UFO takes students to infinity and beyond

University Filmmakers Organization makes deep impact training the next generation of (inter)steller movie buffs

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Ryane Murray | The Daily Wildcat UFO members pay attention during their club meeting this Friday, Jan. 26, 2018.

There are over 600 recognized clubs and organizations at the University of Arizona. Each group has passionate students trying to better their lives, and college experiences, through extracurricular participation. One of these clubs is the University Filmmakers Organization, otherwise known as UFO.

“We specialize in developing filmmaking skills,” Nicholas Leon, a film and television junior, said. “This covers writing, directing, editing, sound design, music and everything that goes into the filmmaking process.” 

Leon, the president of UFO, has been a part of the organization for about two years now. Alongside the rest of the group’s executive board, Leon helps facilitate independent film projects and organizes hands-on learning experiences for the members of UFO.

The organization works on one or two films each semester. During Friday meetings, they go through the various stages of production. At the beginning of the semester, all members are given the chance to pitch their short film ideas to the club. The ideas are then voted on to determine which projects will be the focus of that semester.

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In the past, UFO has made films for entry into film festivals, including Campus Movie Fest, the Sight of Sound International Film Competition and First Friday Shorts at the Loft Cinema. In more recent semesters, however, the goal of the club has been less oriented on meeting specific festival criteria. Instead, it is focused on providing a creative learning environment for students who crave the hands-on filmmaking experiences — experiences that are normally provided to upperclassmen.

“There’s a lot of people who have come in where they’ve been the one behind the camera telling everybody what to do,” said Daniel Crowley, a film and television sophomore. “But there’s so many other parts to it that they need to get accustomed to, [like] working with other people and being able to translate their ideas, and their vision, so they can collaborate effectively with these people and foster an environment that’s on the same page.”


Ryane Murray
UFO leader talks to the club members this Friday, Jan. 26, 2018.


Crowley is UFO’s vice president and had the opportunity to direct a film last year with the rest of the club. His short film, “All There Is,” was produced in the spring of 2017 and gave many club members the chance to work on set positions they had never experienced before.

The club welcomes anyone and everyone who has an interest in all stages of filmmaking, especially those who are outside of the UA School of Theatre, Film and Television. Those who are unsure of their interest in the field are also welcome.

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“You don’t have to be a film major to join,” said Adrian Meyer, a film and television sophomore and UFO treasurer. “We have quite a few people from outside of the program, and I feel like those people are usually the most interesting. They make videos on their own, but they don’t know some of the technical stuff, so meeting other kids outside of their program ... is a really great opportunity to find future collaborators and like-minded people.”

UFO meets every Friday at 2 p.m. in the Louise F. Marshall Building, room 221. This Friday, the two films produced last semester, “Sonoran Men” and “Breaking and Exiting,” will be premiered to the club and posted online at the UFO Facebook page.

“My favorite thing is probably how open and fun the environment is in the club,” said Zach Lovvorn, a film and television sophomore and UFO member. “Everyone is encouraged to work on projects that they’re actually passionate about with great people.”


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