Film Collaborative International

In their own words:

NOVA Alexandria Film Students & Alumni discuss FCI and student film productions:

The 2019 NSFF International screened at UNIVAS – Universidad José Vasconcelos, Oaxaca, Mexico

Siempre Esperanza, an international co-production, was screened in Oaxaca, Mexico on Wednesday, November 27, 2019 at UNIVAS – Universidad José Vasconcelos. The story begins in Oaxaca, Mexico and ends in Alexandria, VA, USA. The film was a collaboration between NOVA Alexandria Cinema students and students from 100Volando Escuela de Cine and UNIVAS. Members of the cast & crew from the Mexico side were present for the screening and conducted a Q&A session with public at the end.

The film is one of the films that was screened from the 2019 NOVA Student Film Festival – Films Without Walls series.

Professor Lucy Gebre-Egziabher, Founder and Director of the NOVA Student Film Festival International attended the festival and held discussions on lessons learned from the making of Siempre Esperanza from both USA and Mexico side. Prof. Lucy also met with the Director and crew of the 2020 film on this year’s theme: Women in Society.

Cast & Crew of Siempre Esperanza, Mexico Unit

NOVA Alexandria film students, members of the Film Collaborative International (FCI), partnered with film students from Oaxaca Mexico for the 2019 Films Without Walls co-production on our theme for the year: Immigration & Refugees. Our partnering team is made up of film students from 100Volando Escuela de Cine and from UNIVAS – Universidad José Vasconcelos.

FCI – NOVA crew 2018-19
Oaxaca, Mexico crew “Siempre Esperanza”

“The Mexican crew is already closed for the filming of the bi-National short film next to Northern Virginia Community College in Films Without Walls 2019. Congratulations guys, it is coming along well!!! Thanks to Lucy Gebre-Egziabher for the invitation and to the for joining us A new adventure!” Gustavo Mora – Director, 100Volando Escuela de Cine

The 2019 NSFF International screened at Xingtai Polytechnic College, Xingtai, China

Our partners in Xingtai, China, hosted for the second year the 2019 NOVA Student Film Festival International, on October 30, 2019. Xingtai Ploytechnic College has been a partner in the “Films Without Walls” series on the yearly themes.

The NOVA Student Film Festival International is a traveling festival. We are honored to have our festival hosted by our partner in the “Films Without Walls” series, Xingtai Polytechnic College. We look forward to our continued partnership.

2019 NOVA Student Film Festival International screened at Xingtai Polytechnic College


One of FCI’s 2017-18 academic year film projects

FCI & NOVA alumni, currently enrolled in GMU’s Film program (FAVS), come together on a film project – Consumed 
Read more about this collaboration in Intercom
On the set of Consumed, FCI students and FAVS students shooting the film.


 Crew meeting: The crew of Consumed go over shooting script and prepare for the shoot.






Table-read of Maddie Rooks’ script “Consumed” – an FCI collaboration.

The film, which will be directed by Maddie, who is a NOVA alum and a senior at GMU in the FAVS program, is currently in pre-production. Crew on “Consumed” is made up of current NOVA film students and NOVA Alums and GMU FAVS students. We had a great session yesterday! Looking forward to the journey!

The 2016 FCI Film Directing workshop…in their own words:

The 2016 workshop featured an international collaboration between film students in Ethiopia and NOVA Alexandria film students. The production of Final Exam wrapped on time and was screened at the 2016 NOVA Student Film Festival to the public. Check out the making of video to witness our process…

Watch FCI students featured on (click here)

 NOVA TV for NOVA in Focus

Prof. Lucy G/E works with film students in Ethiopia from the Blue Nile Film & TV Academy on a music video

During one of her trips to her homeland, Ethiopia, Prof. Lucy worked with film students from the Blue Nile film & TV academy in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, on this music video. The song is an Ethiopian classic: “Yetintu Tiz Alegn”, performed by the Addis Acoustic Project. It was an opportunity to do some production training for the students, while at the same time produce a music video for the Addis Acoustic Project.

It’s a wrap! Productions for Spring 2015 wrapped on schedule!

slate 2015

a picture is worth a thousand words…check out the picture gallery

Spring 2015 – In full force production mode

Student films are slated over the weekends of April 11th & 12th and 17th & 18th.

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FCI film students held auditions, cast their actors and rehearsed fro their upcoming film shoots; we’re ready to rock and roll!

Fall 2015 – Collaborative report:

This year was a recruitment year for the Film Collaborative International. Students, new to NOVA and/or new to film joined the collaborative and have been prepping for new productions slated for Spring 2015 (3 short films, a music video and a short documentary).

We have been meeting regularly to prepare for the productions while at the same time learn the process of filmmaking; one stage at a time: we have now completed the development stage and have moved into the pre-production phase.

Stay tuned for more updates.

Film Collaborative Int’l gearing up for 2014 48 Hour Film Project:

Students from the Film Collaborative Int’l are in Pre-Production mode for the 2014 48 Hour Film Project. The production team is identified. The team is currently location scouting & casting.  Stay tuned for updates.


CST Film Students take the 2013 48 Hour Film Project by storm!

Below is an email I wrote to my NOVA colleagues in 2013, narrating the play by play on how our NOVA Alexandria CST film students courageously embarked on the intense journey of making a film in 48 hours…

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Dear Colleagues, (May 7, 2013)

Recently, in the faculty newsletter, I reported the following from NOVA – Alexandria CST film studies corner:

“…The most exciting highlight this semester is that a group of students from CST 140-Acting for the Camera, CST 120-Screenwriting, CST 141-Theatre Appreciation, and CST 195-Film Directing I classes are forming a team in order to participate in the “48 hours film project” (; this film festival is now in its 12th year and has become known and respected worldwide within the filmmaking network. I feel so proud that in 2 years, we have produced film students who not only are ready to take part in this intense film project but are very capable of winning this prestigious competition.” 

production still 1

Today, it is with great pride that I report to you that our CST students shot their film this past weekend and submitted it with 11 minutes to spare! The way it works:

  • The 48 Hour Film Project (48HFP) occurs in cities around the world on different weekends throughout the year.
  • The 48 Hour Film Project will occur between a Friday 7pm local time and the following Sunday 7pm local time. This is the “Official 48 Hour Time Period”. (Days of competition may vary in some countries.)
  • The participating group/team must complete its film/video work in time to deliver it to a location to be announced, on Sunday by 7:30pm.
  • Only works that meet the deadline will be officially part of the competition. All films received on Sunday (on-time and late) will be screened.

Participants of this film competition are handed 4 elements that they must incorporate in their films (a film genre, a character, a prop and a line) on Friday at 7pm; the crew has to then take these elements, and:

  • Write the script
  • Rehearse with Actors
  • Do costume/Set Design
  • Shoot the film
  • Edit the film
  • Compose original music
  • Do sound Design,
  • Render the film
  • Output it to DVD

And hand the DVD by Sunday 7pm. Literally all this creative work must be done within the 48 hours period. On Friday, May 3rd, one of our very own NOVA – Alexandria CST students went to the 48 hours film project offices in DC to accept this year’s 4 elements. This year’s elements were:

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  • Genre: Thriller/Suspense
  • Character:  Alex or Alexa Berbrick, Inspector
  • Line: “What do you think this is”
  • Prop: a drumstick

She texted the elements to an eagerly awaiting cast and crew, who had planted their tents at one of the students’ home. They wrote the script overnight, several drafts…

worked on it some more until Saturday afternoon. They were fully aware that they were pushing it but they kept going.

They finally developed the shooting script, Director rehearsed with actors, while Cinematographer set up lights, camera; sound people got in place; and they were off! ACTION!

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They shot through Saturday night; on Sunday morning when I saw some of these students, I did not think they would make it one more minute, but they did 🙂 They shot through Sunday afternoon, while some students were working on original music, while others logged footage. It is now the 11th hour…they have to hand in the rendered DVD by 7pm! 4pm they are shooting pick up shots while the editor is at work editing. Students working on music and sound design are intensely engaged…actors are still giving their all! It is now 6pm’ish; the film is edited, sound mixed, music in place; but but but wait…the film is not rendered yet!!!! What do they come up with? Being the independent, guerilla film students they are :-), they decide to take their computer in the car and start heading to DC while the film is being rendered! By the time they get there, film is rendered; they burn a DVD, and hand it to the 48 hours film folks, with 11 minutes to spare!!!

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The result: not only did they make the competition, their short film will be screened this Friday, May 10th at 7pm at the American Film Institute (AFI) in Silver Spring! And I for one cannot be any prouder to call myself their teacher. These are the moments that we, as educators, live for. This weekend, I got my moment!

NOVA village, please come and support these students. The tickets are on sale now. They tend to sell out, if you plan on attending buy them soon:

All shows are at the AFI Silver Theatre 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, MD 20910

NOVA AL CST students’ film is showing in Group C, Friday, May 10 at 7 pm. Hope to see you all there! Thank you for your support! Lucy G/E


After screening of their film at the American Film Institute
After screening of their film at the American Film Institute


When I joined the NOVA faculty in 2010, I noticed a growing demand for film classes and filmmaking activities.  Students were eager to learn about filmmaking and get hands on training that will prepare them for careers in film.  In the absence of a film program, I decided to create a group made up of my film students.   The idea was to create an environment where students get practical filmmaking training to supplement what they learn in the classroom.  After building the film classes on the Alexandria campus resulting in a growing number of film students, over the following years, the Film Collaborative International was established.

The Film Collaborative Int’l, created in the Fall of 2013, is an interactive group that provides students with opportunities to get practical training in film production: from script writing, directing, and acting to producing.   Among the 15-20 regular members are several of my current students as well as alumni of my film classes, who come back from either the work force or area colleges to take part in filmmaking activities in order to build their reel (filmmaking portfolio).

Professionals in the field of filmmaking from the DMV area are invited to take part in these productions and they are teamed up with students according to their interests, with the objective: knowledge transfer.  Some of the professionals who have volunteered to date are all award winning professionals in their respective fields: independent filmmakers, cinematographers, editors and sound engineers who have collectively worked for or have as clients the top production companies and well known cable channels such as Discovery Channel, National Geographic, the Learning Channel, etc.

The objective of this film group is simply to make films, and hopefully, make good films! 🙂

Here are the projects that the collaborative has and/or is currently working on:

  • Acting: members of the collaborative that are interested in acting auditioned for, were cast and featured in NOVA commercials (some were broadcast on TV)
  • Screenwriting:
  1. students who took the screenwriting class, got to show off their talents by writing scripts for 4 short films. To check out some of the scriptwriting talents, please visit the Students scripts page.
  2. at the provost’s request, screenwriting students wrote a script for a promotional video about NOVA Alexandria students’ success stories which will be shot as an interdisciplinary film project on campus.
  • Documentary work:
  1. directing students along with students interested in developing their cinematography skills, worked on a documentary on a one of a kind art exhibit that took place in Washington DC recently: the Art of Political Change – A Union of Concerned Artist
  2. a group of 6 students from the film collaborative are currently working on a youth outreach film for a local church (project currently in development & research stage)

This year the collaborative will prep and be ready to work on the 2014 48 hours film project coming up in May.  With all the collaborative film projects students are engaged in this semester, they will surely be ready to take on this intense project once again. For updates go to a film in 48 hours page.