Educational workshops for aspiring and veteran filmmakers and an exhibition of 14 student films will be sponsored by UCF’s College of Arts & Humanities as part of the seventh annual Love Your Shorts Film Festival in Sanford on Feb. 9-12.

This is the third year of the university and festival’s growing partnership, which this year also begins WUCF TV’s involvement as the festival’s media partner. The PBS station and film festival are developing some joint projects.

The college’s free Education Day will kick off the four-day festival of more than 70 short films from a dozen countries. Three of those films in competition were directed by UCF graduates.

Lisa Mills, an associate professor of film in the college’s School of Visual Arts & Design who is leading the workshops, said this year’s sessions focus on animation because she said she’s never seen the topic offered as an educational component at other festivals. The workshops are geared for anyone who’s ever thought about writing, producing, animating or directing a film.

A 9 a.m. panel discussion on “Animation Adaptions to the Digital Age” and a 10 a.m. discussion on “Careers in Animation” will be led by Mills at the Greater Sanford Regional Chamber of Commerce, 400 E. 1st St. The panel will consist of:

  • Stella Sung, director of UCF’s Center for Research and Education in Arts, Technology and Entertainment (CREATE) and a professor of music in the Department of Digital Media;
  • JoAnne Adams, a UCF film instructor since 2008 whose career also included working at Walt Disney Feature Animation Florida;
  • Timothy Keebler, a film graduate who co-directed Farmer Glorp, an animation selected to be in the film festival; and
  • Christopher Brown, a UCF film graduate, co-founder and technical director at Ninjaneer Studios, an Orlando company specializing in 3-D animation and projection mapping.
  • At 11:30 a.m., Mark Seppala, a Sanford artist and Walt Disney World’s former general manager for character merchandise, will talk about “My Life in Animation,” including his time in the field of merchandise design and animation. A graduate of the New England School of Art and Design, he majored in animation and advertising design. After 25 years at Disney, he retired three years ago and now has a studio at the Gallery on First in Sanford.

    Space is limited so reservations are recommended through the festival’s website,

    At 7 p.m., the student films that were completed last year will be screened at the Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center, 201 S. Magnolia Ave.

    With titles such as Grizzly Girl by Destiny Deming, Mirrored Canvas by Christine Paul, Ape and Turtle Versus the Fire Monster by Rick Lee, and Burp by Benjamin L. Gill, there’s a little something for all film fans. Some of the films have mature themes and language, so viewer discretion is advised.

    Three student films that were submitted and accepted by the festival for competition are:

  • Farmer Glorp – animation co-directed by Bryan Colvin and Timothy Keebler about an annoyed alien farmer watching his sunflower crops on the sun.
  • The Moth Effect – animation co-directed by Jackie Baldoquin and Haley Vallandingham and inspired by a mother trying to cook while being pestered by a fly.
  • Home – science fiction by David Pace about a mysterious vagabond who must make a choice about the struggles he witnesses once he finds out he cannot return home.
  • The rest of the festival weekend at the Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center 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 on Saturday during the festival, a workshop will be offered for middle and high school students to see what it is like to be on a working film set, and a panel of visiting filmmakers will present a discussion and Q&A on techniques, tips and current projects. All the workshops and panels are free.

    For a schedule of films, events and ticket information, visit the festival website. And for updates: