Florida’s film industry is trying to write a new script, one that would return the state to its prominence as a major filmmaking destination in the country, following a steady drain of projects the past few years. Projects have migrated — many to Georgia — because of increasing film-friendly attitudes and incentives elsewhere.

“In the last four years, Florida has lost more than 60 major film and television projects that would have spent over $1 billion dollars in Florida,” says John Lux, executive director of Film Florida trade association and a panelist at a Feb. 7 filmmaking workshop sponsored by the UCF College of Arts and Humanities at the Love Your Shorts Film Festival in Sanford.

“The State of Filmmaking in the State of Florida” has become a hot topic in the industry and will be the topic at the film festival’s Education Day, which kicks off the Feb. 7-10 festival. The free workshop is at the Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center, 201 S. Magnolia Ave., Sanford, and will be followed by a selection of UCF student films.

There are more than 50,000 Floridians who work in the film, television and digital media industry, which strengthens the state’s economy and attracts tourists influenced by something they’ve seen on TV or the movies.

‘Our products are the gift that keeps on giving.’ — John Lux, executive director of Film Florida

“A 2013 Visit Florida survey showed almost one-quarter of domestic visitors to Florida indicated that viewing a movie or television series filmed in Florida contributed to their decision to travel here,” Lux says. “Our products are the gift that keeps on giving.”

A panel of film professionals, moderated by Associate Professor Lisa Mills ’99MA, will discuss what filmmakers are doing to bolster the industry in Florida. In addition to Lux on the panel are Sheena Fowler, Orlando Film Commissioner and senior director of marketing and communications at Orlando Economic Partnership; and David Morton ’14MA, a film historian and UCF history instructor working on his doctorate in texts and technology.

After the presentation, a selection of eight UCF student short films will be screened at 8 p.m., including drama, comedy and documentary, two of which are independent study-abroad projects by student filmmakers who traveled to India.

At the weekend festival, two other student films from UCF will be shown in competition:

  • Night Light, an animation directed by Yamiset Trujillo ’18 and Jane Suarez ’18 (A wide-eyed, newborn sea turtle finds himself on the illuminated beaches of Miami. But it is a perilous time to be a hatchling with hazards of artificial light.)
  • If We Had Met, a drama directed by Malik Brice (Two strangers take a glimpse of the world where their paths meet – but life gets in the way.)
  • Another film with a UCF connection accepted to the festival is the documentary Fresh Perspective by Aaron Hose, a video production specialist in the university’s Center for Distributed Learning. (A look at the nation’s first black beer festival, a historic event aiming to diversify the industry and promote a new narrative in craft beer.)

    Also a part of the event is WUCF, which is the festival’s media partner.

    The ninth annual Love Your Shorts Film Festival will showcase short films in seven categories (comedy, drama, animation, documentary, sci-fi/horror, Florida Flavor, and E for Everyone), plus an opening-night variety of films, and a Best of the Fest competition on closing night. Also scheduled is a free panel at 5 p.m. Feb. 9, at which visiting filmmakers will present a discussion and Q&A on techniques, tips and current projects.

    All the festival’s events are at the Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center, a refurbished 1923 theater on the National Register of Historic Places.

    For a schedule, ticket information and other news of the festival, go to LoveYourShorts.com and Facebook page.


    The selection of student films to be shown at 8 p.m. Feb. 7 are:


    Radio Rage FM 

    William Ruback, 3:16

    You can only take so much polka.


    Calcutta Kolkata

    Hannah Mitchel and Alan De Oliveira, 7:20

    An experimental collaboration between two UCF students and two students from India about the City of Joy from the mixed perspectives of residents and visitors.


    video 8 dreams 

    Adam Mirajka, 3:00

    “there’s no future left for you and me.”



    Kayla Beadle, 7:00

    Jason happily lives his life to the fullest despite the obstacles he faces.


    Astrid, the Human

    Brittany Todd, 7:00

    Living in limbo as someone under the immigration policy of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).



    Kiersten Fucheon, 5:00

    A woman discloses a terrible trauma to her therapist.


    Lady Bikers 

    Ramsay Kujawa, 13:14

    A group of female motorcyclists in Kolkata, India, share their experiences at the forefront of a movement that challenges gender roles in a changing society.


    nothing is a thing

    Kathryn McCarthy, 9:00

    Kat and Ben strive to cultivate normalcy on their last night together.