Theatre UAB focuses on film with “Above the Line” festival

Enjoy 35 free, short films in two hours when Theatre UAB presents its third annual film fest Sept. 29, featuring works by UAB students.

With 140 actors in 35 short films, ranging from horror to romance, drama to comedy, the UAB Department of Theatre promises this year’s digital film festival will be the best in the event’s three-year history.

The “Above the Line” film festival will kick off at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, in the UAB Mary Culp Hulsey Recital Hall, 950 13th St. South. Admission is free and open to the public. Call the Department of Theatre at 205-934-3236 or visit www.uab.edu/cas/theatre.

This year’s festival will have a running time of two hours. In addition to the films, there are two mock commercials and a music video. The audience can vote on Best Film, Best Actor and Best Actress after the films are shown. One film, “The Unexpected,” was written and directed by senior Desiree Baird of Gardendale, who is hearing impaired. The music for her film was written by UAB Music adjunct faculty member Brian Moon. Another film, “Bengali Remembrance,” was written and directed by senior Shahed Khan of Toney, who is from Bangladesh.

In addition to the 140 actors involved, there are nearly as many people who worked as crew for the various productions. Many viewers will recognize locations on campus where films or scenes were shot. Three short festival trailers can be seen on the TheatreUABfilms Facebook page.

The “Above the Line” film festival will kick off at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, in the UAB Mary Culp Hulsey Recital Hall. Admission is free and open to the public. Call the Department of Theatre at 205-934-3236 or visit www.uab.edu/cas/theatre.

All but six of the films are written and directed by UAB students, says Ron Hubbard, festival director and UAB associate professor, who teaches stage combat and fight choreography for Theatre UAB productions, as well as classes on acting for the camera and filmmaking as part of the department’s interdisciplinary film minor. Hubbard wrote and directed the mock commercials. The music video was directed by June Mack, for the song “Nuevo Sol” by Festival Expressions, a Birmingham band. Ninety percent of the films were made by UAB students of communications or theater, Hubbard says; other films were made by students majoring in business and one was made by a student studying architecture.

Two films were written and directed by Hubbard’s grandson, 11-year-old Ian Hubbard, who says he plans to come to UAB to become a filmmaker when he graduates from high school. His films are eligible for the festival because they feature a Theatre UAB student or faculty member — his grandfather.

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