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University of Guam hosting its first film festival

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The University of Guam in collaboration with the Guam International Film Festival is taking the art of cinematic expression to new heights by hosting the first annual UOG Film Festival. Explaining how it all began, program director Kel Muna, of the famed Muna Brothers production team and a former KUAM Radio disc jockey, said, "It was actually years in the making, so to speak. For the Guam International Film Festival this will be our fifth year, and since year one all the way through years two three and four, there's been an increasing amount of entries for local filmmakers."

It came to the point where it was only natural to create a festival dedicated to showcasing the talent of the Marianas. The festival features a record of eighteen film submissions, as Muna said, "It also provides a launching pad of sorts for the local filmmakers to have their films selected into entry into the international festival in the fall, which takes place in September."

UOGFF features both veterans and beginners in the industry. Muna continued, "Part of the local showcase is getting everybody aware, getting them in the mindset of taking their art seriously and taking it out a step further." After all, that's how Muna's career began thirteen years ago, as he recalled, "My background in film stemmed from my work at KUAM a long time ago and it got me interested in marrying the visuals with the audio and through my days there as production manager I went off to Florida for film school."

He then created his first feature indie film, Shiro's Head, which gained international acclaim. He then helped found the Guam International Film Festival and UOGFF. "So it couldn't have happened a better way I'm very happy that it's taking place here at home, and that I'm actually in a position to help others bring their art forward," he added.

Along with featured selections, UOGFF will also host an acting class geared specifically toward film, and sets the stage for films to vie for the "Best Made in the Marianas" award this fall.

It begins at 11am, Saturday April 18, at the UOG Lecture Hall.

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