The Gasparilla International Film Festival kicks off this Thursday, March 18, 2010.

It all begins Thursday at the Tampa Theatre with Opening Night's screening of Sundance Audience Award winner happythankyoumoreplease, written, directed, and starring Josh Radnor (CBS's How I Met Your Mother). Producer and Tampa native Glenn Willamson will be in attendance.

Friday brings the screening of You, a love story directed by Melora Hardin (NBC's The Office). That's right folks, "Jan Levinson" is making an appearance in Tampa. You can join her on the red carpet at Ybor City's Muvico if you choose to upgrade to the VIP Reception Package. Film only tickets are also available.

The Closing Night film Thespians follows talented high school theatre troupes as they audition, rehearse, and compete in the the largest high school theatre festival in the world. Just so happens that theatre festival is right here in Tampa and portions of the film were shot here last February. I'm really looking forward to seeing the final product. Thespians was also the recepient of Film Florida's Don Davis Film Finishing Fund last year.

Many great local films will screen this year, and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the panels and the parties. Those folks do know how to throw a party! I'm on a panel happening Saturday at 2pm - The Future of Florida's Film Business - if you're taking notes.

Arielle Kebbel and Raymond J. Barry will be honored with the Rising Star Award and the Career Achievement Award respectively.

The festival runs through Sunday, March 21, 2010. For a full schedule of events, ticket information and screening locations, click here.

And because Tampa Bay has much to offer the film lover there's another film screening on Thursday, March 18 at Channelside Cinemas. The Lightkeepers featuring Richard Dreyfuss and Blythe Danner will premiere in Tampa on Thursday, March 18th at 7:00pm. Tickets are $25 and the primary beneficiary is the American Victory Ship. A portion of the proceeds will also benefit the Egmony Key Alliance.

See you at the movies!