Second Screen pops up to show provocative movies in Tampa Bay Area

The past year’s pandemic dimmed the lights for Second Screen Cult Cinema, but the film salon’s ever-resourceful Founders have found ways to work around the limitations of Covid-19. Last summer they launched a podcast, and this spring they’re busting out the projector again for pop-up screenings at venues across Tampa Bay.

“True to our original concept, we will hold our first pop-up screening on March 16 with our amigos at Dark Door Spirits,” Michael Martz, co-founder of Second Screen Cult Cinema, wrote in a post on the nonprofit’s Facebook page.

When Martz and co-founder Ann Musoke Taylor first conceptualized Second Screen Cult Cinema back in 2014, it was supposed to be “a monthly screening event popping up at different venues around the Tampa Bay area,” Martz says. “But the Vault, our first venue, wound up allowing us to continue. So it became our regular venue. With venues as generous and accommodating as The Vault and Epicurean, we were able to screen consecutively in one venue for the past five years.”

As for Dark Door Spirits, Martz credits Musoke Taylor and partner Tyler Martinolich, Hillsborough County Film Commissioner, for procuring the space. Well-ventilated, the distillery is not completely indoors. It features garage doors adjacent to where the screening will take place, and seating is socially distanced. Masks are required.

“We’ve invested in a new projector, so this is the ideal moment to experiment with the concept,” Martz said. 

What will Second Screen feature during this first outing of 2021? None other than David Cronenberg’s third feature-length, what Martz describes as the director’s most personal film, inspired by a “nasty” divorce. 

“Cronenberg took his pain and made a body horror version of Kramer vs. Kramer,” Martz jokes. 

The 1979 Canadian psychological mind-bender stars Oliver Reed, Samantha Eggar, and Art Hindle, and its plot follows a man and his mentally ill ex-wife, who has been sequestered by a psychologist known for his controversial therapy techniques. 

“Boils start to appear on the lead actress’ skin and they represent physical manifestations of her rage -- they’re physical beings ... rage babies!” Martz says with a laugh. “On paper it’s schlocky, but Cronenberg’s direction is methodical, and the cinematography is artful and tasteful despite the fact that the script careens over the top.”

Second Screen presented its first film at The Vault in downtown Tampa in February 2015. The British film, Peeping Tom, immediately set the tone for providing provocative content and boundary-pushing cinematography. 

Thereafter, Second Screen Cult Cinema became a source for international, avant-garde, neorealist, French New Wave, vintage horror, documentaries, and under-appreciated comedies or dramas you wouldn’t typically see at a multiplex. Longtime buddies Martz and Musoke Taylor initiated the event and hosted the movie nights, which were preceded by a swanky cocktail hour and a DJ spinning sophisticated world pop -- sometimes with Taylor’s husband, DJ Brian Oblivion, aka Brian Taylor. 

Second Screen Cult Cinema earned Best of the Bay critic pick awards in 2015 and 2019, and they were also honored with the Tampa Downtown Partnership’s Urban Excellence Award in 2017.

For more information, visit Second Screen on Facebook.
Popping up near you

David Cronenberg's The Brood (1979)
Tuesday, March 16, 2021
6 p.m. Cocktails | 7 p.m. Showtime

Dark Door Spirits
6608 Anderson Road, Tampa, 33634
Sponsored by Film Tampa Bay and Dark Door Spirits

Suggested donation: $5.
Cocktails available.
Mask/PPE required.

Related story: Second Screen Cult Cinema launches new podcast
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Read more articles by Julie Garisto.

A graduate of Largo High, USF, and the University of Tampa's Creative Writing MFA program, Julie Garisto grew up in Clearwater and now has a home in the Ocala National Forest. Between writing assignments, she's teaching English courses at Saint Leo University and other colleges. Julie has written arts features in Creative Pinellas' online magazine ArtsCoast Journal, Creative Loafing, Florida travel pieces  (Visit Tampa Bay and Visit Jacksonville), the Cade Museum, and features and reviews in the Tampa Bay Times. Her previous journalistic roles include arts and entertainment editor for Creative Loafing, staff writer for the Tampa Bay Times, and copy editor for the Weekly Planet. Lately, she's been obsessed with exploring Florida's State Parks, small towns, and natural springs.