Summer and movies go hand in hand, but an upcoming USF event hopes to show that the season isn’t just associated with watching them.
On July 23 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Marshall Student Center ballroom will be filled with students and filmmakers at the second annual Summer Film Fair. The event, which is free for students, offers film enthusiasts the chance to receive career advice from accomplished professionals.
Rodrick Colbert, a graduate student studying instructional technology and president of the University Student Film & Video Association at USF, said the fair is both an educational and networking experience for independent filmmakers.
“The people who are teaching the workshops are a combination of students who do it now, students who have graduated, as well as local filmmakers,” he said. “They’re all working together to teach students and the community the skills you need to hear from other people.”
Colbert said the fair isn’t just for actors and directors looking to perfect their art, but also for business-minded people and entrepreneurs with an interest in film.
“Film production is really a very lucrative field to go into,” he said. “Not only is it filmmaking, but you can get a job in any field where you’re learning how to develop video to promote the company or employee training.”
The fair will bring highly experienced members of the film community to share what they know in specialized workshops. Some of them are USF alumni returning to share with the next generation of filmmakers.
Jean-Rene Rinvil, who graduated from USF with a degree in mass communications in 1998, has filmed everything from Haitian soap operas to documentaries – winning multiple awards along the way. He will be holding a workshop on film diversity at the fair.
“The word diversity doesn’t just mean having a lot of different cultures involved in the film,” he said. “It means that if you are going to represent a culture, you want to do it in a way that makes an audience member from that same culture identify and relate to the character.”
Rinvil attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, receiving his Master of Fine Arts in film, video and new media. He said he credits his admission to the world-renowned school to individual projects he started as an undergrad, and that getting to produce content based on his artistic vision is the most rewarding part of film.
“It’s 10 times harder to do it yourself,” he said. “The biggest reward for me is standing in the background and listening to the audience as they respond to watching the project. From the initial concept to the finishing product – it’s like giving birth to a child.”
Rinvil is one of two main speakers along with Frank Patterson, the dean of Florida State University Film School. Colbert said hearing from a film school administrator would be of use for those hoping to enroll in one.
“Because USF doesn’t have an actual film production curriculum and because FSU has a pretty selective film school, it would be nice to hear from an administrator who’s in charge of bringing students to his school,” he said. “He’ll be guiding students through the actual film education process, what type of career they can expect after that, and what success they can have based on what they learned in school.”
Both Colbert and Rinvil emphasized the need for prospective professionals to get started with their own individual projects. USF student Chris Stevens’ film, “Blind Eye,” recently won first prize in the Social Justice category at this year’s Campus MovieFest.
Stevens, a senior majoring in marketing, took home $10,000 for his award-winning film, which he said only cost $100 to make. Though he hopes to learn more at the film fair, he said there is no better way than trying it on your own.
“I’m a big believer in learning by doing,” he said. “It’s not too expensive to buy or rent a little camera, just to get better.”
Though he is proud to have won an award for his work, Stevens said he knows that there is still a great deal to learn as far as his technical skills go – things that he hopes to hear about at the fair.
“I can definitely improve, especially my cinematography,” he said. “I want to get better with sound quality, and learn how to be a better director.”
The Summer Film Fair costs $20 in advance for the general public and $25 at the door. Ticket prices include breakfast and lunch along with access to more than 10 workshops and multiple lectures, as well as screenings of USF stduent-made films. To reserve tickets online, visit usf-ufva2ndfilmfair.eventbrite.com.