James Franco-produced Web series tracks UT Film students
The premise may sound a little metafiction-y – people making movies about people making movies – but in fact Undergrads: South is docu-reality. The Web series chronicles the creative processes, hopes, and hang-ups of film students, mostly produced by film students and alums from the University of Texas. Emphasis on "mostly" – the series itself is the original invention of super-hyphenate James Franco (actor/writer/soap star/filmmaker/full-time student/Web impresario) and his producing partner, Vince Jolivette.
Editor David Howe explained how the series, the second in the Undergrads franchise (the first documented students at the University of Southern California), wended its way to Austin: "James and his partner Vince Jolivette were originally going to shoot the Undergrads: South series at SMU in Dallas, but fell in love with Austin when James was here with a movie called Sal in the Austin Film Festival." Director Joy Gohring said it was an easy sell: "Austin has such a strong film community, as well as a great film school, we all felt it was more relevant to shoot it in Austin."
The film follows four undergrads at UT's Radio-Television-Film department, caught on tape by a crew that passed through the same department. And the series' leads – Morgan Young, David Bukstein, Ali Haji, and Bao Truong – are just as likely to be behind the camera as in front of it. Said Howe, "All the cast members are actively involved in the making of the series. [I'm] pretty sure everyone involved has never really worked on a project like this before, so it's been an exciting process, to be sure."
Undergrads: South debuts Thursday, April 12, at www.jamesfrancotv.com.