UT Film Students Shoot Prague in Color

Published: Mar 9, 2010
As the flowers begin to peek their heads through a blanket of snow, the city of Prague is also starting to awaken from a long, cold winter. Capturing this city’s renaissance in a documentary are four UT film students who headed to the Czech Republic over spring break to help Assistant Professor Tom Garrett with production.

"To actually see a country that has been through so much gray for so long finally emerge with some colors through its art and culture has been a beautiful thing,” said Tamara Austin ’12. “And we are seeing it unfold and evolve before our eyes."

Austin joined Zach Joyner ’11, Fawn Testa ’11 and Dennis Hooten ’11 as production and research assistants for Garrett, who is the producer of the documentary with the working title The Colors of Prague.

“I see the inspiration this experience has created through the students’ reactions,” Garrett said. “The level of involvement and engagement is life changing. It creates a passion which is what makes us all do what we do.”

Adjunct Instructor Curtis Graham is the director of photography, and Professor Gary Luter is a production associate, and art and theatre historian. Lee Morse is the production manager and coordinator.

The trip was made possible by a grant to the College of Arts and Letters from Elly Friedman, a lifelong patron of the arts and mentor to Garrett.

“Ms. Friedman’s grant allowed a wonderful opportunity for the students involved to learn the dynamic of creating a documentary from the ground floor,” Garrett said. “A work flow had been designed for the students to follow that allows them to get hands-on experience in both theory and practice, from concept to screen, in a city that is just bursting in art and culture.”

Aside from filming, the students explored Prague’s Academy of Performing Arts (AMU), a visit made possible by Dean Haig Mardirosian, who is working to make AMU an addition to UT’s Study Abroad Program. Luter connected with AMU’s drama program as UT theatre students will be participating in a program there this summer.

“Traveling to Prague has been one of the best academic experiences of my life,” said Joyner. “I immediately fell in love with the city’s energy and culture.”

For Testa, a double major in entrepreneurship and film and media arts, the experience has expanded her vision for the future.

“This has been an unbelievable experience. It is an amazing feeling to immerse yourself in a culture and be able to capture it all on film,” Testa said. “And as a student with a double major, I’m able to see applications for my future academic and professional career.”

Hooten said he’s been overwhelmed by the exposure to film studios, dance performances, gallery openings, recitals and film awards “equivalent to the Oscars.”

“This trip to Prague has expanded my world to so many other opportunities in the arts. In less than a week I’ve gained more understanding and respect for the international and global artist,” Hooten said. “It has changed my life for the better.”


Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
Sign up for UT Web Alerts