This showcase will shine the spotlight on student films from the U of A | Movies

For the first time since 2019, the University of Arizona School of Theater, Film & Television will screen its student films at the Fox Tucson Theater downtown.

Homecoming on Saturday, May 7 at 7 p.m. will feature a dozen student films that run the gamut from comedy, drama, horror, and documentary. Each film lasts approximately 10 minutes.

“I’m so impressed with this year’s crop of films. There is an incredible diversity of subject matter, but all of the films get right to the emotional heart of the story,” UA faculty member Jacob Bricca said in a written statement. “Whether they come at it with comedic, dramatic, or absurd sensibility, they all find a way to bring authentic humanity and pathos to the screen.”

Bricca also praised the cast of the theater program for bringing “their ‘A’ game”; they were willing to go to very vulnerable places and achieved moments of genuine grace and subtlety.

This is the 17th edition of I Dream in Widescreen, the annual showcase of top thesis films students have created throughout the 2021-22 school year. The shorts explore topics ranging from social media rivalry to drag queen discrimination to public-access television gone wrong.

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The films will compete for awards from a panel of industry professionals, including Claudette Godfrey, lead film programmer for major Austin music and arts festival SXSW; Paul Pennolino, a UA alumnus and Peabody Award-winning director of “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”; and Jeff Yanc, another former UA and program director at Loft Cinema, southern Arizona’s leading independent arthouse cinema.

Over the past two showcases, UA student films have earned nearly 50 official selections at national and international film festivals, including Alexandra Cerna’s 2021 film “Treasures Beneath My Tree,” which was screened at the Los Angeles, Seattle, Brooklyn and Chicago Children’s Film Festivals. and is part of a six-month exhibition at the Center for Creative Photography. Roxanna Denise Stevens Ibarra’s film “Tesoro” has screened at more than a dozen film festivals, including the Oscar-qualified Urbanworld Film Festival. She recently won a scholarship to Edutopia, the educational foundation created by George Lucas.

In a UA School of Theatre, Film & Television premiere, Faye Ruiz’s film “The Lights Are On, No One’s Home” has been acquired by Dedza Films and Kino Lorber for national distribution, officials said. UA school.

Among this year’s films is Linda Paola Varela’s “I’m Just Trying to Help,” a sci-fi drama with soap opera/telenovela undertones.

“It was important for me to make a film about a subject that many of us (but especially Latinos) deal with, which is the pressure to hide our true emotions and pretend that everything is fine for the comfort of others,” “, Varela said in a written statement. “…This film was inspired by the question: what if there was a way to be happy all the time?

Andy Zhao’s “Eyes on Me” is among the short films screened as part of the I Dream in Widescreen event.

Courtesy of the University of Arizona

Andy Zhao also dabbled in science fiction in his thriller “Eyes on Me,” the story of an Asian-American nurse whose patient is not who he claims to be. The patient apparently wants to steal the nurse’s face. (Not quite a spoiler alert: It’s inspired by white British influencer Oli London, who underwent 18 plastic surgeries to look like a member of Korean boy band BTS.)

Zhao, who was born in Tucson and raised in Sierra Vista, said he spent two years writing the film, which he admits was far from his turn.

“I absolutely hate horror movies, so that was a really strange area for me to explore,” he said in a phone call last week. “I managed to endure it.”

It is Zhao’s longest film project. As a teenager, the 21-year-old made short videos after falling in love with movies thanks to the early Lego Stop Motion videos that were popular on YouTube when he was in elementary school.

Zhao said he hopes to launch his career as a freelance assistant cameraman in Tucson with plans to move to Los Angeles later this year.

Zoe Lambert’s “Changing of the Guard” is the filmmaker’s second documentary on the University of Arizona women’s basketball team.

Courtesy of the University of Arizona

Zoe Lambert, originally from Tucson, got into documentary filmmaking with “Changing of the Guard,” a film about the rise of the UA women’s basketball team. In 2020, Lambert made a documentary about UA women’s head coach Adia Barnes.

“I’ve kind of been watching UA sports since I was little, so it’s so cool to come full circle,” said Lambert, 29, who took a few years off after high school before enrolling in the AU in 2018.

Lambert followed the team for most of the season, but his thesis project deadline came before the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats lost in the second round to North Carolina.

“They deserve so much credit for what they did,” Lambert said of the team, which granted him free access to players and practices throughout his shoot. “It’s such an amazing story.”

Lambert said she would like to continue making sports documentaries that shine more light on female athletes.

“I’m super passionate about women’s sports and telling their stories,” she said.

Tickets are $5 at or at the door of Fox, 17 W. Congress St.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at [email protected] On Twitter @Starburch

About Monty S. Maynard

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