UT3D film students create program’s first film

Danielle Lopez

UT’s first student-created 3-D film is a three-dimensional world of gleaming knights, majestic woods and dangerous weapons.     

This October, the first students to have completed the University’s undergraduate 3-D film program, UT3D, will present “Midsummerfest.” UT3D is a one-year-old film program available to any student who applies and is interested in learning the mechanics behind three-dimensional production techniques. 

UT3D’s curriculum is made up of an introductory course, an advanced course and a required internship or special project. The program trains students to create the three-dimensional effect in their films using cameras that are positioned to mimic the human eyes’ depth perception.        

“Midsummerfest” follows Kevin, a daydreaming misfit who works at a Renaissance festival, as he and the other performers learn to coexist in the same apartment. Kevin begins to flash between reality and his imagination, in which the Renaissance fair is no longer just a performance but a real-life adventure. 

“We were thinking about genres and stories that would lend itself to 3-D and stuff we were interested in like ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Lord of the Rings,’” said Christine Young, the film’s director and radio-television-film senior. 

Students began working on “Midsummerfest” last spring with the intention of creating a television pilot.   

“[Young] wrote the idea in our screenwriting class and the 3-D version kindled from there,” said Alexandra Gould, costume director and radio-television-film senior. “Our main goal is to stray away from the gimmicky idea of what 3-D is. We believe it’s the next step in film, like color after black and white.”

With a crew of 25 people and a budget under $2,000, the team filmed the movie throughout the summer. “Midsummerfest” is about five minutes long and intends to introduce the characters and convey a preview of what could be accomplished with greater resources.

“It’s a miracle every film gets made with the amount of work you have to do,” said Simon Quiroz, supervisor and UT3D instructor. “I said, ‘Take what you want to showcase and take it as a learning experience. Let it be something that is going to be manageable.’”

The team intends to enter the film into a series of 3-D and 2-D festivals, along with distributing it online. Eventually, the students will pitch their television series to 3-D channels in need of content, such as Discovery 3-D. 

“We want 3-D to be a part of regular television networks and be an option for a lot of content some day, so we’re trying to push that idea,” Gould said. 

When the project first began, the students created a fund-raising campaign for $8,000 on Indiegogo, a crowdfunding website, but did not reach their goal. Now that “Midsummerfest” is nearly ready for showing, they are starting a new Indiegogo campaign to fund leftover production costs and their entrances into festivals. 

Though the program is still in its developmental stages, the students agree that they feel satisfied with the UT3D program. 

“We were kind of the test subjects,” said Andrea Tuttrup, the film’s producer and radio-television-film senior. “But I definitely think it gives us a leg up just knowing how to use the 3-D equipment and knowing the science behind it.”

UT3D has inspired many of its students to continue working with 3-D after they complete the program.  

“It sparked my prospective career path; this is what I want to do with my career,” Young said. “I’ve learned so many technical and storytelling skills. I feel I’m extremely marketable to 3-D projects that are going on now and in the future.”