Amanda Carballo helped produce an award-winning film during her undergraduate years at the University of Miami. Now she plans to earn a law degree to represent artists in the entertainment industry.
Amanda Carballo did not think she wanted to come to the University of Miami. The 22-year-old had lived all her life in Miami, and she thought that going away made the most sense.
When the acceptance letter arrived, however, she could not say no.
“I am so glad I did accept,” she said. “Now I look back and realize that UM is its own little world, where you can learn all kinds of things and there are wonderful professors who help you find your way.”
Carballo will graduate from the School of Communication next week with a bachelor’s degree in motion pictures (production track) and minors in marketing and advertising.
She has decided to enter the field of entertainment law and will be applying for law school in the fall.
Carballo’s academic journey has exposed her to several job possibilities. During her time at the University, she worked at the student consultancy Orange Umbrella. The student-run agency provides media and public relations campaigns and assets to real-life clients.
“I always say that OU was the most impressionable experience at the University of Miami because it gave me the opportunity to work with real clients and local businesses in Miami,” she said. “I also got to explore different areas in advertising as a videographer.”
In one project for Sporticulture, a firm that caters to NFL fans, Carballo and her team created a short film to highlight a new product: a small light that when attached to a car door would project a football team’s logo onto the floor.
“It was used by fans at night to tailgate,” said Carballo. “The short film was shown at all BJ’s stores where the devices were sold.”
But it was in her film classes that Carballo began to find her passion.
Assistant professor Ali Habashi, a noted filmmaker, became an inspiration and someone to look up to, she said.
“He always pushed all of us to think outside the box,” she noted. And it was in that spirit that the class took on a special project during the beginning of the pandemic.
With Habashi’s leadership, and even with the limitations because of the pandemic, the group decided to make a film in China. It was made in collaboration with Fudan University, which provided camera equipment and the help of their students—who worked with the Miami students. Each day the video was streamed back to Miami on a live feed and students stayed up all night to give feedback to students in Shanghai.
“All the pre- and post-production was done in Miami,” said Carballo. “We scouted out locations in Shanghai using Google Maps and then our fellow students would check the location out.”
Carballo cowrote and edited the 10-minute film called “Shu,” about a young girl who mourns her mother’s disappearance. “Shu” was filmed in Chinese with English subtitles. It won four awards during the 2021 ’Canes Film Festival and was featured in the Sundance Film Festival program for its innovative nature.
“It was the first time that a film of this nature was done at UM,” she said.
Habashi was impressed with Carballo’s hard work and creativity.
“Amanda is the prime example of a highly talented and hardworking student who has a rare clarity regarding her strengths—where and how she could be the most impactful and how to make a substantial difference,” said Habashi.
“She was absolutely instrumental in the major success of a collaborative filmmaking project between UM and Fudan University in Shanghai, which was showcased internationally on the Zoom platform as well as at Sundance Film Festival as a highly innovative approach in filmmaking during the pandemic,” he added.
Although she enjoys the technical aspects of filmmaking, Carballo has decided that she can make greater contributions in the field of entertainment law.
“I see the entertainment industry as a way that we can track history and through films we can see how people were feeling during that time,” she said.
The senior pointed out that through the entertainment world people become interested in artists who, in many cases, become influencers and can affect people’s lives.
“Through law, I can protect and represent these artists who are having such an important role in our society,” she said.