UT Student, Alumnus Featured as Emerging Film Directors

Published: Sep 11, 2008

When making movies, the trick is to master not only the art, but also the business, says University of Tampa senior Lamar Edwards.

“It’s an art and it’s a business,” Edwards said. “Anybody can take a camera and make a video, but you get more respect when you have a business sense.”

Edwards, a film and media arts major originally from Antigua, British West Indies, will have his latest film titled “Fatal Love” featured Sept. 16 at the Independents’ Film Festival’s Emerging Film Directors showcase, which will be held at UT’s Reeves Theater. A film by UT alumnus Tim Compton ’07, titled “No One Doubts the Camera Eye,” will also be among the seven short films shown in the event. UT’s film media arts department helps sponsor the festival.

Quoting Ridley Scott, one of his favorite directors, Edwards said that filmmaking is “an expensive hobby,” that he loves for the art of it. Having already completed most of the requirements for his film major, Edwards is focusing on a minor in business management in his senior year.

While filming “Fatal Love” in the Tampa Bay area over the course of eight months, Edwards’ own business sense kept expenses low, he said. Assistance came from professors and others in UT’s communication department, who helped provide equipment, props as well as technical expertise for the project. Edwards’ fellow film students also volunteered their time to help make the picture.

Much of Edwards’ varied interests are reflected in his filmmaking. Before he became involved in directing films, his passion was computers, specifically 3D computer animation, which he now incorporates into the films. “Fatal Love” includes one scene in 3D animation that depicts a bullet being fired from a gun. This one scene took 10 hours and 12 computers to construct, Edwards said.

“When people think of film they think of what they see on the screen,” Edwards said. “But there’s a whole different realm to what people see.”

Compton can relate to these sentiments. Also a film student when he was at UT, Compton and a friend established their own independent film company, WaterFoot Films.

Under the Waterfoot label, Compton has produced six short films. “No One Doubts the Camera Eye,” tells the story of two crime scene photographers who attempt to solve a murder based on what they have captured on film. The works of Alfred Hitchcock were a partial inspiration for the film, Compton said.

“UT was the official beginning of my filmmaking,” Compton said. “It was the only school I found (in my college search) that had a decent and substantial film department.”

Currently a master’s student in the University of Miami’s film program, Compton has already begun work on his next movie, which will serve as his master’s thesis project. The project, titled “I Reveal,” follows a preacher who claims to hear the voice of God, inciting a conflict with his church.

Both directors plan to continue making independent films with hopes of eventually establishing a presence in Hollywood.

The IFF’s Emerging Film Directors showcase will take place Sept. 16 at 7 p.m. in UT’s Reeves Theater. The event is free for UT students, faculty and staff, and $7.50 for the general public. For more information, contact Tom Garrett, assistant professor of communication, at (813) 253-3425 or e-mail tgarrett@ut.edu.