TCF Student Wins Scholarship for 3D Tornado Film

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – University of Alabama New College/Telecommunication and Film media production student Xavier Burgin, a senior from Columbus, Miss., was awarded a $5,000 scholarship as winner of the inaugural 3D Movie Award at the Campus MovieFest International Grand Finale, held June 23-26 in Hollywood, Calif.

“Portrait of the Storm” provided an up-close look at the tornado that swept through Tuscaloosa on April 27 and included personal accounts from survivors as scenes of the devastation filled the screen.

“I wanted to make this because this is something the media will talk about for a few months and then move on,” Burgin said. “People start forgetting what happened, but this is still going on. It’s sort of what we’ve seen happen in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. And I felt like Alabama and Tuscaloosa especially will at some point have that same problem, so I wanted to bring attention to this plight. Stuff is still happening, we are still rebuilding, and it will be some time before we get back to what we were before.”

Burgin originally won Best Drama for his movie “Bottom of a Glass” at The University of Alabama’s local Campus MovieFest competition in February. His movie competed for awards at the international level, and Burgin, a member of Campus MovieFest’s Distinguished Filmmakers Network (DFN), was offered the opportunity to use a Panasonic 3D camera to enter the first ever student 3D film festival hosted by Campus MovieFest, Panasonic and the International 3D Society (I3DS).

Burgin pitched his original 3D film idea of doing a narrative to the CMF 3D Review Team in early April, but after the tornado hit in Tuscaloosa on April 27, he spoke with the CMF staff and changed his film topic. UA Studio Art student Sumerlin Brandon composed an original score for the film, which will be part of a tornado documentary being prepared by a group of students under the direction of TCF professor Dr. Rachel Raimist.

“The fact that this project was the first-place winner, out of 50 CMF teams selected to compete, is not surprising,” Raimist said. “Xavier told a compelling story with beautifully shot imagery. He merged the strength of 3D (showing dimensionality and depth) with camera movement (achieved using TCF equipment). He borrowed a TCF Glidetrack, a tripod with a tripod head seated atop a sliding rod that you push slowly, to achieve short tracking shots and maximized his ability to take the audience inside the story. Who has ever seen some intimate images of destruction? Who has been so closely and visually inside the aftermath of such a powerful storm? By layering personal narratives through voice-over, with powerful imagery and a beautifully haunting soundtrack, Xavier produced a film that deserved to win.”

“Bottom of a Glass” also competed in the Best Drama category. Other team members were Rene Gromotka, a sophomore from Stuttgart, Germany, majoring in mechanical engineering; and Joe Will Field, a sophomore from Tuscaloosa.

Several other students were awarded top honors at the 2011 Campus MovieFest finale including the teams who created the comedy “Sugarbaby” and the clay animation movie “Blue Barry.”

“Sugarybaby” was honored as a Top 5 Comedy and as one of the Top 28 films out of hundreds at the finale. Students who worked on the film “Sugarbaby” include Andrew Carey, a May 2011 graduate from Mobile who majored in telecommunication and film; Micah Russell, a senior from Huntsville majoring in telecommunications and film; Hamilton Henson, a senior from Toney majoring in telecommunications and film; Kayla Terry, a May 2011 graduate from Tuscaloosa who majored in public relations; and Christopher Dumas, a senior from Mobile majoring in theatre.

“Blue Barry,” was also honored as one of the Top 28 films at the finale. Students who worked on the film “Blue Barry” include Thomas Coiner, a senior from Nixo, Mo., majoring in telecommunication and film; and Sarah Selleck, a senior from Hoover, majoring in nursing.

“I am very proud of all of the TCF media production students who compete in Campus Movie Fest,” Raimist said. “I get excited when TCF students compete in CMF. I see them put the theory and methods that we teach through classroom exercises to the test. I see the students work hard and collaboratively, and I see them make deadlines.”

Campus MovieFest, the world’s largest student film festival, brought together hundreds of students from 75 universities worldwide to compete for Best Picture, Comedy, Drama, Wild Card Audience Choice, Golden Tripod Awards and the first event CMF 3D Award.

The Ferguson Center and Campus MovieFest have partnered together for four years to bring the world-renowned Campus MovieFest student film festival to The University of Alabama campus. The Ferguson Center staff promotes CMF on campus and serves as the location for equipment drop-off and pick up as well as the site for the red carpet finale where the top films on campus are announced.

Money for travel to the International Grand Finale was provided to students by the Ferguson Center, Creative Campus Initiative and the Blount Undergraduate Initiative.