UT students head to Cannes Film Festival

This article was published in The Minaret’s 2015 arts magazine.

In May, The University of Tampa students’ Alexandra DiGiacomo and Travis Misarti traveled to the Cannes Film Festival in France to screen their short film, “Tea Time.,” which was created for Campus MovieFest last year. The couple also went to Hollywood for a week over the summer for winning “Best Picture” for the film during Campus MovieFest.

Misarti is now a senior film and media arts major has been spending a majority of this semester working on his senior thesis film, “Washed Up,” which is being codirected by DiGiacomo. Washed up is a pirate themed short film about 10 minutes long that takes place on a deserted island in the early 1700’s. Misarti wrote both of the scripts for “Tea Time” and “Washed Up.”

“I had to get all the costumes from the pirate shop downtown,” said Misarti. “We are trying to make it as authentic as possible.” Misarti and DiGiacomo did a lot of historical research before they started filming.

Charles Doubleday-Potts, Carly Coutts, Kris Kozlowski and Nicholas Delisi will be starring in the film. Doubleday-Potts and Kozlowski starred as main characters in “Tea Time” as well. “We tend to use the same actors because we have a good collaboration with them,” said Misarti.

The crew shot over a period of five days, four of which were at Fort De Soto beach, with the final day on the Gasparilla pirate ship. “We would be there from nine to five,” said DiGiacomo.“All of the actors were so dedicated, they were awesome,” said Misarti. “Kris grew his beard for almost two months just for this.”

Misarti and DiGiacomo commented that filming was sometimes a bit of a challenge. “Beaches are hard places to film. You get sand on everything, it’s gross,” said Misarti. While filming on the Gasparilla pirate ship, the crew also experienced a thunderstorm. “We had to get umbrellas over all of the equipment. It was really difficult, we had a lot of obstacles,” said DiGiacomo.

“We were the first UT students to take out the dolly on the track, and the first students to shoot on the Gasparilla pirate ship,” said Misarti. “We had a prop gun, so that was a little bit more difficult. We had to hire a sheriff and a gun handler. We had to make sure we had the whole safety seminar, so that was a big obstacle.”

“It was definitely our largest production that we’ve ever done,” said DiGiacomo. “We had catering, a tent, a drone.” DiGiacomo said that “Washed Up” had the biggest budget out of all their productions, totaling up to a few thousand dollars, which was funded by themselves.

Misarti shot the film with a Panasonic GH4 camera. He also used a shoulder mount for moving shots, a drone and a broom pole. “Washed Up” will be edited using Final Cut. While at the Cannes Film Festival, DiGiacomo and Misarti networked with an Italian composer who will be creating the film score for “Washed Up” later this month. “Washed Up” is expected to be completed by the end of November.

DiGiacomo, now graduated with a degree in communication, is still living in the Tampa area searching for full time jobs in the film industry. She is currently freelancing for a production company based out of St. Petersburg.

Misarti is a production and post-production intern at Spectrum, an entertainment, branding and content studio in Tampa. He is currently working on a project for Sea World, and has previously worked on other corporate videos, including one for Busch Gardens.

In the upcoming months, DiGiacomo and Misarti’s next project consist of helping their friend on a western film for his senior thesis. They hope to start filming soon, once the locations are booked.

In the future, DiGiacomo wants to work on production and Misarti wants to focus working on post-production or directing in the future.

Misarti and DiGiacomo do not have any set place that they want to live, but they are open to moving to get a job. “Working for Warner Brothers would be amazing,” said DiGiacomo as she talks about possibly moving to L.A.

DiGiacomo and Misarti both say that it’s a dream for them to one-day work with some of their favorite actors such as Tim Burton, Wes Anderson, Jennifer Lawrence and Johnny Depp.

DiGiacomo and Misarti are both members of Delta Kappa Alpha, a professional film fraternity.