The closing line of Casablanca – “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship” – could apply to the budding relationship between the University of Central Florida and the Love Your Shorts Film Festival in Sanford on Feb.10-12.
The festival, in its second year, will include two short movies by UCF Film students and will enlist a UCF professor as a judge.
The event will screen 70 short films from 13 countries at the Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center. Among the films selected from more than 220 submissions were the student movies Bubblegum Smackers, directed by Lindsay Garvin, and Italian Life, directed by Eric Coppa-Cross.
Bubblegum Smackers is a 17-minute film noir version of a 1940s detective caper, except child actors are the characters wearing the trench coats and acting as tough guys.
Italian Life is a nine-minute story about a young woman working in a café who has trouble making espresso.
Garvin, of Orlando, said she has been shooting film since she was 6 – “My dad had a camera and I took it from him.”
What she has learned at UCF is that successful filmmaking is not as easy as it looks on the screen. She said the techniques she has learned helped her secure a job as a TV production assistant in Miami that she will start after she graduates this semester.
Coppa-Cross, of Melbourne, said he has learned the technical aspects of film and how the industry runs.
“More interesting is the experience,” he said “When working on a film set you’re gaining so much more experience, and the school has given me the opportunity for that.”
From the other side of the classroom, Assistant Professor Lisa Mills is returning to the festival as a judge for the second year. She has worked at UCF since 2006, teaching documentary production, foundations of story, and other courses.
“I try to encourage my students to nurture their creativity and take time to think about what they want to create and why,” Mills said. “I encourage them to enter festivals.”
Another UCF connection is the festival’s media director, Christina Grace, who is a UCF graphic designer and graduate.
“Student filmmakers don’t jump right out of the gate producing feature-length films,” she said. “The short film is really where they get their start and get noticed.”
She said the Sanford festival also is a good opportunity for students to network with other filmmakers from around the country and world. Last year there were filmmakers and film fans at the festival from as far away as California and Canada.
Wayne Densch Inc. is the presenting sponsor of the event, which will be held in the historic 1923 Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center.
The festival will show an opening-night block of movies; a final-night Best of the Fest; and, in between, seven 90-minute blocks of animation, comedy, drama, documentary, sci-fi/horror, Florida Flavor and E for Everyone, which is for families and children.
A free panel discussion with filmmakers will be held Saturday, Feb. 11.
A schedule and description of the movies is at http://LoveYourShorts.com.