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News Release

Office of News and Information
Johns Hopkins University
3003 N. Charles Street, Suite 100
Baltimore, Maryland 21218-3843
Phone: (410) 516-7160 | Fax (410) 516-5251

April 2, 2001
CONTACT: Leslie Rice Masterman

Marietta Student's Film Premieres at Hopkins

Brian Udoff, a sophomore from Marietta, Ga., was among 43 Johns Hopkins University students to receive a Provost's Undergraduate Research Award in the 2000-2001 academic year.

Udoff's project, a short film titled Memory Condemned, will be previewed during the Johns Hopkins Film Festival in the Student Filmmaker Showcase at 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 15. A two-minute trailer of the film was screened during the Provost's Undergraduate Research Awards ceremony on Thursday, April 5, on the university's Homewood campus, 3400 N. Charles St., in Baltimore.

Udoff's grant allowed him to buy a digital video camera so that he could direct his first film. A freshman when he submitted his funding request, Udoff, now a sophomore majoring in Film and Media Studies, had been outlining his ideas for an experimental, Kafka-esque film since high school. His goal, he said, was "to test the limitations of DV productions."

With his grant money, Brian Udoff bought a miniDIVD camera with which he shot a short feature film called Memory Condemned.
Photo by Louis Rosenstock

With his grant money, he purchased a Canon GL1 miniDVD camera and in the summer of 2000 went home to Marietta, in the suburbs of Atlanta, to shoot the film. The film is more character- than plot-driven and is essentially about a young man on the verge of a breakdown, thanks largely to the cruelties acted out by a series of what Udoff calls "female archetypal characters." The young man, who never says a word, finally is confronted by a male character, whom Udoff calls "Id," who does nothing but talk.

The hardest part of creating the film, Udoff says, was handling all the unexpected glitches that popped up on the night of filming. One of his friends, who supposed to play the main character, couldn't make it at the last minute, and Udoff had to play the part.

"Then, my idea was to film the biggest scene in a crowded coffeehouse," he said. "So I got permission from a coffeehouse owner to use it after hours late one night and I arranged to have about 40 friends show up. Well, five of them came. So we decided to change our approach with regard to the setting."

But Udoff is pleased with the outcome and looks at his experiences directing this video as getting him one step closer to his dream of becoming a filmmaker.

"There was a lot to learn about producing a film," Udoff says. "And so much of it you can only learn while you're doing it. So this was a great opportunity for me."

The Johns Hopkins University is recognized as the country's first graduate research university, and has been in recent years the leader among the nation's research universities in winning federal research and development grants.

The opportunity to be involved in important research is one of the distinguishing characteristics of an undergraduate education at Johns Hopkins. About 80 percent of the university's undergraduates engage in some form of independent research during their four years, most often alongside top researchers in their fields.

The Provost's Undergraduate Research Awards represent one of these research opportunities, open to students in each of the university's four schools with full-time undergraduates: the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, the G.W.C. Whiting School of Engineering, the Peabody Conservatory and the School of Nursing. Since 1993, about 40 students each year have been awarded up to $2,500 to propose and conduct original research, some results of which have been published in professional journals. The awards, funded through a donation from the Hodson Trust, are an important part of the university's commitment to research.

Return to Provost's Undergraduate Research Awards news release.

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