A Movie Productions News
films by
Victoria Jorgensen

A Cinematic Feast

By Jenny Carey • Photos by Will Staples
“Un Chien Andalou,” a 16-minute surrealist film made inFrance in 1929 by writer-director Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí, is one of the best-known surrealist films from the French avant-garde film movement of the 1920s.
For local documentary filmmaker Victoria Jorgensen, it was the inspiration for a career as a filmmaker and a storyteller.
Three years into a writing major at the University of South Florida, Jorgensen began a final year of study with only electives required to finish her degree. Deciding to “stretch herself,” a value that has become a lifelong theme, she enrolled in Visual Concepts, where Professor Margie Miller showed “Un Chien Andalou” to the class.
“I was astounded anything like this existed,” Jorgensen says. “I was thinking: This is exactly how my mind works.”
Her latest film, “A Moving Feast,” premiered locally last April at the Ybor Festival of the Moving Image to a full house. The festival was an appropriate local debut for a film about a special time in Tampa’s cultural history well deserving of documentation.
“A Moving Feast” masterfully tells about the infancy, development and influence of independent filmmaking in the Tampa Bay area. “It explores the earliest days of experimental cinema in Tampa, which radiated from the hub of the cinematography department at the University of South Florida in the late ’70s and ’80s to the technology revolution,” Jorgensen says.
“I used ‘A Moving Feast’ to examine the spirit of the independent film and video artist, the sense of community established through experimentation and the desire to create with little financial resource without staying in the lines.”
Jorgensen personifies all that the film examines. Through the use of interviews, archival footage and oral histories, she reveals her own appreciation for a medium she knows she is meant to do.
Jorgensen personifies all that the film examines. Through the use of interviews, archival footage and oral histories, she reveals her own appreciation for a medium she knows she is meant to do.
After seeing “Un Chien Andalou” for the first time, Jorgensen staged a two-hour sit-in with her professor, determined to study film although it was a graduate program at the time. Professors apparently gave up a little easier in those days, or her determination wore him down, because Jorgensen studied through the year and learned the craft.
“That time was a magical period of collaboration and experimentation that spawned numerous works and talent that spread across the county from San Francisco to Miami to Maine,” she says.
Locally, it was the USF Chinsegut Film/Video conference that drew talented and developing filmmakers to this area. Jorgensen documents that “hot bed of fearless experimentation and discovery” in “A Moving Feast.”
Jorgensen had met fellow filmmaker Ray Day, a member of the film program, and credits him for taking her under his wing. She made three 16-milimeter films during her time at USF.
After graduation, Jorgenson created commercial and training films for businesses. As with many artists working in the field during the day, it didn’t leave much energy for creative projects. “I never lost my love for film, but I stopped making it,” she says.
A hiatus from the field allowed time for the technology and equipment to change. Ironically for a filmmaker, it was the digital equipment that allowed Jorgensen to return to making films.
“I still love film. But when I was using it in the late ’70s, it was about a $1,000 a minute,” she says. “And what you can do digitally that used to take weeks, you can now do in minutes. It does free you from a lot of pain.”
Jorgensen’s return to film has been met with immediate success. A strong writer even from a young age, she wrote a screenplay titled “Red Flag” that in 2003 became her first short film since her return.
“There are several types of women. Some have personality traits that send up red flags. Here are a few examples…”
“Red Flag” was picked up by her current distributor, Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre, which has distributed her films around the world through the festival circuit. That project was followed by “Plethora.”
“ ‘Plethora’ examines the personal storage industry, consumerism, compartmentalization of private lives and containment of belongings from the past and for the future,” she says. It has become a favorite of the organization industry.
Jorgensen works from an outline when she begins a documentary film. “I focus on what I would like to share. Then you lead it as far as you can before it takes on a life of its own.”
She gives credit where credit is due. “I made ‘A Moving Feast’ in part because I owe so much to the people who taught me,” she says, referring to her editor, Sandra Brogioni. “A good editor can do anything. They are 50 percent of the whole bundle. So much can be done in post production.”
Jorgensen is equally as good at business as the creative side. “I fight with that sometimes, but you need both sides today.” She still makes a living with her own business, but film is becoming more and more rewarding and she wants to take it further.
She is only at the beginning of where she would like to be creatively, while having already accomplished much. She has been an accredited guest at the Berlin Film Festival for almost 10 years and an annual guest at the Toronto Film Festival for nearly the same amount of time.
Jorgensen has ideas for future documentaries, many based on interesting things she sees in the Florida area. She even is willing to consider a feature.
Tampa, and film lovers, will only benefit from more of Jorgensen’s films. Learn more at www.amovieproductions.com.

The black and white stills are from Jorgensen’s film “A Moving Feast.” The color stills are from “Red Flag.”

Victoria Jorgensen edits a film in her home office.