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Cinema Students Showcase Short Films To Industry Brass at Paramount Studios

    • SoC Cinema students and faculty traveled to the famous Paramount Studios in Los Angeles to showcase their films at the 2012 Canes Film Showcase.
    • SoC Cinema students and faculty traveled to the famous Paramount Studios in Los Angeles to showcase their films at the 2012 Canes Film Showcase.

When the lights went down in the theater of the famous Paramount Studios in Los Angeles, excitement filled the air. Cinema students from the University of Miami School of Communication wouldn’t be watching an action flick from Ridley Scott or a historical epic from Steven Spielberg, they came to see their own short films on the big screen with dozens of Hollywood’s heavy hitters sitting close by.

The 2012 Canes Film Showcase on May 24, 2012, in L.A., featured six short films created by UM students. From comedy to documentary, the students showcased work created over the academic year.  The films originally screened at the Canes Film Festival held earlier in the month.  A panel of UM alumni who are working in the industry chose the top festival films for the L.A. showcase. The winners of the Canes Film Festival's first Feature Screenplay Competition were also invited to Paramount. See photos from the event here.

“I am in between fainting and jumping up and down,” said graduate student Sara Werner, the director and screenwriter of “Aurora, a poignant drama about human trafficking. “This is the most incredible experience of my life. Getting these positive reactions from people after seeing my film really fuels the fire to keep making films.”

After the screening, students had the opportunity to meet and network with 400 alumni and friends of the School working in Hollywood. Graduate student Noah Debonis, the director, screenwriter, cinematographer and editor of “Do Tell”, a documentary about  gay service members stationed on Misawa Airbase in Japan, was continually stopped and congratulated on his film.

“This is what we hope for as filmmakers, people seeing  your work and wanting to be a part of it,” Debonis said. “It’s more than I could ask for.”

Judges said this year’s Canes Film Showcase featured outstanding work.

“There was a good mix of films with every genre represented,” said Alumnus Charles Vignola, B.S.C. ‘88, development director at Bruckheimer Films who was on the judging panel.  "I saw real flashes of talent.”

Alumnus and judge Juan Carlos Coto, B.S.C. ‘ 88, a producer and screenwriter for the popular TV shows “Nikita, “24” and “NCIS”, said he hopes to see these fellow Canes working in film capital of the world someday.

“The films were fantastic, they showed a great range of emotions,” Coto said. “Audiences all over the world crave storytelling and here we are watching these young people take their first steps in storytelling.”

Many students said they appreciated the fan fare.

“It’s really cool to screen your film in a large setting,” said Graduate student Ryan Davenport, the director, editor and screenwriter of “End of Days”, a thriller about a couple’s final moments on Earth. “The great thing about this event is that there is a community of people here who are successful and they come back year after year to cheer us on. That is really something.”

The 2012 Canes Film Showcase featured the following films:
*To watch the films, click here

El Empantanado (trailer) - While on vacation in the Florida Keys, a Colombian kidnap victim must decide whether to punish or forgive his best friend, himself and his wife.
Director - Felipe Echavarria
Producer - Maggie Drayton
Screenwriter - Felipe Echavarria
Cinematographer - David Marcus
Editor | Felipe Echavarria

Aurora - A young woman who has been human trafficked must journey through a wounded abyss of her past so that she may awaken to the beauty of her future. Director - Sara Werner
Producer - Daryl Baboulis-Gyscek
Screenwriter - Sara Werner
Cinematographer - Jonathan Franklin
Editor - Dawn Minkow

Roma - A widow struggles to cope with her husband’s death.
Director - Tim Warren
Producer - Aldo Mendivil & Tim Warren
Screenwriter - Kyle Sullivan & Tim Warren
Cinematographer - Ricardo Manavello
Editor - Tim Warren

End of Days - With a black hole heading toward earth Jacob has one final call to make.
Director - Ryan Davenport
Producer - Brett Feibusch & Josh Picus
Screenwriter - Ryan Davenport
Cinematographer - Allison Basham
Editor - Ryan Davenport

Do Tell - The stories of gay service members stationed on Misawa airbase, a remote outpost in the far reaches of northern Japan.
Director - Noah Debonis
Producer - Laurie Kuntz
Screenwriter - Noah Debonis
Cinematographer - Noah Debonis
Editor - Noah Debonis

Manifest Destiny - Cody struggles to survive high school and home life with Tourette’s syndrome.
Director  - Tim Warren
Producer  - Aldo Mendivil &  Kyle Sullivan
Screenwriter - Kyle Sullivan
Cinematographer  - Ricardo Manavello
Editor - Jokes

Sides of Me – First impressions are everything. aidan and maia want to show the best sides of themselves on their first date.
Director - Will Godar
Producer - Armando Morales & Meg Lewis
Screenwriter - Will Godar
Cinematographer -  Mariola Yersel
Editor  -  Will Godar 

Feature Screenplay Competition Winners:

Keep It In The Family - When 26-year-old Aaron goes to his family reunion, he finds that the hot cousin he’s always had a crush on is actually adopted. So he uses the opportunity to finally make his move on her, only to realize that his other male cousins are doing the same thing.
Screenwriter- Trevor Maxim

The Oliver Brothers - Three emotionally distant brothers take a road trip of self-discovery following the death of their mother.
Screenwriter - Jonathan “Jonzo” Zoerb

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