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Published: May 14, 2024

Short Film Produced in Collaboration with Students

Taylor Raye Curry, assistant professor of film, animation and new media, filmed her latest short film “7½ Minutes” with the help of her students. 

Taylor Raye Curry filmed her latest short film, "7 ½ minutes," which took place in part on The University of Tampa’s campus. Photo courtesy of Curry

The film, which stars Aiyanah Duddey ’24, Jaden Manuel ’26 and Nicole Potamousis ’26, takes place after tragedy strikes and identical twins Wyatt and Maddy show up for each other in unimaginable ways. Born seven and a half minutes before her sister, Wyatt assumes the de facto “oldest” role, in a story of mutual support and friendship. 

Currently slated to make its way to the festival circuit, the film was shot over the course of five days over winter break, in part on the UT campus.

Duddey starred as the best friend of one of the main characters. She had taken many classes with Curry, and when writing the character, Curry thought of her.

Aiyanah Duddey on the set of "7 ½ minutes," Taylor Raye Curry’s short film. Photo courtesy of Curry

Her assistant director, a friend she knows from Tampa, and is a segment producer on "The Voice," also flew in to assist.

“I’m beyond grateful for a chance to pour into my students,” Curry said. “I love them dearly and I absolutely love this film.”

For Curry, the project was an experimental one. Initially a 90-page story, she decided to write a proof of concept for a feature to see if the project was viable. With encouragement from her colleagues in the FMX department, she developed a bite-sized version of the project and then tapped the expertise of her students to act and help film. 

This project was Curry’s first collaborating with students. She wondered if the power balance may be off, but learned that was not the case. 

“You create relationships. And it's like, ‘I would like to work with you,’ and the students are, like, ‘I would like to work with you.’ And so it becomes this symbiotic thing,” she said. 

By the time the project started, she had known some of the students, including Duddey, for four years.

“And so the dynamic kind of lends itself to this level of cooperative creativity that's very special, very special.”

In filming on campus, Curry said she felt very supported.

Access to the “cage,” where she could borrow high-end film and camera equipment was “just awesome,” she said. Another benefit was teaching her students firsthand how to communicate with other departments on campus. For example, students learned how to write professional emails and request spaces for filming purposes. 

“Seeing her do her thing helped me see how I want to be as a director,” Duddey said.

“She really took me under her wing,” she said.

Curry plans to have a screening for the Tampa community once the film festival season is underway. She wants to celebrate the film with the crew who are still students and those who have graduated.

“I certainly want them to come and feel celebrated, because it’s their work, too,” she said. “I can’t wait to watch it with the community.”

Have a story idea? Contact Brianna Kwasnik, Digital Content Editor/Writer  
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