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Summer Film Fair at USF

TAMPA, Fla. – It’s starting to make as much sense to study and pursue a career in filmmaking in Tampa Bay as it is in Los Angeles or New York City – if you note the signs. 

Several area film festivals are growing in stature and the University of South Florida is showing up as a hotbed of activity. Now add the Film & Video Association at USF which is hosting its first Summer Film Fair, June 12 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Tampa campus’ Marshall Student Center – complete with a surprise Hollywood premiere.  A $10 fee in advance or $15 at the door includes breakfast and lunch (on a limited first-come, first-served basis).

Now in its seventh year, the Film & Video Association at USF is attracting more attention than ever with this event.  Rodrick Colbert, majoring in instructional technology, serves as the organization’s president and is very excited about this gathering. 

“We’re targeting college students, independent filmmakers and new filmmakers of all ages who are interested in film as a career,” Colbert said.  “We’re covering all the essential skills sets in practical and helpful workshops and we’re showing films that will hopefully inspire everyone with the desire to go out and make their own movies.” 

The day starts out with local talk show host Motown Maurice at breakfast with “Diary of a Young Television Entrepreneur,” the luncheon speaker is Stephen Schlow, veteran filmmaker and film department chair from the University of Central Florida with “Film Entrepreneurship and the Film Artist,” and Hollywood screenwriter Michael France, owner of The Beach Theatre in St. Pete Beach, is the guest of honor.

France is known for his scripts for Golden Eye, The Hulk, The Punisher and The Fantastic Four.  He will lead a question-and-answer session about his work, life and experiences in Hollywood following a musical tribute from singer Ann Poonkasem.

Workshops include “Screenwriting and Film Adaptations,” “Emerging Film Technologies,” “How to Make a Music Video,” and “Making Culturally Diverse Films.”  Representatives from Florida’s film schools will be set up at tables to introduce students to training opportunities.

The film fair also will showcase award-winning USF student filmmakers, Dan Bakst and Joyce Yong, fresh from their Campus Movie Fest Best Comedy win. The university can boast multiple regional, national and local student filmmaking awards as this case of winning out over tough competition from far more established film programs has been repeated more than once. 

Sarah Wilson’s film Rhapsody took home best picture honors in 2009.  Students in Kristin Arnold Ruyle’s television production class in the School of Mass Communication earned a Telly Award and a Communicator Award of Excellence for a class project last year as well.

USF also offers courses and film series throughout the year.  Titles and topics vary, but past courses include philosophy in literature and film, African images in Francophone film, the film as mass communication, film in American culture, rogue filmmakers, topics in the history of film, and modern political iconography, among others. There have been film series on topics such as the Holocaust and jazz.

“I have a strong interest in filmmaking as well as educating others about film, particularly science fiction, black cinema, corporate videos, and non-fiction film,” the Tampa-born Colbert said.

His major, instructional technology, teaches project management as well as models of design that can be applicable to filmmaking.  “I have made several short films and am making some others this summer – an action film and an all-Spanish film.

“If you love film, there’s always something here at USF to support that interest and the free movies on the lawn throughout the year mean you can catch up on various titles no matter how tight your budget is.  And I have been involved in several short films with the film club from music videos, to film competition film shorts, videotaping fashion shows, to documentaries on immigrant workers.  Everything I need, subjects, crew members, facilities, locations and helpful experienced experts are right here.”


To register online visit or for more information contact the organizers at


Filed under:Arts and Sciences Mass Communications School of Social Sciences   
Author: Barbara Melendez