TFT student heads to the Oscars

Tatenda Mbudzi is a winner of the Oscar Experience College Search

Seth MacFarlena at TFT

Tatenda Mbudzi, a second-year M.F.A. candidate in the Producers Program at TFT, is one of six college students chosen in the Oscar Experience College Search for aspiring filmmakers.

Sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and mtvU, MTV’s 24-hour college network, the competition was announced by Oscar host Seth MacFarlane in November, during an appearance on the mtvU program “Stand In.”

Mbudzi first heard about the contest when MacFarlane swept into Professor Denise Mann’s Overview of Contemporary Film Industry class unannounced, followed by an mtvU camera crew, and offered students an opportunity to appear live onstage at the Dolby Theater on Oscar Sunday, delivering Oscar statuettes to telecast presenters.

The contest was open to college students across the country and required them to submit a video responding to the question, “How will you contribute to the future of movies?”

Mbudzi had a strong response. He suggested that as a citizen of Zimbabwe studying in the United States, he has a unique perspective “on the stories that can be told when different cultures come together. The basic needs we all share, for family and happiness, and also the differences of ritual, culture and habits.” His inclination is to approach these subjects with humor, he said.

Seeing a product of the American entertainment industry from the inside, while rehearsing for the Oscar broadcast, was a revelation, Mbudzi added. “It’s such a confluence of culture, politics, economics and entertainment. In a way it’s a snapshot of the world.” Academy Awards producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron personally notified the winners. “We created this contest when we came on board to produce this year’s Oscars,” said Zadan and Meron in an official statement. “We felt that every person on the Oscar stage should have a passion for film and its future, and there is no better way to inspire young filmmakers than to make them part of film’s most important night."

In addition to their appearance on the Oscar stage, the students visited the Academy’s Margaret Herrick Library, to see its renowned film memorabilia collections; took part in studio tours; and met with this year’s Academy Award nominees in the Short Film categories.

Posted: February 22, 2013

TAKING TO THE STAGE: Tatenda Mbudzi (far right) on stage at the Dolby Theater during an Academy Awards ceremony rehearsal. Photo: Richard Harbaugh / ©A.M.P.A.S.

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