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Arts / Culture

A USF student's love for nature will be on display at the Gasparilla International Film Festival

Alexis Yahre's short film on Florida’s state parks has already won several awards, including a nomination for “Best Student Film” and a win for “Best Young Director” at the Cannes World Film Festival.

Alexis Yahre says her love for nature started while visiting Florida’s state parks as a child.

She has translated that passion into a new documentary that she will share with its premiere March 13 at the Gasparilla International Film Festival in Tampa.

“Nature’s Secrets: Florida State Parks” features animals and interviews with local organizations, including Nature’s Classroom, Seaside Seabird Sanctuary, and Save the Manatee.

Alexis Yahre with a deer
Courtesy: Alexis Yahre
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USF student Alexis Yahre is sharing her love for nature through an award-winning documentary on Florida’s state parks that will premiere at the Gasparilla International Film Festival.

Yahre, a USF student, said she created the film to make people aware of the untapped potential Florida State Parks offer for eco-tourism and community education.

“I wanted to make a point of making sure when people come to visit Florida, that they respect the wildlife and raise some awareness for some of the issues that have been facing manatees and other more endangered species,” Yahre said.

She said she grew up visiting the state parks and wanted to share the excitement they offer to people of any age.

“A lot of people don't realize the potential they have,” Yahre said. “So when I think about Florida and my home and sharing that with people, that's the first thing that comes to my mind.”

Yahre, 21, is a senior studying mass communications and broadcast production at USF, which doesn’t have a film program.

“When you're in such a weird situation, you have to just kind of find a way to make a home wherever you go,” Yahre said.

She said she has gotten a lot of value out of her experience even though USF does not have a film school, and it has led her to her success today.

“I've been totally blown away by the amount of success this has had,” Yahre said. “I went into it without any budget. I had, like, 100 bucks for gas and I'm going against people who have at least $10,000 in their budget.”

This is only the beginning of Yahre’s work. She said there are other events planned for the film, including another theatrical showing at the Sunscreen Film Festival in April. She also plans to pursue her PhD in college leadership after graduating in May.

The film will premiere March 13 at 3:45 p.m. at the University of Tampa’s Ferman Black Box Theater. Tickets can be purchased from the Gasparilla International Film Festival website.