Sophie Prettyman-Beauchamp, Ryan Gonzales and Sarah Brandenburg, are three prominent members of the Film Arts Drama Alliance, FADA, and when asked to “Describe FADA in one word.”, they each chose the word collaboration. UCI has almost endless groups and clubs to become involved in, but one group that all students should be aware of is FADA. It is open to all majors and gives students an opportunity to get involved in all aspects of film making, from the planning and production, to the business and marketing aspects of film. FADA is at its core about collaboration, about a group of people all working toward one collective vision and an important part of that collaboration is diversity, extending to the diversity of majors FADA members share. It is a group that breathes inclusion.
There are many UCI students involved, such as Ryan Gonzales, a Computer Science major, director of last year’s “Zot Zot Land”, which garnered a lot of attention, and director of this year’s “Greatest Show at UCI”. Though not the typical student to get involved in film, he is an invaluable member of the FADA team, serving as one of the current Technical directors. “I was looking to combine my tech skills with art, and film offers a way for me to do that; I get to exercise my knowledge of computers and get the science side of things and then work on film to satisfy my art side.” Ryan is just one of many FADA members who is not a Film or Humanities major. Ryan is already boasting a great career as a filmmaker, but also has a more diverse resume and new potential career paths.
Though they are more than welcome, non-humanity majors are not the only students FADA serves, for last year’s “Zot Zot Land” featured many students from UCI’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts including Voice and Drama majors. Experience coordinating and managing events and large groups of people effectively is one skill that Sarah Brandenburg, director of Zotfest and producer of one of the films featured in Zotfest, has gained through FADA. Sarah is a Film and Business major, and the organization provides the opportunity for her to learn about both sides of the film industry. The success of Zot Zot Land has also given experience to those involved with FADA as they learn to manage expectations and push themselves to produce another great project.
FADA aims to create an environment where making films is about more than just the films being made. One example of this is Zotfest, a film festival FADA puts on featuring the films members have participated in this year. Sarah, this year’s Zotfest director, stated that in accordance with the themes found in “The Greatest Show At UCI”,“We [FADA] are trying not only to increase the number of submissions, but increase diversity as well.” She added “We are not just focusing on film but expression and discovery of other cultures.” One way this will be done is the addition of a reception with foods from around the world, and live performers and dancers to emphasize FADA’s appreciation of all arts. It is also Zotfest’s goal for the event to be welcoming to students regardless of major or previous affiliations with the arts.
Sophie is current director of FADA, former director of Zotfest and she started as an intern at FADA. “FADA gives those who might not otherwise be involved in Filmmaking a chance to do so.” The experience members gain from FADA is as comparable to being on a real set as is possible in a student organization, with all the same requirements and tools needed, but there is the safety net of community behind the films. The films that come out of FADA, including the yet to be released “Greatest Show at UCI” are made by UCI students and for that reason should be viewed by all UCI students as they are a great representation of the school while also sharing UCI’s unique perspective. Zotfest and all of the shows and art featured there are the culmination of many many hours of hard work from many many anteaters, so be sure not to miss Zotfest and “The Greatest Show at UCI”, and if film peaks your interest and you’re not sure how to get involved, check out FADA, one of the most welcoming organizations on campus.