“Hope for a Thorn,” written and directed by UCF alumna Erin Kitzinger, will have its Florida Premiere at the Gasparilla International Film Festival on March 20. During its world premiere at the LA Femme Film Festival in Los Angeles in October, the film received the Best Feature Director award.

When a troubled grandmother finds herself the guardian of the granddaughter whom she’s never met, she is forced to finally face her past. While each is fighting loss, loneliness, and madness, their only chance for redemption is each other. Shot entirely in the Orlando area during summer 2007, “Thorn” utilized local cast and a combination of student and professional crew to complete the 74-minute film.

“Hope for a Thorn” is one of the first feature films produced through UCF’s new Entrepreneurial Digital Cinema Master of Fine Arts program. The unique graduate program requires its students to finance and produce micro-budget digital feature films. Kitzinger graduated from the program in August 2008.

Both director Erin Kitzinger and producer Jay Delaney will be in attendance, along with stars Pat Fisher of Tampa and Sarah Grace Ackerman of Orlando. “We can’t wait to bring the film back to Florida to share it with those who made it possible,” Kitzinger said.

“Hope for a Thorn” will screen at 1 p.m. March 20 at CineBistro, 1609 W Swann Ave. in Tampa.

About Gasparilla International Film Festival: One of Florida’s largest and fastest growing film festivals, GIFF is organized and operated by the non-profit Tampa Film Institute and is dedicated to expanding art opportunities in the Tampa Bay community through the medium and culture of independent film. GIFF’s mission is to promote opportunities for filmmakers and film fans alike to create and enjoy independent film in the Tampa Bay area. The 2010 Festival runs from March 18 – 21. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit www.gasparillafilmfestival.com.

For more information on “Hope for a Thorn,” including trailer and press materials, visit www.hopeforathorn.com.