Students compete for exposure at campus MovieFest

Video courtesy of Campus MediaFest YouTube.

By Andi Hubbell

Staff Writer

This week, aspiring student filmmakers at the University of Maryland will create films for the opportunity to attend Campus MovieFest, a worldwide student film festival.

Participating students will receive an HD camera, tripod, microphone and laptop to capture and edit a five-minute film over the course of seven days. The teams awarded Best Picture, Best Comedy and Best Drama at each campus will receive passes to attend the annual Campus MovieFest Grand Finale, where their projects are showcased. This year the grand finale will be held in Hollywood, Calif.

Launched in 2001 by four students at Emory University, Campus MovieFest (CMF) hosts competitions at dozens of college campuses across the U.S., Mexico and the U.K. each year.

The competition is an ideal learning experience for novice filmmakers, according to CMF Promotions Manager Nishant Gogna.

“The 24/7 tech support offers seminars that teach you how to edit, how to shoot, how to direct and how to screenwrite, so even for a filmmaker that has absolutely no experience whatsoever, this is an amazing opportunity,” Gogna said. “Not only are we giving them the equipment, but we’re teaching the expertise on top.”

This year, 40 teams have signed up for CMF at this university. Students received their equipment yesterday in Hoff Theater and have until March 5 to complete their film projects.

Freshman Ted Sim, who is producing a film alongside fellow freshmen Dolapo Demuren, Jose Zamora and Theodore Purdy, is excited to challenge himself to complete a film project in a condensed period of time.

“I like the fact that Campus Moviefest pushes you,” Sim said. “It’s really easy to get lost in a project, especially when things start going wrong. But with something like Campus MovieFest, you have to get it done.”

Sim, whose film work was featured in the D.C. Shorts Film Festival in 2011, said that while he has been designated as the main screenwriter for his team’s project, his team members are sharing a lot of the roles.

“Out of the four of us, I’m the only one that has video experience, so I will be leading the camera shots, and the editing and the writing,” he said. “The thing is, (my teammates are) just as much of a part of it because they’re contributing ideas, and as far as I’m concerned, I think ideas are much more important than technical stuff.”

CMF offers student filmmakers unparalleled opportunities, according to Gogna, who participated in the competition at the University of South Florida in 2010 and 2011 before joining the company six weeks ago.

“You will never find another film festival in the nation or in the world that does what we do,” he said.

On March 11, the top 16 films chosen by select students, faculty and staff at this university will be showcased at the campus’s grand finale in Hoff Theater. The Best Picture, Best Comedy and Best Drama winners will also be announced.

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