Grounds Profile: University of Virginia

Twelfth in a series of articles from our visits to colleges and universities that are invited to participate in the 2018 College Film Awards.

Virginia’s flagship university can be proud of many accomplishments — its world class research hospital, spectacular business school, international academic reputation, and rich history. Perhaps someday U.Va. can add a high achieving film school to that list.

Puzzling to us, this gem of a university hosts the east coast’s largest and most prestigious film festival, the Virginia Film Festival, every November. Yet, Virginia students are rendered to a largely passive role during the week-long celebration. They watch films of visiting professionals, listen to panel discussions by writers and directors, and absorb the fun and excitement of Charlottesville’s Hollywood moment.

Our efforts to locate a U.Va. faculty member as a liaison with the student film community in the past two years have been futile. The course curriculum for cinema studies is taught by adjunct professors who come and go. Film is not a major at this major university.

We visited the grounds of Thomas Jefferson’s college recently and met directly with student filmmakers. They were excited to learn that their creative work can be submitted for free to our college competition this year through our website. Some students are interested in submitting to our documentary short competition as well.

No doubt — University of Virginia students are among the brightest, high energy young people in the Commonwealth. The prospect of receiving their short films for our judges is more exciting to us than an ACC basketball championship.

We welcome U.Va. to our list of invited schools. Go Cavaliers!

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