Film festival gives students a greater audience for their work

Lisa Elliott, assistant professor at EPCC, and Bobby Gutierrez, senior lecturer at UTEP, present student work at the third annual Student Film Festival. (Alejandro Alba/

Lisa Elliott, assistant professor at EPCC, and Bobby Gutierrez, senior lecturer at UTEP, present student work at the third annual Student Film Festival. (Alejandro Alba/

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 Student Film Festival was part of the 36th Annual Spring Arts Festival at EPCC. (Alejandro Alba/

The Student Film Festival was part of the 36th Annual Spring Arts Festival at EPCC. (Alejandro Alba/

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.”




1 Comment

  1. dorindamoreno on

    Pueblos en Movimiento Norte

    Congrats on this student conference which inspires my sending the below announcement and invitation to join with us as our group goes forward with the challenge of developing a 3-day film festival in New Mexico in relation to our cross-border challenge in honoring the 60th Anniversary of the classic film, ‘Salt of the Earth’, and the FMG initiative honoring this momentous occasion, herewith present the following action: , Also, our invitation to join with our intent to gather for a social media blitz and meetup in T or C over the 4th of July weekend, and our hope to inspired delegations from Albuquerue, Las Vegas, Las Cruces and surrounds to meet and see the film (after confirmations are locked in). hope that this message may be shared with Alejandro Alba/Borderzine, Robert Gutierrez, UTEP, digital media production; Liz Chavez, documentary film maker, Carlos Corral, short fil and video production, Ramon Villa, UTEP; Jose Cortez, digital media, UTEP; DJ Liz, Elizabeth Lopez, documentary, and perhaps to place in associated news bulletins, for supporting our campaign and plan of action in bringing ‘Salt of the Earth’ be recognized nationally as merited.
    Thank you for reading and responding,
    Se Puede!
    Dorinda Moreno
    ‘Out Of Dynamite and Darkness’: The Women’s Question/Ladies Auxiliary, preparatory and kickoff, March 8, 2014.

    Please receive this ‘Call for Participation’ towards building a national campaign for International Women’s Day 2014, to Commemorate and Celebrate this historic film. As part of our goals is the development of a film festival and series of events across the nation that shall focus on Chicano, Mexican American and Women’s Studies Departments, as well as community cultural centers and organizations.

    A National Calendar of Events is offered for listing honoring events in solidarity and we invite all groups to join with this historic build up in Commemoration and Celebration of the classic film’s 60th Anniversary National Observations. A link to view the film is provided below.

    Let us know if you wish to be kept updated on this important campaign for putting ‘Salt of the Earth’ front page across the nation and beyond.

    Please click the links and see this compelling film, it will make your day…

    Salt of the Earth (1954) 92 min – an American drama film … Based on an actual strike against the Empire Zinc Mine in New Mexico, the film deals with the prejudice against the Mexican-American workers… Directed by Herbert J. Biberman. Starring Juan Chacón.

    Proyecto 40-40, Honoring Los Maestros y Maestras de Ethnic Studies, the Banned Books and Authors, Black Listed Film and Deported Mexican Actress, Rosaura Revueltas, (RIP) whose granddaughters shall be special guests,

    Please contact ‘Pueblos En Movimiento’ for schedule itinerary for International Women’s Day 2014 planning circle.

    Watch the film here,

    Salt of the Earth (1954) – Free Movie Download …
    Salt of the Earth, Directed by: Herbert Biberman Based on an actual strike against the Empire Zinc Mine in New Mexico, the film deals with the prejudice against …

    Ladies Auxiliary/The Women’s Question:
    Dorinda Moreno makes a special call for hearing from the families and supporters of these heroes and sheroes of this era, and willing being interviewed for a special “Legacy @ Destiny News Journal” special Salt of the Earth edition.

    Also, please be advised that a planning retreat will be announced for July 2013 in New Mexico for Steering and Reception Committees, and we would appreciate your RSVP and expressed interest at your early convenience. Space will be limited. Travel is not covered, and Lodging is available at reasonable rates.

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