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4 March 2012

Motion picture major impresses with music video

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Junior Maggy Torres-Rodriguez (left) created a music video for a song written by freshman Justina Shandler, which will be played at the Wynwood Wall Screenings until Friday. Marlena Skrobe//Photo Editor

What began as an introductory film assignment for junior Maggy Torres-Rodriguez emerged as a piece that will be featured in one of this year’s Miami International Film Festival’s (MIFF) series of short films.

The music video, “Someone Else’s Bed,” features a song of the same name by freshman Justina Shandler. The video tells a story of a girl’s infidelity with close shots and an unconventional use of a handheld camera. The video was filmed around UM’s campus.

Torres-Rodriguez’s video will be a part of MIFF’s Festival Wynwood Walls Screenings, which will screen a series of 20 short films in random rotation throughout the festival. MIFF recognizes filmmakers from around the world in local venues like Regal South Beach Cinema 18 and 8th street’s Tower Theater.

Torres-Rodriguez submitted her video on a whim to the annual film competition CineSlam, which awards work done by undergraduate and graduate students.

Filmmaker liaison for MIFF Alexander Van Mecl looked through the film listing on CineSlam and saw that “Someone Else’s Bed” was one of the films with the highest number of votes.

“I enjoyed that it was unconventional and had a story without saying much,” Van Mecl said.

Torres-Rodriguez did not win CineSlam, but made such a strong impression on Van Mecl that he contacted her and entered her work into the festival.

Torres-Rodriguez is in awe of how far her first film experience has gone.

“It won’t hit me until I see it in the big screen,” she said.

Torres-Rodriguez’s music video brings to life Shandler’s original music. “Someone Else’s Bed” deals with issues of past love, guilt and regret.

The film student found Shandler’s music on Facebook and felt an instant connection.

“I immediately fell in love with the song,” Torres-Rodriguez said.

Shandler was equally excited and nervous to be in a music video. She liked that Torres-Rodriguez made the project more than an assignment.

“It felt awesome and terrifying,” Shandler said. “The shooting was fun, but I had no idea what Maggy was doing, and why she was asking me to pose the way she did. When I saw the finished product, it all clicked and her genius became very clear.”

Torres-Rodriguez, a motion pictures major, started with small projects in her digital productions class, taught by Professor Grace Barnes. In the class, Barnes teaches how to tell a story and how to integrate certain film techniques into a finished project.

“Maggy is very talented,” Barnes said. “I’m thrilled that she not only made a great project, but that she also entered it into the festival.”

Van Mecl does not find it strange that her first film got noticed.

“She has a good eye for composition,” he said. “It had a nice beginning, middle and end from the overall message she wanted to deliver.”

Torres-Rodriguez thinks that proof of success comes from provocative art, and not solely from recognition.

“If things are visually nice and the story touches you in ways you didn’t think it could, then that’s a successful film,” she said. “It’s those movies that make you stop watching and see life differently. That’s what this art is all about.”

To watch her music video head to the 1100 block of Lincoln Road between Alton Rd. and Lenox Ave near the Regal South Beach Stadium 18 cinema. Festival Village has free admission and is open to the public. For more information on other films, events and  tickets, visit miamifilmfestival.com.