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Professor’s Film Debuts in Paris

Courtesy of Tom Garrett

Courtesy of Tom Garrett

A professor from The University of Tampa traveled to Paris for the premier of his latest film.

Tom Garrett, assistant professor of communications at UT, produced the first documentary of the late Leon Blum, former Prime Minster of France.

“He was the first Jewish leader of a free world country, ever,” Garrett said.

Blum was thrown into Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II. When he was released after the war he became Prime Minster of France again.

The director of the film, Jean Bordon, was Garrett’s first film professor as an undergraduate. Garrett and Bordon have been friends for almost 30 years and have worked together on many films.

Four years ago, Bordon did a documentary on his father and found out his father was Jewish. This piece of information was hidden from him for his whole life. He’s about 60 years old now. After finishing the documentary, “he got very much involved in French culture again and he found out about Leon Blum,” Garrett said.

Garrett said there was a natural relationship between Bordon’s experiences and the documentary he had done on his father.

“We do everything,” Garrett said of his role as producer. “From initial idea, to coordinating execution, through to the premiere, book interviews, and festival submissions, etc. I also shot a good portion of it as director of photography.”

The film premiered in Paris, France at the Museum of Jewish Art and History on Oct. 12.

Garrett said they expected six people to show up, but that 250 people attended.

The majority that attended were scholars of Leon Blum, history buffs and members of the museum.

“[It was] really about the subject and the man,” Garrett said of the premiere. “Many times it’s more about the film makers.”

The location was “neat and very specific, since it was at a museum and was a historical place,” according to Garrett.

The film was sent to the New York Film Festival, sponsored by the Lincoln Center.

They contacted the producers when the festival was going on and told them that the film was not right for the festival, but perfect for their series.

The film will premiere at the Film Society of Lincoln Center in the winter series.

The schedule for the series has not been posted yet but it will be in Jan. 2010. Garrett is working on a few other projects at the moment.

One of the films he’s working on is a collaboration involving UT students and UT adjunct professor, Curtis Graham. The film is titled “Prime of Your Life.”

Garrett said it will premiere in 2010.

Garrett is also working on two films with Gregg Bachman, UT professor of communications. This first one is called “Family Programming,” and is a short featuring Tampa music teen star, Keely Marshall.

The other is a film titled “Rehab is for Quitters.”

“[This] will be directed by an academy award nominated director locally in Tampa Bay, we hope,” he said.
“I love the process. Every time a film gets made it’s a miracle that it gets done just because of the process.”

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