The University of Texas at Austin
  • UTFI produces first all-student feature film

    By Wunmi Bakare
    Wunmi Bakare
    Published: Aug. 25, 2008

    RTF graduate student Marcel Rodriguez is the director of photography, RTF senior Sam Avila is the art director and College of Fine Arts graduate Yvonne Boudreaux is the production designer.

    “This film took the lead because of the performance aspect,” Boudreaux says. “I and Mike Dolan, had a really good foundation during pre-production, especially when we were on location scouts. Everyday, I had to stay on top of the three aspects of production design, the present, which is on set, the past, which is wrapping out the location that was seen before, and the future, which is what will be seen tomorrow.”

    As production designer, Boudreaux creates a canvas for the actors along with cinematographer, Brian Nelligan, based on the director’s needs for the space.

    “We save a lot of time by having good communication among the director, the cinematographer and the production team,” Boudreaux says.

    The production process spanned both summer sessions, with full-scale pre-production taking place in the first session and five weeks of principal photography during the second session.

    The crew includes 40-50 graduate and undergraduate students from the Department of RTF, College of Fine Arts (Theater and Dance), School of Architecture, McCombs School of Business, School of Law and the Michener Center.

    Professionals from the local filmmaking community are mentoring students in each production department. These include producer Elizabeth Avellan (“Desperado” and “Once Upon Time in Mexico”), casting director Beth Sepko (“Office Space” and “Miss Congeniality”) and actress Dana Wheeler-Nicholson (“Tombstone” and “Friday Night Lights”).

    Post-production will continue in the fall semester under the supervision of the Department of RTF’s Keefe Boerner, formerly of Troublemaker Studio, who was visual effects coordinator on many Robert Rodriguez films.

    “While success on the film festival circuit or even at the box office would be welcome,” says Smith, “the ultimate goal is to give students an experience they can’t get at any other university – creating their very own professionally made feature film with industry guidance and mentorship.”

    Will Crest, production office assistant for “Dance with the One” believes the film is a great collaboration between university departments with the common goal of making the best film possible.

    “What better way to learn how to make a movie than by going out there and doing it?” Crest says. “Seeing the finished film will be super cool, but just being a part of the project is the real excitement and reward.”

    UTFI is still accepting applications for post-production in the fall semester. Applicants must be University of Texas at Austin students or recent alumni who participated in the UTFI program.

    For information about UTFI and “Dance with the One,” visit

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