June 17, 2011 — Coral Gables — From historical documentaries to slick action thrillers, this year’s ’Canes Film Festival L.A. Showcase featured a variety of films that showcased the talents of emerging filmmakers from the University of Miami School of Communication’s Motion Pictures Program.
During the fourth annual event, held in collaboration with the University of Miami Alumni Association on May 26 at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles, School of Communication student filmmakers relished the opportunity to screen their films for top industry leaders and alumni working in the entertainment business.
Nine films from undergraduate and graduate students were screened this year for a full audience that included UM alums and actors Ray Liotta, B.F.A. ’77, and Aisha Hinds, B.F.A. ’98 (Detroit 1-8-7, True Blood).
Special guest Jon Landau, the Academy Award-winning producer of Avatar, delivered welcoming remarks. A reception and networking event for the students followed.
“It is with great pleasure that we present these emerging filmmakers and their works to the industry’s elite, many of whom were sitting here not too long ago,” said Konstantia “Dia” Kontaxis, director of the school’s motion picture program. “Our students’ voices and creativity abound in these films and truly show that filmmaking in Miami has arrived.”
The films featured at Paramount were judged the best of the 2011 ’Canes Film Festival held earlier in the month. Film festival judges and School of Communication alumni who also attended the event included Carlos Coto, B.S.C. ’88, television producer and writer of such series as Nikita, NCIS, and 24; and Erin Moyer, B.S.C. ’01, supervising producer, NBC.com at NBC Universal.
“I’m never surprised by the immense talent that the School of Communication displays from year to year at this event, but consistently delighted and impressed,” Moyer said. “I’m always thrilled to be a part of such an amazing community of artists with the common bond of the U.”
Just moments before their films appeared on the giant screen, students sat nervously with programs in hand.
“I am blown away by this whole experience. Here I am at Paramount Studios and my movie is playing on a 30-foot screen. It’s everything I could ask for and more,” said Noah Debonis, B.S.C. ’06, director and editor of the comedy After You and a motion picture graduate student.
“To get to show my film here in Paramount is so exciting,” said Noelis Marquez, also a motion picture graduate student and the director of Encajes, a documentary about the Puerto Rican craft of bobbin-lace. “Making films is a more accessible, creative, and entertaining way to educate people. I am so happy to be here.”
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