I’m pleased to share my experience attending the 71st University of Film and Video Association (UFVA) Conference held at California State University-Los Angeles in August, 2017. I had known about this conference for many years, but it was my first time in attendance. The UFVA Conference hosted around 800 Film and Media Professors from all over the world including NYU, Emerson, Boston University, Columbia College, UCLA, University of Texas, SMU, Singapore Technological Institute, and many others. The conference was a four-day conference and it certainly did not disappoint.
Each year the UFVA Conference is held at a different university. The theme of the 71st UFVA Conference was Media Diversity: Inclusion and Convergence. The official site to the University of Film and Video Association website is http://www.ufva.org. The full schedule of events can be viewed at: http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.ufva.org/resource/resmgr/UFVA_2017_Final_Program.pdf.
This conference was unlike anything I’ve ever attended because it was an Education Conference, University Conference, Teaching Conference, Technology Conference, and Film Conference all in one. The conference planned four sessions a day, each lasting about an hour and 45 minutes. The sessions included Panels, Workshops, Screenwriting, Screenings, and Caucuses.
The panel choices showcased an assortment of ten distinctive topics per session. The panelists were professors from various universities whom are experts on a specific issue or passionate about their presentation. The presentations and panel options varied across a wide breadth of subjects, so there was a level of interest for every professor whether teaching for one year or 30 years.
Below is a list of some of the panels I attended:
- 21st Century Directing through Post-Production
- 360 Degree Cinema
- Cannes Film Festival for Students and Faculty
- Designing Interactive Narratives
- Directing in a Holistic Process
- Entertainment Marketing
- Evolution of Split Screen
- International Filmmaking
- Storytelling for Virtual Reality
- Teaching Students Fair Use
- The Place of the Video Essay
As the panels took place, about three workshops were simultaneously happening. The workshops mostly focused on technical hands-on practices with software or hardware. Some of the workshops were Green Screen/Compositing, Sound Editing with Davinci Resolve, Arri Cameras, Arri Lighting, Screenwriting with Final Draft 10, 4K Editing with Final Cut Pro, Using AccuSkills, Tenure and Promotion, 360 Degree Documentary Production, Writing for VR, Collaboration with Students, Sound Design, Viewpoints in 360 Degree Cinema, and Live Event Production. The hands-on workshops kept things fresh and engaging for the professors. The workshops were extremely helpful in how to effectively teach various technologies in the classroom.
Multiple screenwriting sessions were held throughout the day. I only joined one screenwriting session, but it appeared like it was structured for Peer Evaluation. In the session, the colleagues all read through the script together and then the Peer Evaluator gave notes and constructive feedback afterwards. It was very much set up like a Peer Evaluation of a research paper or book. I may try to complete a script for Peer Evaluation and Peer Review next year.
For the screening portion, professors from across the U.S. submitted their completed work of art. Their film was scheduled at a specific time and date with a Peer Review Evaluator attached to the project. During the screening, the Peer Evaluator takes notes and then immediately gives an evaluation with feedback on the completed work. It is then opened up to other colleagues in the audience for questions and constructive criticism. I only attended one screening, but learned the process of how a film goes through Peer Review Evaluation. I’m hoping to have a short film to exhibit next year for a Peer Review Evaluation to support the tenure process.
The Caucus sessions were mainly roundtable discussions on issues and solutions for future UFVA conferences. The Caucus sessions were comprised of the Inclusion and Diversity Caucus, Gender Caucus, Environmental Caucus, Script Caucus, New Media Caucus, Entertainment Industry Caucus, History and Theory Caucus, Graduate Student Caucus, and Documentary Caucus. I was present for most of the caucus sessions and found them very informative. The caucus sessions are a platform to address concerns or adjustments to the board, so that the committee understands what works or needs to be improved for future conferences.
To sum up the 71st Annual UFVA Conference, it was very eye opening going as a first timer, not knowing exactly what to expect. This is a conference I am looking forward to attending each year. I plan on presenting on two panels next year, one with another professor from the University of South Carolina and other another presentation as a solo presenter on Asians in Media. I also hope to submit a piece of work for Peer Review Evaluation. That being said, I am hoping to be an active participant in future UFVA Conferences, as well as serving on the board.
A COUPLE MORE THINGS
This photo is of Gina Prince-Bythewood, special guest speaker and industry director. An episode of her latest television drama series entitled Shots Fired which airs on Netflix was screened. It examines the dangerous aftermath of two racially charged shootings in a small Southern town, providing an explosive autopsy of our criminal justice system. Ms. Bythewood has previously directed Love and Basketball, and attached to direct the new Spiderman spinoff film, entitled Silver and Black set to release in theaters in 2019.
This image features a presentation from Assistant Professor Laura Zaylea from Temple University about Interactive Media. In the image are projects that Professor Zaylea’s students have created. It was the first time I had heard about this method of storytelling and filmmaking.
Usually a film has one ending; but in this class, it allows two or three endings to be created. The software used for this Interactive Media class is called Eko Studio.The software acts much like a website as it creates multiple different routes. Of course, two different endings or versions must be shot on camera separately. In doing so, the audience or class has the option to choose Path A or Path B for the main character. This class is next level engagement. I would love to incorporate this software and teach this type of class at Vanguard University.