Alumni Shine Their Creativity on the Big Screen

'Vamps, Blood and Guns' Builds on Skills 2 Grads Developed as Founders of UTD-TV

Sep. 26, 2012

A group of creative current and former UT Dallas students has teamed up to produce a full-length feature film. Under the name of the production company Nowadays Orange, the group of Comets will be screening their film Wednesday, Sept. 26, at 7:30 p.m. in the Jonsson Performance Hall.

Vamps, Blood and Guns will screen at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 26, in Jonsson Performance Hall on the UT Dallas campus.

The movie had its first public screening Sept. 19 at the Angelika Film Center in Dallas.

“I got a sneak preview and loved it. To make a professional-quality, feature-length film on an incredibly tight schedule, with a budget less than a semester’s tuition at film school is amazing. UT Dallas can be proud – their achievement is tremendous,” said McDermott Program Director Molly Seeligson.

Nowadays Orange is headed by Alex Garcia Topete BA'11 and Jacob Wurzer BS'11.

In high school, Topete worked for the network TV station Televisa del Golfo, in his hometown of Tampico, Mexico. As a scriptwriter and director for the two-hour-long daytime family show Tal Para Cual, he wrote scripts, directed sketches, and developed general ideas to be broadcasted live in-state and on cable nationwide. 

He brought his industry know-how with him when he arrived at the University in 2007 as freshman in UT Dallas’ Eugene McDermott Scholars Program.

Topete teamed up with Wurzer, also a McDermott Scholar, and founded the Internet-based campus television station UTD-TV

Alex Garcia Topete (left) and Jacob Wurzer worked together at UTD-TV.

“The hard part about UTD-TV was getting off the ground, finding students to help produce content. But we got there,” said Topete.

Apart from the new station, Topete also spent time writing for the alternative student newspaper, A Modest Proposal.

His senior year, Topete interned with Sony Pictures in Hollywood, Calif., and received an Archer Fellowship to work at National Public Radio (NPR) in Washington, D.C. At NPR, he oversaw day-to-day operations as an executive producer for a program run entirely by interns titled, Intern Edition.

Topete graduated in 2011, after spending four years studying film, German philosophy, creative writing and a slew of other courses in the Art and Performance program. He combined his experience and education to help create the film Vamps, Blood and Guns.

“There are a lot of people from UT Dallas who were involved. We can thank our alma mater for making this possible, either by training us in some way, or simply by being the place where we met. And for many of us, we were able to work together at the University before we had to work together in the real world. That helped,” said Topete.

The film follows private detective Erika “Colt” Coltrane, who investigates a series of murders that have been kept secret from the public. Soon finding herself embroiled in a conspiracy involving vampires, Colt rushes to solve the murders and stop the killing rampage.

“I took film study classes with Professor Adrienne L. McLean. We looked at Alfred Hitchcock and film noir. You can see the influence of these courses in the movie,” Topete said.

Other UT Dallas students involved with production include McDermott Scholars Prashant Raghavendran BS'12, who composed the music; and Elin Britton, a sophomore studying arts and performance. Alumnus Taylor Brigance BS'11 helped write the screenplay.

Wednesday's showing is sponsored by Meteor Theater, UT Dallas Cinematheque and the School of Arts and Humanities.


Media Contact: Chaz Lilly, UT Dallas, (972) 883-4461, charles.lilly@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu.

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