Two student films – including one Telly Award winner – screening at the Sarasota Film Festival

A student video called Pour Stars, which was a class project for Full Sail’s Documentary Filmmaking class, won a 2012 national Bronze Telly Award in the documentary category. The Telly Awards honor excellence in the visual arts, including film and video productions, web commercials, and TV commercials and programs.

“Full Sail Productions’ accomplishment illustrates their creativity, skill and dedication to their craft and serves as a testament to great film and video production,” said Linda Day, executive director of the Telly Awards.

Both Pour Stars and another student documentary, The Circle of Drums, were accepted to the Sarasota Film Festival, which takes place April 13-22. Pour Stars screens April 14 and 18 and The Circle of Drums screens April 19 and 22. Both are competing in the festival’s shorts program for Florida filmmakers.

18 Full Sail students involved with the two documentaries now have a professional film industry credit listed on IMDb.

Pour Stars reveals the little known art and sport of “flairtending,” or bartending while juggling and using fire to entertain customers.

Film student Caroline Stevens-Sommers , who directed Pour Stars, describes flairtending: “A lot of it’s flipping the bottles and flipping the cups and ‘stalling,’ which is where they hold the cups on their arms, their chest, their head.”

Stevens-Sommers said she came up with the idea of documenting flairtending because she used to watch flairtending international competitions on ESPN with her father, but it seemed nobody else had ever heard of it.

The Circle of Drums is a documentary about the Siesta Key drum circle, a free-for-all drum and music gathering that’s been a regular Sunday night event on Siesta Key Beach for the last 15 years.

Film student and Circle of Drums director Sigfredo Cruz said his crew chose to document Siesta Key drum circle because they were looking for a topic that wouldn’t limit the storytelling aspect of their documentary.

He admits preproduction was challenging, however, since drum circles are spontaneous events.

“Documentaries can really test your ability as a filmmaker on all three levels of production. There’s something different in telling a story about a real topic and asking questions to real people, [and] getting unscripted and genuine answers,” said Cruz. “That’s an experience that making a film based off a script can never provide, a good uncertainty. With every question I ask, the story takes a different turn. I love it.”