Tampa Theater Screens Local Film Paper Line
The Tampa Theater, in partnership with Film Tampa Bay, will screen the locally produced film Paper Line on June 18. Doors to the screening open at 2 p.m. and the first 150 visitors will receive a free bag of popcorn.
Film Tampa Bay Presents is a quarterly series designed to showcase Tampa Bay area films, filmmakers, actors and locations through FREE community screenings at the Tampa Theater. On Saturday, June 18, the series will celebrate the June 19 holiday weekend with the first look at paper linea locally produced live-action short film about a secret brotherhood of black martial artists at a prestigious HBCU in Florida.
paper linethe new all-black short from writer-director Ryan Watson (The Ivory League: Confessions of a Black Professor, which won Best Florida Picture at the 2021 Solar Film Festival), presents an inside look at the intense personal bonds and proud values of black Greek culture through the prism of explosive martial arts action. . African-American sororities and fraternities have been a staple of college life for over 100 years.
Paper Line is produced locally and features emerging talent from Tampa
This film tells the story of the Black Greek experience through a reimagining of the initiation process, deflating the insulting subtext of the “paper line” (a fraternity class that does not experience the potentially traumatic hazing of previous eras) evolving in a completely new context. This secret brotherhood of black martial artists lives by a strict code of discipline, truth, community service, and non-violent conflict resolution – unless provoked.
Shooting this exciting new project primarily in Tampa Bay, Watson drew on a wide catalog of influences, including civil rights-era black activist groups like the Black Panthers. The Panthers and others have regularly held martial arts training as part of their plan to inspire their community and defend their neighborhoods against violence created by gangs and drugs from within, and violence by anti-black aggression from without.
“It was important to make this movie because I wanted to shine a light on an underutilized style of martial arts film,” says Watson. “We’ve seen African American martial artists perform in movies, but it’s rare that we see a large group of them perform with each other. I trained in martial arts when I was young, and my three children also train. In college, I noticed that many of the lessons taught in the Black Greek college experience are very similar to lessons taught in martial arts. It offers an interesting alternative to the stereotypical fraternity initiation experience.
Tampa Theater spotlights Tampa Bay productions
A Tampa resident since 2003, Watson is also an Associate Professor of Teaching at the University of South Florida and is a USF Teaching Fellow Studio Vū. “[Tampa] is where I grew up from a college student with film and video-making aspirations to a college professor and filmmaker of the same genre,” he says. “We have some amazing places in the city that have historical relevance to the black community to go along with the lifelong friends I’ve made, so filming here was a no-brainer.”
“Being able to do this on the eve of the first anniversary of the first recognition of June 19 as a federal holiday makes it even more special. It’s a chance for everyone who worked on the film to celebrate our achievement at a world-class venue alongside the Tampa community, our families and friends on a weekend that celebrates the sacrifices and the contributions that black Americans and our supporters and advocates have made for our country. ”
Doors open at 2:00 p.m. and this special family event (PG-13 equivalent) will begin with a LIVE martial arts demonstration by select cast from the film at 3:00 p.m. The first 150 customers will also receive FREE popcorn and sodas. Following the screening, paper line Writer/director Ryan Watson and his team will discuss the making of the film and answer questions from the audience.
Admission is FREE, but reservations are required. The Tampa Theater is located at 711 N Franklin Street.