If you missed the Gasparilla International Film Festival's award winning* locally filmed movie Waiting on Mary, it re-screens this weekend at the Sunscreen Film Festival in St. Petersburg. Fortunate to be in the audience the night Waiting on Mary screened during Tampa's Film Festival we’d read a lot about the film and were curious to see it. Did you know Waiting on Mary, filmed entirely in Pinellas County, came in under $30,000? As Dolphin In A Drum's first feature film we weren’t sure what to expect as we took our seats anxious to see this film we had read so much about. Curious to see landmarks we knew, places we'd been. We knew it was a rare treat!
The lights dimmed, the screen lit, and we met Matthew McGee playing idiosyncratic Colonel Pennington, co-worker to lead character, Nathaniel (Brian Shea). Colonel Pennington, a catalyst for change in Nathaniel’s life unwittingly sets things in motion in this quirky dramedy pitting a happy middle-aged man against everything once familiar. In denial, Nathaniel, struggling to understand what is happening to him, stumbles into a situation taking us by surprise. Without spoiling anything the movie takes off with a bang and builds quickly as gentle Nathaniel loses touch with reality; choosing to remain in character, he wanders Crescent Lake, Gulfport’s Art Village, St. Pete and the beach in full Colonial costume meeting delightful characters as he bravely explores a brave new world.
Nathaniel’s mother, beautifully played by Bonnie Agan caused us to giggle several times as she struggled to accept and help her son, while dad Jim Wicker sat in disbelief as the story introduced us to several memorable characters. One of our favorites was Nathaniel’s therapist. Played by Bob Devin Jones, his character displayed incredible patience as he attempted to guide Nathaniel back to reality. Jones’s performance was in a word ‘exemplary’, so much so I left the theater wanting to hire him as my therapist!
The protagonist, a local TV reporter portrayed by actor Matt Lunsford did a great job (we did NOT like that guy!) while Ned Averill-Snell played lovable lush Rodney, a newly acquired friend who with child-like curiosity sought to know Nathaniel.
Being familiar with Brian Shea as a stage actor, we thoroughly enjoyed his performance in Waiting on Mary. If you have had the pleasure of seeing Brian on stage you will be happy to know every bit of the personality Brian brings to his stage characters came across the screen. We felt Nathaniel’s pain, his frustration and confusion as the screenplay skillfully unfolded before us.
Co-writer, director and producer Corey Horton did a wonderful job bringing this film to life with co-writer, DP and unit production manager Joe Papa. Together these former St. Pete High School buddies assembled creative local talent as cast and crew to bring Waiting on Mary to the screen. Our only criticism came after the movie's emotional conclusion. Waiting on Mary’s cast and crew did such a great job bringing these characters to life we howled during credits when we learned what became of barfly Rodney, we wanted to know what happened to the others! Guess we will have to wait for Waiting on Mary Two!
It is truly a rare treat to see local actors in a locally shot screenplay in a feature film. If you missed Waiting on Mary at #GIFF2016 you can catch this fun film during the Sunscreen Film Festival April 30 at the Muvico Sundial in downtown St. Petersburg. Waiting on Mary screens at 12:15 p.m. Tickets are $8 pp.
We look forward to seeing you at Muvico!
*"Waiting on Mary" won Audience Selection Best Florida Film Production at the Gasparilla International Film Festival 2016.
Looking for Restaurants and Things To Do before or after a film at the Festival? Check out our Guide!
Want a meal meal fit for a Hollywood star? Make plans to visit the historic Vinoy Renaissance - St. Petersburg, located around the corner on Beach Drive from Sunscreen, you will not want not want to miss their NEW 1925 Classic Menu or their Sunday morning Beer Brunch.