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Filmmakers at UT Recognized by Tampa Film Community

Published: March 24, 2011
The Gasparilla International Film Festival opens in Tampa today and runs through March 27 with film categories like Focus on Florida, North American Narrative, Cuban Sidebar and Fun & Fear.

New this year is a category with Spartan appeal: The University of Tampa Student Showcase. Films from four students and two alumni will be shown March 26 at 2:30 p.m. at the Ybor City Muvico. Those participating include Kaneesha Heath ’12, Matt Rossetti ’11, Dennis Hooten ’11, Michael Stevenson ’11, Aasem Alhajhussein ’10 and Clint Mouriño’10.

Tara Parian '08, who produced Sunday Morning Coming Down, will be showing the film March 26 at 11 a.m. at the Cinebistro at Hyde Park.

“I am extremely proud to have my film included in the film festival because it is my first legitimate short film, and it has been accepted to a well-known film festival in Florida,” said Rossetti, a film and media arts major who says his film All I Have is the culmination of his four years at UT. “It means a lot that the finished product I worked so hard to create is gaining recognition at such a high level.”

Assistant Professor Tom Garrett said the films were chosen based on “mainly one thing, production value, which comes from a team, and content, which we strive to instill.”

At the 2011 Festival of the Moving Image, taking place March 23-27 in Ybor City, UT was represented in the 2011 Florida Filmmakers Contest.

Dana Plays, professor of communication and film and media arts, won a merit award in the Florida Independent Filmmaker: Atlantic & Pacific Productions Award category, for her film Exquisit Corpses .

Fawn Testa ’11, a double major in entrepreneurship and film and media arts, won a merit award in the Florida Student Filmmaker: Atlantic & Pacific Productions Award category for her video Spin Cycle . Mouriño won a merit award in the Florida Independent Filmmaker: Atlantic & Pacific Productions Award category for his film War of Our Children .

“I’m so happy to be involved in the festival,” Plays said. “It is a great opportunity for our students, as well, to showcase experimental works.”

Full details on show times and events, which are free and open to the public, can be found on the festival’s website .

Among the accolades, actors M. Emmet Walsh, receiving this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the Gasparilla International Film Festival, and Tom Berenger, receiving the film fest’s Career Achievement Award, will come to UT’s Reeves Theater this week at 1 p.m., on March 24 and March 25, respectively.

For Kaneesha Heath, a film and media arts major, exposure to these kinds of opportunities has made the difference in her career path.

“The professors here provide awesome feedback and constructive criticism, literally helping every project I've done improve.”

Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
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