By Melanie Patterson
North Jefferson News
A Gardendale native has turned heads in the college film world, and she is not even a film major.
Desiree Baird, a 2006 Gardendale High School graduate, won the Founders Award on Sept. 29 at the UAB Department of Theatre’s Above the Line Film Festival.
“We’re very proud of her,” said UAB Department of Theatre film faculty Ron Hubbard. He said the Founders Award winner is chosen by faculty members.
The third annual Above the Line festival featured 35 short films and 140 student actors.
The short film that Baird wrote and directed, is called “The Unexpected.”
Baird, who is majoring in art, took UAB’s Filmmaking 1 class and learned the basics.
“She just took to everything,” Hubbard said. “I watched her direct it. She was very clear with her instructions in what she wanted the actors to do, but she wasn’t heavy-handed with it. That’s why she got such great results. My impression was that they totally trusted her.”
One of the requirements for the film was that music be included as one of the elements.
Baird, who is hearing impaired, was unable to incorporate music, so UAB staff member Brian Moon managed that aspect of the project.
“He did an absolutely fantastic job of creating the music for it,” Hubbard said.
The title of Baird’s film makes no sense at first, according to Hubbard. Not to give away the ending, Hubbard said the name ends up being “the perfect title.”
Baird was surprised when she learned that she won the Founders Award.
“I was shocked. It was definitely unexpected,” Baird said. “I did not expect to win anything. It really surprised me that they liked my film. I felt proud about it.”
“The Unexpected” was Baird’s second film. She also created a documentary of the Turkey Creek Nature Preserve in Pinson, and said she hopes to make more films.
Baird has several other honors under her belt.
She is a former Miss Deaf Alabama and has also placed well in other pageants.
Also, while a student at Wallace State Community College in Hanceville, Baird was instrumental in starting a Talking Hands sign language club.
In addition, Baird, along with other artists, has some photography on exhibit at Incubate Gallery in Avondale through Dec. 2. The gallery is open to the public and the art is for sale.
To see “The Unexpected,” click here.