Film @ UPRM an Exploding Trend of Creativity

By: Derly Perez

October 27th 2011

 When the Film Certificate was first installed in the Department of English at the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez (UPRM) in 1994 few believed it would become more than mere group of free electives. The first graduating class consisted of five committed students from diverse backgrounds but today, as the years have been passing by, the program has developed a strong following of students that with talent and creativity have exalted the program to new heights. This has been due to the innovation of new courses and the student Society of Film. By incorporating the UPRM community in activities and opening the workshops to them people have started to really feel the presence of the Certificate in the University.


In light of the successful outcome students now have more opportunities to discover exactly what it takes to partake in the film industry and how to produce their own short films. As part of the 21 credits, required by certificate hopefuls, there is one dedicated to Special Topics Workshop. This year the students were particularly happy with the offering of a Sound Workshop that took place on October 18-20 respectively. Fran Casillas, in his last semester of the Certificate, was very glad with the news of this workshop and stated that “This is great because sound is one of the most important parts of making a film and one where more mistakes can be made.” Mary Leonard, Director of the Film Certificate, shares Mr. Casillas view on the matter and it is the fundamental reason why she decided to call upon Margarita Aponte to fulfill the task of teaching the students everything they needed to know in order to have the best sound possible, on a budget, on their next short films. Margarita Aponte is a professor from the Escuela Internacional de Cine y Television San Antonio de los Banos in Cuba and her specialty is Sound and Audiovisuals.


The students arrived to Chardon Building and were intrigued by the amount of equipment they found in the classroom. Alexander Rodriguez, another student participant, felt exited and let it out by sharing “It was great to see we were going to actually use the equipment and learn hands on.” The students spent the first two days of the workshop learning about the theory of sound and how they could apply them in order to put the knowledge to good use that Sunday where they would produce a short film.


One of the students, Apu Blanco, is a producer in the University’s Radio Station Radio Colegial and he was very impressed at everything he learned. “Now I can help enhance the quality of our programming in Radio Colegial this was truly Godsend” he replied when asked if he had enjoyed the workshop. These 11 student participants underwent a huge challenge when they had to shoot a film during the afternoon of the last day of the workshop. “It was a challenge because we had to write a script, shoot and edit in less than 24 hours. It wasn’t easy but we are really happy with the result. The short film is very fun.” Fran Casillas mentioned of the Sunday experience.

This activity and its outcome is further proof that the Film Certificate at UPRM is growing and providing the tools for its students to be truly capable and successful in the field. For those who are planning of attending Film School it provides further opportunities to organize a successful creative portfolio.



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