Hillsborough Community College Film Students Bring the Voices of Ybor to Life

Tampa, FLA, March 17, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- One of the defining features of the Ybor City District is the deep history that has infused the area with diverse charm. As the neighborhood has continued to develop and businesses have searched for ways to embrace the past while adapting for the future. This subtle art of past meets present has given Ybor City a signature theme and a unique voice. 


To tell that story and highlight the many voices of Ybor, the Ybor City Development Corporation (YCDC) has partnered with the Digital TV, Radio, Film and Media Production department at Hillsborough Community College (HCC). HCC students will visit key businesses and locations throughout the district for a multi-part series of short-form videos. Each video will be shot and produced by the students highlighting their individual artistic styles of storytelling.  


The students at HCC represent the growing film and media production industry in the Tampa area. Over the past decade, Tampa has seen a burst of production studios and requests for filming permits. Like so many industries, the COVID-19 pandemic put many opportunities on hold due to safety precautions and lockdowns.  


Finding ways for students passionate about the industry to get real-world experience despite the pandemic is essential to the continued growth here in Tampa, according to Film Tampa Bay’s Executive Director Tyler Martinolich. “With reduced opportunities related to COVID-19, now more than ever it is important to help students connect their in-class learning with practical experience. HCC is a valuable community partner, and this is an excellent opportunity for their students to not only gain experience but also help grow the economy and business opportunities in their community. This shows true leadership and community-minded thinking by HCC and the YCDC,” said Martinolich about the new partnership. 


Using onsite interviews and background information provided by YCDC, the students’ videos will highlight the intertwined connection between economic growth and local history that is at the core of Ybor City’s strengths. Videos will feature business owners, architects, Ybor residents, historians, and government officials who represent the voices of the district. Once filmed, the students will then edit and finalize the production of each video, creating an eclectic series.  


“Any opportunity that gives our students real-world experience and training is valuable,” says Nerissa Lamison, Chair of the HCC Digital TV, Radio, Film, and Media Production Department. “This opportunity is particularly unique because our students know the area so well. The businesses they are working with are ones they regularly visit or walk by on their way to class, so it’s exciting for them to highlight a community they know and love.” 


For the Ybor City CRA, the partnership is an excellent way to continue developing a diverse workforce in Ybor City. “This partnership with HCC allows us to provide exposure to the restoration of historic Ybor while it also offers workforce improvement opportunities to our local students in an innovative way. It truly is a win-win for Ybor City,” said Courtney Orr, Manager of the Ybor Community Redevelopment Areas and Ybor City Development Corporation.   


The first trio of videos is scheduled to wrap in early summer. Once complete, the videos will be shared through the YCDC website, social media, and other media outlets. Each semester a new group of HCC students will have the opportunity to put their own spin on the new campaign.  


About Ybor City Development Corporation  
Ybor City, Tampa’s National Historic Landmark District, has a unique background and diverse cultural heritage. The district is flourishing with culturally inspired architectural buildings and an eclectic mix of businesses and restaurants. Over the past 20 years, the district has undergone significant economic development and investment while also maintaining its historic charm. Ybor City Development Corporation (YCDC) works to stabilize the district by securing the future of its historic structures and community. In addition, it serves as a catalyst in rehabilitating deteriorated properties with architectural merit, creating jobs, and improving the district’s overall livability. Its mission is to enhance Ybor City’s development, redevelopment, and economic revitalization. For more information about YCDC, visit www.yborcityonline.com. 


HCC students interview Executive Chef Alessio Selleri at Casa Santo Stefano. Andrea Gonzmart Williams, 5th Generation Owner of the famed Columbia Restaurant Group prepares to be interviewed by HCC students.

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