headshot by Tampa headshot photographer C. A. Passinault. Tampa model and actress Sarah Bray during a modeling shoot with Tampa modeling portfolio photographer C. A. Passinault in Riverview, Florida, in the Tampa Bay area.Scream At The Wall Cameraman at the Horror and Hotties film festival in Tampa, Florida.


Where Tampa filmmakers unite. News. Opinions. Knowledge. Power.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009 - 8:00 AM - Tampa Indie Film Log for Filmmaker C. A. Passinault

Tampa Film Updates

It’s been a week since I last posted on the Tampa Film Blog, and it feels like forever. Yes, a lot has been going on, This is one of the best Tampa film DVD covers that I have ever seen. After seeing this, I really want to buy the Nightmare Collection 2 when it is released later this year. Rick Danford and his Enigma Films are doing some impressive work now!and it seems that news only a week old seems like it was from last year.
A lot of interesting things are going on right now, and these are interesting times. I feel that what’s happening now in the Tampa indie film scene is history in the making, and it is the beginning of a new era in Tampa filmmaking; a new era which should see the formation of the first professional Tampa indie film community. I predict that we should have our first Tampa film community up and running in the next two years, and in the next five years, the Tampa indie film scene will evolve and become a force to respect, and to contend with.
So, what’s going on? I’m glad that you are wondering.

1. Tampa Film History
I’ve been talking to a lot of people in the Tampa indie film scene the past few weeks, and have been obtaining their detailed accounts on the history of the Tampa indie film scene. I could now write a book on it, and what a book it would be. Full of plot twists and drama, the book would be a big one.
It seems that the Tampa indie film scene is still quite young. It’s still learning to walk, and has just stopped teething. As recently as nine years ago, many of the players in the Tampa indie film scene were not even making films. The genesis of the modern Tampa indie film scene, as far as I can tell, started in 2001 with a few filmmakers, some of them dreaming big. The one person that I can attribute to really getting things rolling would be Rick Danford, who was one of the founders of Renegade Films. Renegade Films were working on their feature film, Web Of Darkness, and were among the first to do a series of ambitious short films (Bloody Mary, The Pledge- speaking of which, I really need to convince Rick to get those films online so that I can add them to the online film festival). It can be said that the pioneers take all of the arrows, and Rick and his filmmaking company were definitely the pioneers of that day.
Another great footnote about Rick and Renegade Films were their film festivals. The Saints and Sinners film festival series is still referred to with much reverence, and these first major Tampa film festivals were fun and successful. Although Saints and Sinners would have served as an excellent marketing platform for the indie film projects of the organizers (and I believe that was their intention), it never really panned out because Renegade Films did not do a lot of films. In those days, filmmaking was very, very expensive, even with the new-at-the time advent of digital filmmaking. I know, because in 2001, I tried to get my own feature film made, a feature film titled Reverence, and the price tag for my two hour feature would have clocked in at over $35,000.00. Web Of Darkness reportedly clocked in at $40,000.00, and another feature film done back then, Pheremone Film’s Unearthed (not to be confused with Unearthed Films), cost over $300,000.00. Andy Lalino did his brilliant film, Filthy, back then on film stock, and not on DV, but I don’t have any numbers regarding how much he spent on it.
Well, Unearthed was released, but has sat for years without the distribution which is richly deserves, Web Of Darkness is finally going to see release this year, and my film was never made because two production companies which I partnered with did not follow through.
In retrospect, however, I am glad that my original Reverence feature film fell through. If made, it would have been a decent film, but I would be right there with the filmmakers behind Unearthed, and don’t believe that I would have sold Reverence because it would have been lost in the crowd of other films out at the time.
Reverence was originally titled Bloody Mary, and the initial script was a lot different in early 2001.  I learned that Danford's Renegade Films was planning a short film called Bloody Mary soon after, however (This was before I started fighting with Danford), and changed the script and the title to Reverence. I love my tag line, however! Oh, yes, and note the my company, Dream Nine Studios, was originally known as "Tapestry Studios".Those were days of expensive lessons, and my, how filmmaking has changed since then. My concepts of filmmakers are a lot different than the “me too” business model that I had back in the day.
Renegade Films ceased to exist in 2004, and many of their huge feature film projects went with it. So did the successful Saints and Sinners film festivals. Rick went on to form Enigma Films, which is still doing well, and the Saints and Sinners film festivals inspired other film festivals, such as The Tampa Film Review, which started in 2004.
My wish list? First, a release copy of Web Of Darkness, which I will be getting as soon as it’s out. More of a wish? Rick and his Enigma Films picking up the Renegade Films feature film Death Island and producing that film. My friend, Tampa actress and model Roxanne Kowalska (the lead in The Pledge) had sat in during some read-through’s of the Death Island script, and she reported that it was really good.
At any rate, the cost of filmmaking has come down a lot since the good old days. You can now put together a camera, editing, and shooting rig for feature films such as Reverence, which would have cost $35,000.00, and do the job today at $3,500.00. Today, I could pull off the original Reverence film for under $3,000.00, although I would not want to because the shooting and editing schedule would be grueling for a mediocre script. The cast of that film was also way too large, with sixteen main characters, and the logistics would be a pain, too. In the end, I’d have a two hour feature film which would take half a year to shoot and edit, and it probably wouldn’t sell after all that work.
This said, I do have a new Reverence script in the works, which everyone loves. The new Reverence film is for a 30 minute short film, and logistically, it is 15% of the work of the original. The story is better, the characters are more developed, and it’s far easier to pull off. The new Reverence, which would be shot at 24P and at HD resolutions of 1080p (far better than the 480p standard resolution of the original), would be everything that the original should have been. It can also be shot in a weekend or two, and editing would only take a month.
I have some other film projects in the works, too, but I can’t say anything about them- yet.
Hey, going back to history, the history of the Tampa indie film scene is very important, and one of the things that I intend to do is to document it. In my opinion, it’s just getting started, and in the next few years, many good things are going to happen. Among those things will be the best indie films that this market has ever seen.
Don’t look at me, either. I’ll be there with the best, making good films and helping to revolutionize indie filmmaking. I won’t be the only one, however. Lately, I’ve seen some really impressive work coming out of the Tampa indie film scene. If I were to sit back and simply do nothing, I believe that the Tampa film scene will progress as it should ( I will be one of the major players, however). I’ve seen some really good film projects lately, with Rick Danford and his Enigma Films turning out excellent films such as Alarum. Chris Woods just released Spaventare, which is another classic short film. Joe Davison is working on Experiment 7, which has some interesting art direction and should be worth keeping an eye on (although I am not as sure about the film itself, yet, as the jury is still out over Joe as a director, and as a writer). Oh, and lets not forget about the top Tampa filmmakers.
Who are they? Andy Lalino and Andrew Allen of The Film Ranch.The first Reverence concept poster, shot in March 2001 with two of my models portraying the characters. Ironically, this would still work today with the new Reverence short film script!
They just finished an ambitious feature film titled Brain Jacked, and then proceed to do another, even more ambitious film after that one. Their latest film utilizes some of the most advanced indie filmmaking gear available, and what they are doing isn’t technically an indie film. It’s a full-on motion picture. They are using cutting-edge Red HD cameras and sophisticated RAID drives for their footage storage (I hear that those Red’s put out footage which use up around 50 Gigs per minute, which means that a minute of Red footage could fill a Blu Ray HD-DVD! My current computer could store about three minutes of Red footage if I were to format the hard drive and wipe the existing data, and would crash magnificently if I attempted to use Premier to edit it). To put it in perspective, I’m working on some revolutionary indie film concepts, but I don’t plan on utilizing that level of technology for at least five years (and, by then, the bar will be much higher). Oh, and that new computer core that I am just now building could not handle their film, either, as it will only start out with four Terrabytes worth of hard drive space. Close, but no cigar.
Then again, I don’t plan on attempting any feature-length films for a few years, so it works for me. The Film Ranch is currently making the most impressive Tampa films, and if Andy Lalino’s brilliant classic film Filthy is anything to go by, the ones to watch and be inspired by.
Back at the beginning of 2007, at his Horror and Hotties film festival, I saw Andy Lalino’s film Filthy, and was blown away by it. At that point, Andy had not done any films since he did Filthy, and I asked him when he would return to making films. Since then, he has done two films which could turn out to be the best ever done in the Tampa indie film scene. If I only knew what he was planning back then. In retrospect, however, his awesome film festival should have been a sign for things to come, That’s right, Andy Lalino and his affiliates also hold the title for the best Tampa film festivals.
Well, we all have something to shoot for, now, don’t we. A goal.
Ah, more numbers? Glad that you asked. Reverence: then and now.

Reverence Feature Film 2001 / 2003
Principle Cast: 16
TRT 2:00 hours +
Camera: Standard Definition 480p Canon XL-1 @ 30P and at a normal 3:4 aspect ratio (would have had a flat “shot on video” look).
Footage Storage Requirements: 1 Terrabyte (1,000 Gigs)
Shooting: 1 month
Editing: 6 months
Investment: $35,000.00

Reverence Short Film 2009
Principle Cast: 4
TRT 30 minutes (75% less than original, with new story and characters)
Camera: High Definition 1080p Canon HF100 @ 24P and shot at a ratio of 16:9 (cinematic widescreen)
Footage Storage Requirements: .07 Terrabyte (70 Gigs)
Shooting: .25 month (1 week)
Editing: 1 month
Investment: $2,000.00

As you can see, technology has really dropped the major cost hurdles for doing indie films. We all must keep in mind, however, that filmmaking gear are only tools for getting a job done. You have to know how to use those tools. Also, filmmaking is the ability to tell a story. If you can’t tell a story, or don’t have a good script and good actors, all the tools in the world won’t help you do it. Keep this in mind.

2. The Tampa Film Network
This is coming along nicely, too. I talked to organizer Dan Brienza for several hours lately, and he’s on the level. I’m looking forward to seeing the Tampa Film Network grow. I passed the word around that I thought that the Tampa Film Network was a good thing, and since then a lot of the hold-outs, including myself, signed up. You should, too.

3. Tampa Bay Film Youtube Channel
I put together a Youtube channel for Tampa Bay Film in the last week. I uploaded some recent video footage that I shot. It is unedited, raw video, but it is entertaining. Chris Woods hates it. I think that the videos are amusing. Why dump all the raw video footage on there? Well, I intend to store all of the Tampa Bay Film edited interviews and video reviews on there, and I want people to see this material in the embedded, relevant sections on Tampa Bay Film. If I flood the Youtube channel with video blogs and other footage files, it will become very hard to find the polished video files in the clutter. This will inspire people to go to the Tampa Bay Film web site to see the videos instead of fishing in the Youtube archive.
Oh, and don’t bother asking me to put some of that footage up on my online film festival. It’s not going to happen. They are not indie films, and are not supposed to be. Those files are simply me playing around with DV cameras, and it’s more fun than serious. They may, however, hold a few clues for what is to come, and what I am working on, so they may be worth checking out.
Two of those video footage files are basically much like tagging along with me on my routine. You’ll learn the proper way to assemble a Subway Sandwich, and how I buy DVD’s at Blockbuster.

This Reverence cover poster was shot a year later with the actual actors who were cast. A lot of progress was made that year. The main cover image for the new Reverence short film is already planned out, but I can't shoot it until I am filming with the actors on set.4. Tampa Film Festivals
I have four Tampa film festival properties in the works. I have a Tampa film event in the works which is not a film festival. I also have at least two more Tampa indie film support web sites planned, which will integrate with Tampa Bay Film and my other Tampa indie film support sites.
The plot thickens, indeed. What do I have planned? You’ll have to wait and find out, because I won’t be doing the first film festival for at least another year. I want to do some indie films, first, and that schedule is locked to the performance of my other companies.
I should really do an historical perspective of Tampa film festivals. Here are some tid-bits which I haven’t explored before.
Some of you may be thinking that I’ve been working on these Tampa film festivals as far back as 2006, and they are long-overdue. If only you knew. I’ve actually been working on film festival formats far longer than that, from as early as 2003! My first Tampa film festival format, which was an annual film festival, was designed as a Saints and Sinners killer.
Why, and how? Read on.
The recent war that I had with some of the players in the Tampa film scene wasn’t the first. It was actually the second. Back in 2001, when I was doing Reverence, I met with Rick Danford and Renegade Films. We had a falling out, and Rick and I did not exactly get along. The first shots taken at the Tampa indie film scene were from Independent Acting, then known as Tampa Bay Independent Actor, in 2002. That was five years before Tampa Bay Film, and the first Tampa indie film war began well before much of what made Tampa Bay Film was conceived. I have much more online firepower at my disposal now, and this is why the second Tampa indie film war was so much nastier, larger, and longer (I pray that there is never a third, because I'm still building my resources, and building a stockpile of even more advanced tools, and what I will be working with soon will have the ability to cripple film production companies and film festivals rather quickly.).
From 2002 to 2005, I was rather put-off by the Tampa film scene, and Rick and I didn’t get along. It wasn’t until 2005 when he and I talked and sorted out our differences, and now we’re on good terms. The same will probably happen with some of the other people who I currently have differences with.
So, who was wrong? That’s irrelevant. The point is that Rick and I get along well now. Communication was all that we needed to bring about peace.
Anyway, we were not at peace in 2003, when I began planning the Iris film festival, which was my first film festival format, and it was, indeed, designed to be a Saints and Sinners killer, and to go head-to-head with Rick’s popular film festival. Time, of course, changed the situation, and made it mostly obsolete. Saints and Sinners came to an end on its own, and remains a Tampa Bay legend. My only regret is that, through my stubbornness and because of my silly fighting, that I never was able to attend one of those film festivals.
My film festival formats, and my ideas of film festivals, just like my ideas about indie film, evolved. It could be said that the film festival properties that I currently sit on are cutting edge, and the most advanced in the Tampa Bay market. I’ll do them at their own level, instead of aiming them as competition to an existing film festival. They will not react to the market, but will rather lead it, and set new standards.
For now, and even after, I will continue to aggressively cover most Tampa film festivals. I am even planning on “Scream @ the wall” style coverage with reporters and camera teams. This should some later this year.
I suppose that we all evolve. The film scene has changed. It continues to change. I can’t wait to see what it will be like in five years. Can you?


UPDATED 12/09/10

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