UTA Magazine
The only limit is your imagination

Anyone who has seen Andy Anderson’s Positive I.D. can attest to its shocking ending. I don’t remember why I was so late to the film’s campus screening in fall 1988 at the Rosebud Theatre. Unfortunately, I saw the final scenes before the rest of the film.

Anderson, an art professor and UT Arlington writer-in-residence, resurrected the University’s film program in 1976. He wrote, produced and directed Positive I.D., which opened on 1,200 screens in 1987. He has written and directed three other independent feature films, including Drive-by Shooting, which resides in the permanent collection at the Australian Center for the Moving Image.

Anderson’s list of accomplishments is nearly as long as the reels he produces. Here’s the point: He makes award-winning movies and imparts his knowledge to students. That’s one reason why they’ve been nominated for 11 Student Academy Awards, won the American Film Institute National Student Competition First Award and had screenings at some of the most prestigious festivals in the world.

Anderson has a different take. The hands-on nature of the program is what makes it so successful, he says. Alumnus Sai Selvarajan agrees.

"The film program has really good equipment that prepares students for the real world," the 2001 graduate said. "You have everything you need to make a high-quality short film. You’re limited only by your imagination, which, as a film student, is all you can ask for from a film program."

Selvarajan wrote and directed Separated by Light, a short film that recently won a Golden Telly honoring outstanding video and film productions. He co-produced the film with fellow UT Arlington alumni Christopher Simpson and Johnny Rutledge. The trio formed BLACKleaderFILMS, whose short works have screened nationally and internationally.

I admit that independent short films are not usually on my radar. But hardly a day goes by that I’m not reminded of the talent of former UT Arlington film students.

"I want Jimmy!" is a common plea from my 3-year-old daughter. She’s referring to Jimmy Neutron, the animated wunderkind whose 30-minute episodes air daily (seems like hourly) on Nickelodeon.

Distinguished Alumnus Keith Alcorn created the copiously coiffed cartoon character. He even garnered an Academy Award nomination for the movie version, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. Working with Anderson, Alcorn made his first animated films as a student here in the late 1970s.

Positive I.D. was my introduction to Anderson.

I found a seat near the back of the Rosebud and watched as a woman in a red dress and high heels entered a dive bar in downtown Fort Worth, walked to a corner table, reached inside her coat and … if you haven’t seen the film, it’s available from Amazon.com.

Recently I watched the DVD, this time from start to finish.

Even though I knew how it ended, it still shocked me.

— Mark Permenter

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