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Moll Directs Winning Film ‘Tiny Tampa’

This year, about 60 students at the University of Tampa participated in Campus MovieFest, but only 16 films were chosen to play at the premiere; one lucky filmmaker gets to fly to Hollywood to complete his film. This year Hisham Moll won both the top jury award and the silver tripod award for best editing of his film, “Tiny Tampa.” But to Moll, the best award was getting to see the audiences’ surprised faces when watching his movie.    


Ellis Catalan/ The Minaret

Campus MovieFest, the world’s largest student film festival, is held at various universities. CMF gives equipment (camcorders, tripods, Apple laptops and software) to students who participate, and they have one week to shoot and edit their films. 

Moll’s short film, “Tiny Tampa,” provides a unique look at the beauty and diversity of Tampa. By using special filming and editing techniques, Moll was able to create a fast-paced, miniature look. While MovieFest is free for students, Moll spent $20 to license the music for the film on Audiojungle. 

Moll used hyperlapse, an exposure technique in time-lapse photography in which film frames are captured (the frame rate) is much lower than that used to view the sequence. Processes that would normally appear subtle to the human eye, such as the motion of the sun and stars in the sky, become pronounced.

Moll came up with his movie idea after working with filmmaker Abdel Rahman Gobr in Egypt over the summer. Gobr, working on a Cairo time-lapse at the time, introduced Moll to the time-lapse photography technique. Another technique Moll used for “Tiny Tampa” was tilt shift.

Born and raised in Cairo, Egypt, Moll is a junior film and media arts major. His dream of becoming a filmmaker started when he was a junior in high school. He took a film production class in which he worked on a project for a week to shoot a short film for environmental awareness.

“The film was shown in the theater for the whole school to see,” Moll said. “After seeing everyone’s reaction to my film, I knew that this was what I wanted to do. It’s such an amazing feeling when someone genuinely likes what you have created.”

Growing up, Moll was always changing his mind about his future career. Nevertheless, whether he wanted to be like Steve Irwin from “The Crocodile Hunter” or like the lawyers on “Law & Order,” he was always led back to film. 

“All these things I wanted to be, I was inspired from TV shows,” Moll said. “Then I realized that through film, I could just create all of that.”

Although this wasn’t the first year Moll placed in the top 16 during the MovieFest premiere, he was not expecting to take first place. “I don’t want to sound conceited, but I was very optimistic about my film and was betting that it would win for best editing,” Moll said. “But I was extremely shocked and happy when they announced “Tiny Tampa” as the first-place winner. I really pushed myself this year to do something different, which paid off in the end.”  

Moll endured obstacles during shooting, such as the astro lapse scene. Moll gave it this name because of the night-sky scene showing stars moving at a fast speed. It’s basically the same thing as a time lapse.

“It took me over two hours to create the astro lapse scene because I had to take at least 500 pictures for it,” he said. “Also, location scouting was difficult. A lot of places I wanted to film were restricted, so I had to find my way around that.”

Christian Fernandez, one of Moll’s friends, accompanied him to Kissimmee, where he captured several astro time lapses for “Tiny Tampa.” Shooting this scene was scary at times, Fernandez said. 

 “We went out onto this wooded trail by his house there, and it was pretty freaky,” said Fernandez, a junior and film and media arts major. “It was dark, and we would hear sounds and get creeped out. But when we would see a picture that the camera was taking of the stars, it was beautiful and very much worth it.”

Moll’s dream is to become a filmmaker in Hollywood. He wants to focus on narrative work such as cinematography and directing.   

 “Hisham has a taste for projects that require learning something new,” said alumnus David Rinere, who met Moll when they took Sound, Image and Motion. “He sees something he likes and tries to make it special, and it works!”

Moll has  started work on “Tiny Tampa Part Two” and also plans to work on  Cairo Time Lapse when he returns to Egypt this summer. 

Tiny Tampa and other UT films can be viewed at  


Madison Irwin can be reached at

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