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Student film festival showcases UA talent

photo courtesy of Darren Biggs and Andrew McCabe
Hung Hai (Hung Dinh) kicks at Kojiro (Darren Biggs) in the final fight scene of the film short, "Kung Fu Legend II: Turbo Edition." The scene was shot at Agua Caliente Park in Tucson.
By Nathan Tafoya
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, April 29, 2004
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After viewing his peers' films in a campus installation project last year, Chris de Barros, a media arts senior, decided to initiate a student film festival in order to showcase more student work to the public.

Last year, the film festival took place at the UA. Tomorrow night, the UA's second student film festival, OneNightFilmFest, will happen at the Loft Cinema.

De Barros said the film festival, which begins at 9 p.m., will last approximately two hours, including a 10-minute intermission and prize distribution.

Because of time constraints, a panel of four judges chose to screen only 13 of the 30 films submitted. All films are UA student work, with the exception of one from Pima Community College.

"I've seen some really, really good work in class, amazing work come from students," de Barros said, explaining his motivations to create the festival. "And it sucks, because they are only shown in class. We critique them and that's it. You throw it in the closet and you don't see it for another 20, 30 years."

With the film festival, which is part of de Barros' internship with the Loft Cinema, de Barros said he hopes to let the public see the creativity students at the UA are producing in terms of film.

If you go ...

The Loft Cinema, tomorrow at 9 p.m., $4.50 for students, $7.50 general admission

One of the films to be screened - a four-minute documentary by Luke Howell entitled "Do You Find Me Attractive?" - involves Howell asking people around campus if they think he's attractive.

"I'm fascinated with the way people expect certain things from certain people who look a certain way," said Howell, a media arts junior. "So I decided to play with that by putting on the beard and going without a haircut for a few weeks and dressing a certain way, messing with people's expectations."

The documentary gets some humorous responses, including a man who delves into a lengthy discussion about the abstract and intrinsic nature of beauty.

"That guy was like, a godsend," said Howell. "He was a goldmine."

Also on the showcase menu, is Darren Biggs' "Kung Fu Legends II: Turbo Edition." The film is told in the format of a video game, complete with bleeps, dings and glowing eyes.

Biggs, a media arts junior, plays the antagonistic ÔKojiro­ in this 12-minute short noted by de Barros for its special effects, done by Biggs' high school friend and computer science junior, Adrian Sotomayor.

The two, along with physiological sciences senior Hung Dinh, made their first kung fu film when they were still in high school. Its popularity among their peers, along with new editing software, encouraged the three to make a sequel their freshman year at the UA.

Biggs called the sci-fi short both playful and funny.

"For people who grew up playing video games and who understand kung fu movies and who are into those types of things - they'll understand a lot of the jokes," Biggs said.

Media arts senior Mike Skvarla's experimental film "Decay" is narrated in Russian with English subtitles. While translated phrases such as "The structure is deteriorating" and "I ejaculate ink" flash on the screen, red liquid oozes in the background, giving the effect of, you got it, decay.

De Barros said the film festival will include film genres ranging from comedy and animation to romance.

Prizes, including small trophies and approximately $200 to be divvied up, will be given for the best short and the best documentary. There will also be an audience award.

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