The Sooner Theatre rolls out the red carpet this Saturday for Moore Norman Technology Center’s (MNTC) 6th Annual Film Festival showcasing student work from its digital video production (DVP) and graphic design classes.

The eight short films to be showcased were written, produced, directed and edited by MNTC students for their DVP capstone course. Working in tandem, the students in the graphic design capstone created marketing materials for the films, including movie posters and box art. For the original scores and sound design, the filmmakers partnered with students at UCO’s Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM@UCO).

MNTC DVP instructor Amy Smith said that by collaborating with each other, the students gain an understanding of how these different industries interact, and that elevates their work.

“I want the students to understand the realities and nuances of working in a crew-based, collaborative profession,” Smith said. “I want their school experience to reflect what they will find in their careers.”

Unlike other local film programs that are isolated within a university ecosystem, MNTC gets the students from both capstones involved in the local film and design communities by having them pitch their ideas to a panel of professionals that offer feedback and guidance.

“It was very helpful to have the panel of judges come in and listen to our concept ideas,” said DVP student Philip DeFatta. “They helped point out possible problems we might encounter and ways to overcome them, as well as giving us ideas on how to polish our stories.”

According to Smith, the goal is not only to get the students to produce quality work but to show them that there is film and video work to be done in Oklahoma.

“They push themselves harder when they know their work is seen by professionals,” she said.

The partnership with ACM@UCO began 2 years ago. Smith said that the ACM students were eager to collaborate and develop their portfolios.

A jury prize will be awarded to the best movie and best poster design by the same panel of industry professionals who green-lighted the ideas in the fall and winter. In addition to the capstone shorts, first-year DVP students will present four 2-minute shorts, produced in just 8 days and based on randomly selected titles.

Six years into the program, the capstone instructors are still surprised by the creative output of their students.

“Sometimes I forget that most of these students are teenagers,” DVP instructor Joe Magrini said. “When I stop to think about that, I realize how truly remarkable they are.”

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