The film industry in Florida — the only state in the southeast that doesn’t provide incentives for filmmakers — soon may be back on the upswing, thanks to new proposed legislation that may resume a tax-incentive program that ended four years ago.
In anticipation of that day, UCF in collaboration with the Love Your Shorts Film Festival in Sanford will host an educational program, “Connecting with the Central Florida Filmmaking Community,” on Thursday to kick off the Feb. 13-16 festival.
The free Education Day program will start at 7 p.m. at the Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center in Sanford, and will be followed at 8 p.m. with a selection of short films by current and recently graduated UCF students.
There are more than 50,000 Floridians who work in the film, television and digital media industry, many of whom live and work in Central Florida.
The education program was developed by UCF lecturer Jason Gregory ’19MFA and Associate Professor Lisa Mills ’99. Gregory will moderate a panel of other film professionals to talk about why the local film industry is growing stronger with more opportunities for networking and the multiple productions that are underway.
“UCF helped me get to where I am, and now it’s my turn to pay it forward and help mold and develop others.” – Jason Gregory ’19MFA
“I am an alum of the UCF film program and UCF helped me get to where I am, and now it’s my turn to pay it forward and help mold and develop others,” Gregory says, adding that the university is helping develop the next wave of great filmmakers through its undergraduate and graduate programs. Gregory teaches screenwriting at UCF, is the director of the Orlando Urban Film Festival and created the television pilot Waking Up White.
Others on the panel are: Marco DiGeorge, co-founder of Truthful Acting Studios, artistic director of Theater on the Edge, and a film casting director; Wilmore “Moe” Fowler, film production coordinator at Valencia College who has worked in films as a producer, assistant director and in other roles; Lenny and Tzvia LoRusso, founders of Orlando Independent Filmmakers; and Ed Love, owner of 89 Media Inc. and a TV and film producer.
In addition to the student films, the 10th annual festival will show 81 films from 12 countries in competition. The films will be screened in eight categories (comedy, drama, animation, documentary, international, sci-fi/horror, Florida Flavor, and E for Everyone), plus an opening-night variety of films, and the Best of the Fest competition on closing night.
Several filmmakers with connections to UCF have films that were selected to be screened:
- In Memory of Us, a drama by Kristina League ’19. This film will be shown during the Education Day program and also was accepted to be in the festival’s drama block. (Two sisters navigate the complex bonds of family on the night of their father’s funeral.)
- Tiffany, an animation directed by Christina Christie ’19, was created by UCF’s character animation class of 2019. (While packing away her late grandmother’s affairs, Pauline discovers there is joy in celebrating the legacy of those who have passed away.)
- The Brewchurch, a documentary by Aaron Hose ’03, a video production specialist in the Center for Distributed Learning. (Castle Church Brewing Community, an Orlando church-owned brewery, combines faith-based fellowship and beer under the same roof. Patrons from all walks of life are welcome to grab a pint, join in prayer, or both.)
- Bitters, a horror directed by Charles Sutter ’10’14MFA. Sutter also previously taught film for seven years at UCF. (A chef invites a popular health and food blogger to preview the new menu at her restaurant. But with each new course the meal isn’t as it seems on the surface).
Serving with other judges at the festival’s Best of the Fest block are Mills and Phil Hoffman, executive director of WUCF TV and WUCF FM, media partners for the event.
All the festival’s events are at the Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center, a refurbished 1923 theater on the National Register of Historic Places.
The student films to be shown at 8 p.m. Feb. 13:
Egghead & Twinkie
Sarah Holland, 8:37
Egghead is in love with his best friend, Twinkie, a closeted lesbian. And tonight she is coming out to her parents in the most casual way possible.
Chief: A Life of Service
Gabriel Ross, 7:00
After the death of Florida A&M University drum major Robert Champion, Police Chief Calvin Ross has to deal with the pressure of staying on the force longer than planned.
Omar Young, 4:22
An immigrant’s journey to reconnect with his culinary roots and rebuild tradition away from home.
When Superwoman Can’t Fly (No More)
Valerie Starks, 5:02
A daughter who put her life on hold to care for her mother, who was her world, must start her own life anew.
Helen Morales, 7:00
A 15-year-old girl experiences an anxiety attack while on a school field trip.
Spencer Shack, 10:05
Two group-home brothers navigate living poor in a small African-American suburb.
Vincent Marcucci, 10:01
A Central Florida forest is under attack by the very people elected to protect it.
In Memory of Us
Kristi League, 13:23
Two sisters navigate the complex bonds of family on the night of their father’s funeral.