Still in college, two University of Tampa students have reached a milestone many aspiring filmmakers dream of — having their work screen at the Cannes Film Festival.
Director Travis Misarti, a 20-year-old junior majoring in film, and co-director Alexandra DiGiacomo, a 21-year-old senior majoring in communications, had their short film Tea Time accepted into the renowned French film festival, which runs May 13-24.
DiGiacomo said the two, who are also a couple, had talked before about the possibility of going to Cannes five or 10 years from now as filmmakers, but never imagined that it would happen while they were still students.
"We actually go to Cannes the day after (my) graduation," she said.
It started when the two entered Campus MovieFest, an international competition where student filmmakers are given one week to make short films that run five minutes or less.
Misarti said he was influenced by Quentin Tarantino when making Tea Time. Like Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs, it deals with the fallout from a failed heist.
"I love the idea of a heist gone wrong and the comedy elements to it," he said.
DiGiacomo directed another short called Seeing Straight, sharing an actor and filming location with Misarti. Both films were campus finalists, and Tea Time was picked as a finalist for Campus MovieFest's national competition in Hollywood in July.
Misarti said he and DiGiacomo were two of 26 students whose work Campus MovieFest chose for Cannes consideration, and he applied. He said he learned the short had been selected by the film festival while he was in class and DiGiacomo was in the classroom next door.
"I went outside and I saw her and I said, 'Oh my God, we got accepted into Cannes,' " he said.
The two have set up a GoFundMe campaign ( tbtim.es/glx) for the expenses of traveling to the festival, which Misarti estimates will cost $10,000 for the two of them.