Best Director

MFA graduate and lecturer wins award for 3-D film created in UT3D program

Deepak Chetty Banner

Radio-Television-Film graduate and Lecturer Deepak Chetty (M.F.A. ’15) has won “Best Director” at the 11th Independent Television and Film Festival (ITVFest), a network of the world’s best independent television pilots, Web series and short films for his film “Hard Reset.”

The film, Chetty’s thesis project made in the UT3D program while he was a student in the Department of Radio-Television-Film, was selected from about 500 submissions from 35 states and 23 nations to screen among entertainment professionals, network executives and producers in Dover, Vermont, from Oct. 5-9.

Deepak Chetty

Deepak Chetty wins ITVFest Best Director

ITVFest is a nonprofit film festival referred to at “the Sundance of independent television” by Indiewire that according to Executive Director Philip Gilpin, Jr., was conceived to “create respect and livable wages for independent content creators.”

The 38-minute science-fiction action film – the first 3-D graduate student thesis film at The University of Texas at Austin – centers around a young detective investigating an impending artificial intelligence revolution. He is forced to choose between humanity and his android girlfriend after she is infected with a virus that gives her full perception of reality.

Chetty completed principal photography over 11 days in April 2014, and he and his crew spent another year tweaking more than 300 special effects shots and making edits before premiering the film in April 2015. Also involved in the creation of “Hard Reset” were numerous other alumni including co-writer and producer David Bukstein, co-producer and editor Taylor Michelle Thompson, cinematographer Patrick Smith, production designer Javier Bonafont, art director Emily Haueisen, co-editor Jordan Kerfeld, and post production lead Simon Quiroz, among others.

The short was created in the Department of Radio-Television-Film’s UT3D unit, a program teaching 3-D production techniques which launched in fall 2013 as the only comprehensive 3-D program taught to students in the nation. Led by industry professionals such as Buzz Hays, Matt Blute, Gregg Atwell and Shannon Benna, the hands-on instruction is taught with state-of-the-art equipment in the CMB on campus.

The UT3D program plans a discussion on “Immersive Media: Changing the World” on Oct. 17 from 7-9 p.m. in the Belo Center for New Media auditorium (BMC 2.106) on campus and will feature Chetty and senior lecturer and 3-D producer Hays. Chetty will discuss his recent immersive media projects including “Mars: An Interactive Journey” and “Waiting for the Pope in Ciudad Juarez,” both collaborations with The Washington Post and the Knight Foundation.


Other panelists include: Cy Wise, UT Austin graduate, community and media organizer of Austin-based Owlchemy Labs and creator of leading virtual reality game “Job Simulator;” Jo Lammert, virtual reality, animation and video game liaison for the Texas Film Commission; Jonathan Dern, CEO of SD Entertainment; Autumn Taylor, UT Austin graduate and media director of Phaser Lock Interactive; and Michele Martell, co-founder of Austin Women in VR and a media and technology attorney. Organizers request an RSVP if you would like to attend. The event is free and open to the public.

Chetty’s work has been featured in the Austin Film Society’s “10 Under 10” series and the Longhorn Network in addition to winning “Best Live-Action Short” for “Hard Reset” at the Advanced Imaging Society Creative Arts Awards alongside big budget films such as “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “Inside Out,” and “The Martian.”

Chetty currently teaches “Immersive Media Production” in Moody College, an advanced production course involving 3-D production, stereoscopy, artificial environments and virtual reality. While Chetty continues to teach and work in film in Austin, he is currently pitching “Hard Reset” as a series and shooting a virtual reality tour of the UT Austin campus.

The trailer for “Hard Reset” can be viewed here. Banner image provided courtesy of Shelby Tauber. 

Marc Speir
Senior Content Producer