Volunteer Spotlight: Tommy Vu

tommyvuAfter Tommy Vu's family moved to America from Vietnam in 1993, they lived in various states until they landed in San Jose, California in 1998 where Tommy was born.When he was only 3 months old, his family settled in Sarasota, Florida.

Now a senior at Sarasota High School, Tommy is an aspiring graphic designer. He began volunteering for the Sarasota Film Festival last year and caught our attention when we hosted a Shiftboard Orientation for Volunteers. Only two people showed up, Tommy and his friend Natalie Luong. Ever since then, Tommy has manned the merchandise table at the Moonlight Movies, worked in Theater-Tech, and screened and reviewed films for our Programming department. You also might recognize him from the Volunteer video...he is the one breakdancing in the Hollywood 20 Theater lobby.


What are your hopes once you graduate high school?

I hope to attend the University of Florida. As of right now I plan to major in Advertisment, focusing more on the artistic side of the field such as creating logos.

You have an interest in graphic design, is there a certain style that would describe your work or a specific graphic designer you follow?

There's no certain style I try and follow, I started dabbling in graphic design last year and let the style basically change naturally with each project. I do on the other hand follow some outstanding artists that inspired me to start designing after seeing their work, as well as tutorials. The artists that inspired me the most are Will Paterson, who does unbelievable hand lettering, and a graphic designer that goes by the name Swerve.

When you are not busy studying or volunteering for the Sarasota Film Festival, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Recently in my spare time I go running a lot. With most of my time sucked up sitting at a desk working on numerous assignments, my body aches for some way to relieve stress. The reason I chose running is that I can do it whenever and wherever, also because I love to explore. I run around two to six miles away from my house to some area, usually to the Celery Fields. When I have more time on my hands I like to longboard large distances, exploring new areas, or areas more in-depth. For instance, I once longboarded from my house to downtown Sarasota on a day off, which was around 18 miles in total, because I felt adventurous.


What inspired you to volunteer with the Sarasota Film Festival in 2016?

I first learned about the opportunity from my AICE - Media Studies teacher, Keith Elsbree. The course studies the film and media industry, and thus he told us about Sarasota Film Festival and the volunteer opportunities. I honestly wasn't very interested at first, but decided to volunteer after hearing more about the festival from my friend, Lana Allen, who was interning for SFF already.

Which departments do you volunteer for? What attracted you to them?

I first volunteered for the Theater Operations - Tech, which helped monitor things in theaters, making sure everything was running smoothly and staying on schedule. I simply chose this department because I thought it would give the better experience than most. Presently, I'm volunteering for the Screening Committee which involves reviewing film submissions. When I first came to SFF, I wanted to join the screening committee, but didn't because they were finishing up the screening process already. So, this year I joined because I felt it fit me the best, and I would've regretted letting this opportunity slip by me again.  

How has your experience been volunteering in Theater-Tech and the Screening Committee? What have you enjoyed most about your experience volunteering?

Both departments I've worked in, the experience is one-of-a-kind and is what I love most about volunteering. While working for Theater-Tech, I saw how much effort and care is put into everything behind the scenes to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible. Not to mention I either got to see or actually shake hands with outstanding filmmakers and actors, such as Josh Radnor. As for the Screening Committee, I've gained the privilege of being able to watch a myriad amount of incredible -and bad- films before they are released. Also, I get to see more behind-the-scenes work in putting the festival together.


What is your favorite film and why?

 While I've watched quite a few amounts of films now, when asked this question, "Inception" is always the first movie that comes to mind. The concepts, ideas, morals, production, and style is what made me become enthralled with it when I first watched it. The movie outclasses that of any other film I've watched so far, and probably will for quite a while because I'm young and arrogant. Nonetheless, "Inception" left me wanting so much more, all the while satisfying me beyond belief. It truly opened the world of film for me when I was younger, and thus it's easily the most memorable film to me and my favorite.

 If someone wanted to make a film about YOU. Who would play you?

 I would choose my friend that's an aspiring actor, Quoc-Thong Pham. While he looks nothing like me, he knows me well, and I'm sure he would be fantastic.

 Which actor would play your comrade?

 If I can choose anyone, I would have to choose Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

 What kind of genre of film can you see yourself in?

 Now that I think about it, I could totally do a romcom. I like to think I can be romantic.

 Which director would direct your film?

 Hands down, it would have to be Josh Radnor if it's a romcom.

 What composer or genre of music would score your film?

 I don't know many composers, but hopefully Lin-Manuel Miranda could save this train wreck of a film.

 What are you looking forward to for the 19th year of the Sarasota Film Festival?

It would be wonderful to see a film I reviewed and deemed worthy, be shown at SFF. Other than that, I simply look forward to meeting new people and catching up with everyone I met last year.

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