Edge

Hollywood film crew trains UM students

University of Miami students worked with a Hollywood film crew on Robert Townsend’s shoot on Jan. 12. The film, “Playin’ for Love,” was filmed in Overtown.Photo Courtesy Jenny Abreu 

University of Miami motion pictures students were exposed to a piece of Hollywood while working with filmmaker Robert Townsend.

Townsend is an actor, writer and director who has produced films including “Hollywood Shuffle,” “The Five Heartbeats” and “The Meteor Man.” He has also worked with stars like Halle Berry, Morgan Freeman and Denzel Washington.

Production on the film, “Playin’ for Love,” took place across Miami this December and January. Beyond the professionals, the production crew for the basketball-centric romantic comedy included about 20 UM students and additional high school students from the Overtown community, a low-income area of Miami.

“Everyone won on this. I found it a very nice collaboration,” said Ed Talavera, director of the Department of Cinema and Interactive Media.

Noah DeBonis, who is pursuing his master’s in motion pictures, assisted with lighting on set. He saw it as an exciting opportunity to work alongside a legend like Townsend.

“Watching people do their work helps you see the way that they do things, and you learn from that,” he said.

With dozens of students expressing interest in the project, applicants were asked to submit an essay explaining how they would benefit. Brittany Hickey, a junior majoring in motion pictures and advertising, was one of the students chosen.

“I said that I came from a small country-town in Michigan, and this opportunity was one in a million for me personally,” she said.

Townsend saw the project as beneficial exposure for the participants.

“The students are getting a real taste of Hollywood and film production,” Townsend said to the School of Communication. “Everybody is learning and they’re seeing how many different jobs there are in making a movie and what it really takes to make it happen.”

Townsend cared about the filmmaking project being an optimal educational experience for the people involved, Hickey said.

“You’d get on the set and he’d know you by name,” she said. “He was fun to be around.”

Hickey’s favorite day on set was shooting the basketball sequences in the gym.

“The crowd was going crazy. There was so much energy in the gym,” she said. “You got to see how an action sequence actually works.”

High school students from Overtown also worked on set. Because the movie is about a high school basketball team, some of them also acted in the basketball scenes, according to Talavera.

DeBonis said the Overtown students seemed very excited to be working on the project.

“Everyone was really gelling together, and it was a cool process,” he said. “It was cool to see the kids loving being able to do this because they’ve never seen anything like this before.”

Simply by being there with the professionals, Hickey felt she learned much more in the span of a month than she could have in an entire semester of school.

“School can teach you the basics, but you can’t understand the real way it works in a motion picture unless you’re there doing it hands on,” Hickey said.

 

Rianna Hidalgo contributed to this report. 

January 23, 2013

Reporters

Lyssa Goldberg

Lyssa Goldberg is online editor of The Miami Hurricane. She is a senior majoring in journalism and political science with a minor in math. She has interned at Mashable and the Miami New Times, and her work has also been featured in The Huffington Post.


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Here is some impressive news for the University of Miami football program: All but one of the remain ...

Lonnie Walker IV stood out on and off the court at the NBA Draft Combine, which ended on Sunday in C ...

University of Miami incoming prep star Will Mallory, the other half of the soon-to-be No. 1 freshman ...

View photos as Miami Hurricanes Coach Jim Morris ends 41-year career on Saturday, May 19, 2018, at M ...

The sullen, charcoal sky opened with a vengeance Saturday afternoon at Mark Light Field in Coral Gab ...

A snapshot guide to the start of summer in and around UM. ...

Former investment banker Charmel Maynard leads UM’s investments and treasury functions. ...

Over his more than two decades at the U, the dean of students from 1976-1989 always put students fir ...

The final Sea Secrets lecture at the Rosenstiel School examines the biofluorescence of marine organi ...

Maintenance mechanic Milton Davis has kept UM housing humming for decades. ...

Sinead Lohan and Estela Perez-Somarriba of the Miami women's tennis team earned ITA Southeast R ...

Sophomore righthander Evan McKendry and freshman Freddy Zamora were among those recognized by the At ...

Senior Jeb Bargfeldt was recognized as ACC Pitcher of the Week following a dominating performance ag ...

No. 7 seed Miami opens its run at the 2018 ACC Baseball Championship Tuesday, May 22 against No. 11 ...

Although 17th-year head coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews has made Sweet 16 appearances commonplace the jour ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.