Being a good student at the University of Miami can be hard. Besides the regular load of course work, the campus is like a microcosm of South Beach, with muscled young men and barely legal, scantily clad females everywhere. Despite the steamy atmosphere, Brian Bellinkoff and Fizaa Dosani stay centered. Instead of spending their downtime soaking up the sun, these driven students can be found lugging around cameras, corralling a team of about twenty student volunteers, and coproducing their TV show. The Reel View reveals the hard work that goes into the making of student films. The pilot episode features director Jorge Valdes-Iga as he completes his senior thesis, a moody romantic short called Harmony. The young filmmakers goof off, get down to work, and deal with intense on-set tension. "We don't want to focus on the drama on the set, but we want to show the problems that arise. A lot of the director's creativity comes in problem solving," says Bellinkoff.
These students get no class credit for their efforts. But according to Bellinkoff and Dosani, the rewards are endless. "You get to be on the set and see the mistakes people make. You network with actors and directors. Plus, you're directing and learning while you're shooting," Bellinkoff says while Dosani nods enthusiastically. "They say it's all about who you know in the film world. But if you can't do shit, then it doesn't matter who you know," Dosani says. "You gotta take charge of your education." Bellinkoff describes their show as "a cross between Inside the Actors Studio and Project Greenlight." But the hostess, English composition teacher Cyndi White, is effervescent, insightful, and nothing like James Lipton. And the tone of the program bears little resemblance to Ben Affleck and Matt Damon's competitive cinematic reality show. The Reel View gives students a chance to shine on a unique program that is funny, dramatic, genuine, and definitely worth watching. Watch The Reel View at 7:30 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday. For students on the UM campus, it airs on Channel 96. Coral Gables residents can catch it on Channel 48.