FFCC Chairman Bill Gibron Passes Away

The FFCC is in mourning after the passing of our chair, Bill Gibron.

The Florida Film Critics Circles is saddened to announce the passing of our chairman Bill Gibron. He was 56. News of his passing came via several Facebook postings on Friday night. It was only Wednesday morning that Bill updated his status to report he was at Tampa General Hospital following a “very minor” heart attack. “I am feeling 1000% better and want to thank everyone who has reached out to send their prayers and thoughts. It will be a life changer for me but don’t worry… I’ll still be the same old Bill,” was his final posting on Facebook.

Gibron will certainly live on in the digital world with 15 years of online and print film criticism. His work can be found in publications around the world, including FilmRacket.com, Filmcritic.com and PopMatters.com, as well as via the McClatchy-Tribune Syndication Service. His bio on the FFCC site reads, “As a member of the Online Film Critics Society, The Southeastern Film Critics Association, and the Florida Film Critics Circle, he’s known for his smart and sometimes irreverent takes on the cinematic art form.”

Bill’s favorite movie genres were horror, sci-fi, and experimental film. One of his favorite directors was David Lynch. His taste for the experimental crossed over to his tastes for music, including an affection for The Residents.

His last review was for Avengers: Infinity War on Film Racket, which he called “wildly entertaining. It won’t capture the cultural zeitgeist like a certain film set in the fictional African nation of Wakanda, but it should make the various markets around the world happy with its non-stop adrenalin rush of electrifying eye candy.”

FFCC critic Steven Lebowitz spoke to the feelings of everyone at the organization when he responded to the news of his passing by writing, “This feels like one of those, ‘But I just saw him last week!’ … This is very unexpected, sad and shocking news.”

George Meyer, another FFCC critic, said, “Bill was a loyal friend, a generous colleague, and a smart leader. I can’t think of anyone who might have been his enemy. I’ll miss him.”

Joe Belcastro, a former film critic and journalist in Tampa, echoed similar sentiments saying, “Without Bill, I would have not been able to advance my film criticism career. He offered me help at a time when the industry was cut-throat. I’m going to miss my colleague that became a friend. The industry lost one of the best in the field.”

Belcastro (left) with Gibron at a screening

Bill was a mentor to many FFCC members past and present. His friendly demeanor and leadership united the FFCC and enabled the organization to grow and be recognized throughout the industry. Within his local market of Tampa Bay, FFCC member Lance Goldenberg often saw Gibron at Tampa screenings. They also shared several meals together where he credits Bill to helping him through the difficult reality of the shift in film criticism from print to online. He said, “Bill was such a sweet guy. Complicated, cranky, fiercely opinionated and a sweet, sweet guy.”

For Goldenberg, Bill was the personification of the current state of film criticism. He encouraged the once print-only FFCC’s membership to consider Gibron for membership even though he was only writing for websites at the time. “I’d enjoyed reading his stuff on geeky review sites like DVD Verdict for years before he applied for FFCC membership,” said Goldenberg. Goldenberg also recalls with a smile having to convince more than a few of his fellow print critics that a talented online writer should be allowed “to drink at the same well as the ‘real’ journalists.”

Bill joined the Florida Film Critics Circle in June of 2008 and became chair of the organization in April of 2013.

Bill held a Juris Doctor degree in Constitutional Law from Stetson University College of Law and a BA in Creative Writing from Florida State University, where he graduated in 1983. Besides freelance work as a film critic, he also coached debate for the Academy of the Holy Names, taking the high school team to numerous state and national speech and debate leagues around the country.

Bill lived in Tampa, Florida, with his wife Angela Romeo Gibron. They met while they were both still in high school, and he took her to prom before they married on October 25, 1985. Gibron was born in Washington D.C. on May 14, 1961. His father, the late Abe Gibron, was Head Coach for the Chicago Bears during the ‘70s. Bill is survived by his wife Angela, his sister Matina Gibron Hutchenson and his brother James “Kal” Gibron.

A memorial mass will be held on Wednesday June 6th, 2018, 7:00 pm, at the Academy of the Holy Names Chapel, 3319 Bayshore Blvd., Tampa, Fl, 33629. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Forensics Award at the Academy of the Holy Names or to the St. Francis Society Animal Rescue or to your favorite charity.

A friend of Bill’s widow has established a gofundme page to cover the unforeseen funeral expenses. For those who want to contribute, please visit this link:

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