EL PASO – Film students from the University of Texas at El Paso and El Paso Community College yanked their movies out of their computers and projected them for everyone to view at the third annual Student Film Festival.
“The biggest tragedy in filmmaking is for a film to stay in a hard drive. This is what you want, a venue where people can see your work,” said Robert Gutierrez, digital media production professor at UTEP.
Gutierrez said the collaboration between the two schools worked as a pipeline so that EPCC students can see what to expect when they transfer to UTEP.
“I think the students, before, used to produce for just their friends, but now they know that other people are watching, so that raises their quality of their work,” Gutierrez said.
According to Gutierrez, the event seems to be going in a good direction and it will create a better learning environment for the students.
“I think this event helps them to take ownership of their work and take pride in what they have done,” Gutierrez said.
The film festival is part of a larger event called the Annual Spring Arts Festival hosted by EPCC. The arts festival consists of a series of events throughout the spring semester that are art related.
Lisa Elliott, assistant professor of mass communication at EPCC, who is in charge of the film part of the festival, said the event is growing and the board members are hoping to migrate to UTEP next year since it’s a bigger venue.
“We have been building it slowly from year to year. The first year it was just an exhibition of films from one of the classes, last year we opened it up to all EPCC students and this year is the first partnered with UTEP. We want to move it to a bigger community, so not only students from both universities attend but the whole (El Paso) community,” Elliott said.
The exhibit consists of 13 videos from students attending both universities.
“It’s such a unique experience to watch your film with an audience, its something that students in this area have no opportunity to do, so we want to motivate them to continue doing films but also to submit their work to event like these so they can improve their resume,” Elliott said.
The festival was open to submissions from anyone attending EPCC or UTEP; most entries were from UTEP students. “It’s more UTEP heavy than EPCC,” Elliott said.
The videos featured at the event had already been picked by three jurors, although no winner was declared. Only the top four in each category were able to make it into the event. There were four categories to choose from: music videos, fiction feature (short film), documentary and promotional video.
“This is the first year that we have enough submissions that we had to have jurors,” Elliott said. “Before, it was if you submit then most likely you will get in, so this is where it gets more competitive.”
The three jurors were Liz Chavez, documentary filmmaker, Carlos Corral, short film and promotional video maker, and Ramon Villa, EPCC and UTEP professor.
Jose Cortez, a digital media production major at UTEP, said that he feels good about his work being exhibited. Cortez had three of his entries picked by the judges to be featured at the event. He said he is glad his work was selected among all the entries.
One of his three entries was a documentary on DJ Liz (Elizabeth Lopez), who is on her way to fame. His other two entries were a short animation film, which was something Cortez had always wanted to do and a music video, which was collaboration with other students.
“I was a little bit disappointed because I had a short film that I put a lot of effort into, and I was really proud of it, but it wasn’t picked,” Cortez said.
Cortez, whose dream job is to be a film director, said that he tries hard when it comes to school and submitting his work to events such as the film festival.
“I want to make money so I am putting a lot of effort into my work right now,” Cortez said. “I’m trying to learn as much as I can.”