Senior Named One of “20 Under 25” by Creative Loafing Newspaper

Kaneesha Heath ’12 is passionate about exposing real-life issues.

Published: Sep 2, 2011
Kaneesha Heath ’12 was recently named one of Creative Loafing newspaper’s “20 Under 25.” (Photo courtesy of Todd Bates, Creative Loafing)
Kaneesha Heath ’12 was recently named one of Creative Loafing newspaper’s “20 Under 25.” (Photo courtesy of Todd Bates, Creative Loafing)
Kaneesha Heath ’12 was recently named one of Creative Loafing newspaper’s “20 Under 25,” an article highlighting promising upcoming young artists in Tampa Bay.

“It was surprising when they chose me because the amount of personal projects I have done is so few, I didn't think I deserved it,” said Heath. “When I take into account how much work I have done organizing others and helping them succeed, it kind of made me happy.”

One of her professors, Tom Garrett, who nominated her for the Creative Loafing listing, said that he tells his students to find something they love to do, go where they can to do it and then help someone else do the same. He said Heath exemplifies this mantra.

“What I most admire about Kaneesha is her discipline and willingness to help others selflessly,” said Garrett, an assistant professor of communication. “From committing to working 18-hour days of film shoots as a production assistant for fellow student filmmakers to being an active member of UT and Tampa's growing film community, Kaneesha is there to work not just for her own endeavors, but has dedicated her time to help out others, exhibiting her understanding of the collaborative effort of networking.”

Heath is a film and media arts major with a minor in communication. Her accolades include Best Drama and AT&T Contender in 2011 for Breaking Point and an AT&T Golden Mobile Award in 2010 for Contagious, all given by Campus MovieFest.

Her first film using a full crew, Snakes in the Grass, was screened at the 2011 Gasparilla International Film Festival along with films from three other students and two alumni.

“Seeing it on the big screen, it was just like, ‘wow,’” said Heath, who likes writing and directing.

She’s humbled by the awards she’s received and thinks her drama-based films stand out because of her real-life story lines addressing issues like verbal abuse, personality disorders and the difficult situations social workers are faced handling.

“I like to show things that exist in this world that people are blind to, hopefully opening their eyes,” said Heath, who has grown up on military bases around the world, including Japan, Germany and Italy. “I’m not afraid to push the limits when it comes to real-life stories. Perhaps they are notable because they are coming from a college campus where that isn’t expected.”

Heath has interned on television and movie sets, including Miami 24/7 and The Investigator. Her post- graduation plan is in flux as she is not sure whether to attend graduate school at the University of Central Florida or head to Los Angeles and try to make her way into the film industry.

She has until May to make a decision so in the meantime, she keeps busy with her senior thesis (a film about a student living with a single mom who has borderline personality disorder) and working as a resident assistant with the Office of Residence Life.


Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
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