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UFVA President's Corner



Feb 27th, 2015 – Greetings! Remember the deadline for film & videos, new media, scripts and workshops is 11:59 pm on March 1, 2015. In order to submit a proposal or project, you must be a current member of UFVA. Submissions can address the conference theme of Media with Impact, but are not required to do so. This conference will be a great venue to showcase finished work as well as getting a response to works in progress. Please meet the deadline and join us at American University.


I am happy to announce that our papers and panels submissions for this yearsconference are at all time high. Thank you for following our new procedure of paying your membership dues before your submission. This will allow you to have uninterrupted access to the website and the journal, and continue to keep our membership robust and growing.

For our members interested in all aspects of documentary, I am happy to report that we are collaborating with Cilect North America to provide a one-day pre-conference add on. This will be a unique opportunity for UFVA members to have a different pre-conference experience. Michael Kowalski, Associate Dean of the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman University, will host this pre-conference event in D.C. The day will feature a documentary keynote speaker, exciting professional and academic panels, and distributors of documentary content from the D.C. area.

As you know, UFVA members are considered members of Cilect. The one-day add-on will be reasonably priced, and it will be offered as an option at the time of conference registration. It is our hope to be able to provide different pre-conference events for our caucuses and our membership. Thank you American University for allowing us to try this exciting addition to our program, and thank you Bruce Sheridan and the CNA executive council for forging this bridge between UFVA and Cilect.

I am happy to report that our mid-winter board meeting was a success in Las Vegas. Thanks to Prof. Sheila Schroeder, I am testing a trial run of assigning board members to be responsible for different areas that will help us grow and connect with members. Thank you past president Norm Hollyn for your commitment to continuing to strengthen the industry relationships you established as president.

Here is an immediate benefit for those planning to attend NAB in Las Vegas. NAB would like to extend UFVA a special offer to attend NAB Show! They are offering our members a Free Exhibits-only registration ($150 value) and $100 off the SMART or Conference Flex Pass. Look for the promotion codes in this issue of the UFVA Digest. 

UFVA elections coming soon! See you all in D.C..

– Francisco Menendez, UNLV



Oct 1, 2014 – Welcome back to the reality of our classrooms.  Midterms looming, we balance research and creative work with our service and our teaching. The Bozeman meeting proved to be a grand backdrop for a great conference.  For some of us it was a twenty-year old homecoming, for others a first look at our organization, and, for most, a fruitful reunion of colleagues that share interests in a diverse set of areas within our art form and disciplines.

The best thing about UFVA is it means different things to all its diverse stakeholder groups. At the conference, visual storytellers, traditional and non-traditional, are able to connect with those in each of their areas, and experience presentations and screenings together.  The conference choices are many, we can explore outside our areas, and be surprised by the passion that other members bring to their work.

I am happy to report that we have a signed a three-year contract with University of Illinois Press.  This allows our journal editor, Stephen Tropiano, to finish up his tenure with a press he is familiar with, and a staff he values.  This will also take us into his mentorship of a new journal editor, and our ability to see clearly in three years if the expectations of academic publishing have changed.

It is important that we protect the academic integrity of our journal.  As I reported to our board, some of our members find great value in being published in a refereed, or peer-reviewed, journal from a non-profit university press.  I am currently in a fine arts college where my filmmaking counts as creative work, but I was tenured in a liberal arts college that only understands publication in refereed journals.  That specific unit requires a minimum of two such articles along with the rest of the research, service and teaching in the tenure file.   

I think Stephen has done a tremendous job of editing The Journal of Film and Video, and I cannot imagine how I would feel if his last years required connecting with a new publishing entity.  Thank you for past UFVA editors for your input and guiding us through this renewal process.

In the meantime, a handful of us will attend the Cilect Congress, which will be hosted by Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts in Orange County, California between October 13th  to the 16th  this year.

I will use these quarterly missives to report on the value of your UFVA membership year round, remember that you can attend Cilect as UFVA member.  Next year’s Cilect conference, alternating every other year between congresses, appears to be scheduled for Munich.  So those of you that would like to meet colleagues from the world’s best film schools start planning for this faculty travel.

I want to thank past President Norm Hollyn for having established several initiatives that add tremendous value to the UFVA membership.  It is my intention to keep Norm involved in this role, and develop new relationships and opportunities for our membership.

Meanwhile, start organizing your research, finishing your films and putting the last touches on your screenplays because our call for papers, panels, screenings, and responses will be here before you know it.

We look forward to our August conference at American University in Washington D.C..  Until then, I will ask some of you to be on committees, to keep initiatives in place, and develop new ones.

Welcome to UFVA.


– Francisco Menendez, UNLV



July 1, 2014 – And here we are, about one month away from our conference in Montana. I look forward to seeing many of you there. It promises to be a great meeting.

In the meantime, our annual elections are upon us. This year we have people, both new and old Board members, running for a variety of offices. I like the idea of new blood and the incoming president – Francisco Menendez, from UNLV – will need the same amount of help that I have been getting from the board, perhaps even more because there will be a lot of initiatives that have only begun to get going that will need your help.

The first step is to elect the people who you think can best represent you. Within a day or two, you should be getting an email with a link to your online voting ballot. Please take the time to read the statements that the candidates have prepared so you can get to know them better.

Then, vote. Please vote. Please please please vote. This will be the only way that we can move forward as a group. The deadline for voting is 5pm PDT, Saturday July 24, 2014.

I want to take this opportunity to mention that we are testing out the voting using our new web service, Your Membership. We are still working out the kinks, but you should start seeing the backend advantages of the website soon (this is only the first benefit) and some new front end soon as well. Thanks to our hard working Web Site team for this.

There will be more announcements and business at our conference membership meeting – on Thursday at 3:30. You will get to meet your present board and, hopefully, much of the new board as well.

Finally, you should know that our board meetings are open to all of our members. Beginning last year I instituted a change where we divided the full board meeting into two halves, as opposed to a full day before the conference began. This year, only the first half happens the Tuesday afternoon before the conference begins (August 5th) at 1:00pm. The second half happens on Saturday, August 9th, in the afternoon. The locations will be in your program.

Now that half of the meeting is taking place during the conference, there’s no excuse for you not to get involved. Please join us so you can participate in governance and make this organization truly your organization.

– Norman Hollyn, USC


June 1, 2014 – 
It’s been quite a while since I’ve dropped you a President’s Message. Boy, those End-Of-The-School-Year crazies have really gotten to me. I look forward to seeing you all in Bozeman this year. I know of people who will be adding Yellowstone National Park either before or after the Conference. I hope you can take advantage of the beautiful setting of our conference this year to see a part of the country that you might never have visited.

I want to thank our hardworking Papers, Panels, New Media and Films Selection committees, who managed to view hundreds of submissions and multiple peer review every single one of them. The diligence that they gave to these submissions will truly raise the value of participation in our conference for tenure, promotion and annual reviews and should provide our conference with top quality presentations.

Around June 18th, you should all receive notification of the slate of candidates for elections this year, along with candidate statements. Once again, we will be holding our elections online and I encourage each and every one of you to read the statements and vote for the candidates who you feel will lead our organization forward in the way that you would like it to be led. I guarantee you – this will be a great group of candidates. We will announce the winners at our annual Board Meeting, which will be held Thursday afternoon at Bozeman.

The Board continues to move forward on some important liaisons with industry partners. By the time we arrive at Bozeman, we should have some announcements about a new contest or two, as well as some general programs that should benefit all of our member schools. One of them, which will probably hit before August, is free access to a large casting database, which should help our students and faculty in all of our institutions, no matter how large or small, in most any location. This online database is available for a large annual fee and is used by casting agents, studios and independent filmmakers right now, but it will be available for free to all UFVA members and students at member schools.

Another important function that UFVA fills is as an advocacy organization. At the Board’s request, I met with representatives from Adobe at NAB this year and discussed the many problems that our members are having with the new Adobe Creative Cloud business structure (I expect to have an announcement by our conference on the results of this meeting.) Also, in the past, we have filed support statements in court cases in support of fair use for filmmakers. We have a Freedom of Expression Committee that looks at cases and weighs in on issues of “threats to the artistic freedom and human rights of a filmmaker/film educator/scholar.” That committee, under the tireless guidance of Professor Mark Freeman, has recommended that our members look at and sign (if you approve) a petition in support of the seven Iranian filmmakers who are charged with a number of serious crimes as a result of circumstances surrounding their creation of a music video for Pharrell’s “Happy.” You can see the petition at the GoPetition website. I urge you to familiarize yourself with details of the case and sign the petition if you agree.

One final note: Continuing the practice that we began at last year’s Chapman conference, our UFVA Board meeting will be held in two parts, on Tuesday and Saturday afternoons. These meetings are not secret – they are open to the entire membership. So if you will be in Bozeman a little early or want to spend your Saturday afternoon with those of us who are helping to running UFVA, please pencil yourself in for at least one of those meetings.

I look forward to seeing all of you in Bozeman.

– Norman Hollyn, USC


March 1, 2014 – I wanted to talk this month about a few things that are prompted by discussions that your Board had this last month’s mid-winter Board Meeting. And then I wanted to talk about some results of our work with industry partners. (In the writing world, that’s called a “tease”).

But first I wanted to talk about the new website. Our hard working web committee showed off elements of the new site to the board at that meeting. And while many of the improvements are happening behind the scenes, it already looks like the new site will improve our interaction with each other – whether it is in renewing our memberships, finding other members in our online directory, or submitting our works or ideas for panels to the peer review committees. Predicting the release of these things is always a tricky business (we are in the process of testing the online membership renewal module now) but it is definitely sooner, rather than later. I look forward to it.

Now, about advocacy. Two things came up at the meeting – the first having to do with pedagogy advocacy (if there is such a term) and the second having to do with social advocacy.

As many of you know, the world of production and post-production is constantly changing. It wasn’t too long ago that we spent some of our time explaining to our students how to prepare 16mm or 35mm negative for processing, how to splice pieces of film together, and how to finish a film in the lab. That is obviously gone, replaced with tape and file based media in capture (what we used to call “shooting”) and various non-linear editors (NLEs) like Avid, Final Cut and Premiere. These are the tools that we need to teach our students as they move out in the world.

One of those NLEs – Adobe Premiere – underwent a number of changes in the last year, as it moved to Premiere CC. It added a huge number of possibilities in our art, but it also changed the business model to such a degree that has made it impossible to be adopted in many of our schools. The Board has decided that, as part of UFVA’s mission, we can be the representative advocating for our members at Adobe, and we will be sitting down soon with Adobe representatives to talk about this very real issue. If you or your school has anything to add to the discussions – positive, negative or neutral – it would be great if you could send me an email talking about the details. Send them to my email at And thanks for helping the UFVA out with this.

Similarly, an issue of political advocacy came to the Board – involving some filmmakers who were trapped in an unfortunately political situation. One of our members asked us to join other organizations in supporting. This raised some interesting questions for us. We have taken advocacy positions in the past, most notably supporting cases in front of the high courts on issues of Fair Use. However, some of the Board members felt that not all cases were equal. We were all aware of the need to act expeditiously in many cases, but wanted a mechanism for the Board to weigh in on issues before the UFVA took a public stand. I would like to propose a small committee that could look at these requests, on a case-by-case basis, and quickly make recommendations to the Board. If you would be interested in serving on this Quick Action committee please email me at so we can get this process rolling.

Since we’re talking about committees, I have one final request before we move into the two final items – our industry partner.

We are beginning the process of our 2014 Board elections. There are several positions open this year and, as usual, we are forming a Nominations Committee to identify people to run for these offices. If you would like to serve on the Nominations Committee please let me know – you would work with several board members and past UFVA Presidents to put together a slate for recommendation to the Board. The requirements are that you be a member in good standing and that you not be running for a position this year. If you’re interested please send me an email at that same old email address –

As I mentioned last time, we are working with Marvel and the people behind TouchEdit (the iPad editing application) on a competition in which students will edit an action scene on the app from THOR. You will need an iPad and a copy of TouchEdit to enter (there are three versions of TouchEdit and one is free). Marvel is providing an unused action scene from the blockbuster movie 'Thor: The Dark World' to challenge the next generation of film editors. From this footage, students will edit a one-minute scene that will be judged by the creators of Marvel's Thor: The Dark World, including Dan Lebental, the film editor from the movie.

One of the constant complaints I hear from UFVA members teaching editing is that there is no good footage to work with (do I hear “Gunsmoke footage?”). This gives us an opportunity to work with high end, exciting footage, if it fits within your class. Students may also edit outside of a class structure, and submit it as an independent project. Please have your students mark UFVA in their head as a leader, as TouchEdit has agreed to provide students and their schools with copies of their software, webinars and talks with Lebental, and more. To find out more about the competition, go to

Finally, we all know how difficult it can be to keep up with the ever changing world of pre-production, production and post-production, even as those phases become increasingly more melded together. Our students must keep learning, largely outside of class. And we, as teachers, need to keep developing professionally if we are to serve our increasingly savvy students.

One of the ways that I use to learn more is a site called Moviola. They have weekly webinars as well as a host of other content which ranges from “Choosing The Right Camera” to “Color Grading Advanced Techniques” and many more. That content costs you a monthly fee. However, Moviola has offered all UFVA members a free six-month premium membership just for being so wonderful. Go to and go to the Sign Up page. Then type in the letters UFVA into the discount box to get your free membership. And while you’re there, head over to the Visual Glossary – it’s fun.

There is also the possibility that some of our members might be able to create content for Moviola. Check out their webinars (there is usually one free every Thursday morning – Pacific time – hosted by the charming Michael Horton of the Los Angeles Creative Pro User Group) and see if you might be able to fit yourself in there somehow. Then let me know.

We’ve got a number of initiatives like this that are the result of the last 18 months of preparation by UFVA and UFVF. Hopefully there will be more to talk about in April. Until then, keep doing what you’re so good at doing – making and teaching about media.

– Norman Hollyn, USC


Jan 31, 2014 As I write this, I am preparing for our mid-winter board meeting and I wanted to tell you a bit about it so you can be involved along with the board.

One of the items that we will be discussing is the content and rollout of our new website. We will find out soon just when that will be, but one thing that I know, is that a website that doesn’t have active member involvement is a dead website. So we will be needing more participation in forums, articles and more. We also are planning sections of the site that will make our publications more alive.

Another item that we will be discussing are the caucuses.

These are special interest groups that have areas of our website and meet during the Conference. A list of the caucuses can be found under the "groups" tab above, and they include very disparate interests. We’d like to get some input on what we can do to increase the value of these caucuses, who are usually forced to meet at time-constrained lunch times at the conference, and don’t seem to be able to gel in between Conferences. We’d like to get all of caucuses fully supported.

We are also going to be talking about the subcommittees that I mentioned last time. You may remember that at the August 2013 conference I told you that I would be asking you for help in running UFVA. To that end, the Board came up with ten subcommittees and we’d really want to see which ones interest you. Please go to the spreadsheet at and put your name down in the columns of the committees that you would like to serve on. For a list of the subcommittees go to The subcommittees that have the most interest will be the ones that we move forward on.

The Marvel THOR/iPad competition is moving forward and should be announced within a few days. In addition, we are exploring partnerships with the California Entertainment Industries Council for funding for teachers in the area of mental health. There will be scholarships and a competition. Some of these will be open to California residents only, but we are hoping to broaden the scope considerably soon after that, leading to workshops for those of you interested in creating media in the area of mental health. These workshops will be open to UFVA members only.

Another partnership that I am proud of is the one that Rob Sabal and I started building with CILECT, the international organization of film schools that UFVA was a founding member of. Every year, CILECT runs a competition for the best student films in the world. Some of the UFVA member schools already participate, but we are working to create a mechanism to allow all of our member schools to submit films through UFVA. Stay tuned.

Finally, we will begin the process of nominating candidates for positions on the Board that will be opening in September. These will be the Editorial Vice President and Secretary, as well as several At Large members. We will be looking for a few of you to serve on that nominating committee and some others to run for the open positions. We really want your involvement so email me at with your offers to participate. Take it from me, it’s worth it.

These are just a few of the ventures that your Board is working on right now. I’ll keep you posted on what we did next month. In the meantime – make your preparations for our upcoming conference in August at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana. Bozeman, you may be interested to learn, was just named in the top four of the Best Places for Filmmakers to Live and Work in by Moviemaker Magazine ( So we know we’re going to have a great time!

– Norman Hollyn, USC

Welcome to 2014!

Dec 27, 2013 For all of us, I’m sure that 2013 was a busy year – one of change and learning. I know that I am continually learning – from my students, from my colleagues at USC and from my fellow UFVA members.

I wanted to keep you on top of a few of things that we will be doing in the coming year.

First of all, we will be planning and working towards our conference at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana. Submissions are now open in all categories – Film and Video Screenings, New Media, Papers and Panels, Scripts and Workshops. The Papers and Panels deadline is February 1, 2014. All others are March 1, 2014. Check our website at for details and for the submission form.

About those submission forms – you’ll notice that it is completely online this year, in all categories. Our Web subcommittee has been working hard to transition to a completely new web site and, though we don’t expect to fully make the transition for a few more months (volunteer organizations are HARD!!) this change to full online submission is the first evidence of this change, albeit all on the back end. In a few more months you will be able to see our new website in full, thanks to diligent work of our subcommittee.

Those of you who have attended previous conferences in Bozeman (this will be my first) have told me that they put on an amazing show and are an amazing gateway to Yellowstone National Park either before or after the conference. I hope to see you at the conference and hiking around the park.

At the August 2013 conference I told you that I would be asking you for help in running UFVA. To that end, the Board came up with ten subcommittees and we’d really like to see which ones interest you. Please go to the spreadsheet at and put your name down in the columns of the committees that you would like to serve on. For a list of the subcommittees go to The committees that attract the most interest will go forward in time for our annual mid-Winter board meeting on February 8, 2014.

Some of the initiatives that I talked about in my last message are beginning to bear fruit. One that I am particularly excited about involves my main passion – editing. For years, many of you have asked me where you can get material for your students’ editing classes. And while it isn’t a perfect solution, I am pleased to announce that UFVA, in association with Marvel Pictures, is going to be sponsoring a contest (along with CILECT) where students will be given footage from the recent Marvel film THOR 2 to edit on a new iPad editing application called TouchEdit. Details of the contest are still emerging, but it is the opening wedge to provide our members and our members’ students with added bonuses that they couldn’t get if they were not UFVA members. It will, I hope, increase our ability to teach better and without the infamous "Gunsmoke” footage.

Other relationships, along with our relationship with NAB and other existing partnerships, will bear fruit in the coming year – just in time for me to finish my two-year term and hand over the job to Francisco Menendez, of UNLV – your incoming president.

This message has gone on long enough. As always, you can contact me at if you have questions or comments. I look forward to 2014, and all that it will bring for UFVA.

– Norman Hollyn, USC