Campus Movie Fest encourages students to create their own films

Freshman Edge members Karlee Mott and Robert Lawson promote Campus Movie Fest.

Mississippi State University will host a launch for the Campus Movie Fest competition on Nov. 12 in the Colvard Student Union Dawg House. 

According to their website, Campus Movie Fest is the world’s largest student film festival and provides students with all the equipment they need to prepare and publish a five-minute short film over the course of a week. 

The top 16 film submissions will then be chosen and reviewed the following week at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20 in Bettersworth Auditorium in Lee Hall. From there, four winners will be chosen to compete in the national competition in Hollywood, California. 

Luna Ramirez, the promotions manager for Campus Movie Fest, outlined the event while explaining the process for participating students throughout their week of film-making. 

“Campus Movie Fest is the largest student film festival. It’s an amateur film festival where we offer students 24-hour tech support to help our students bring their videos to life. They’re not expected to be part of any specific major or have any pre-existing skills set to participate, so it makes it open for every student on campus to try it out and do something fun or something different,” Ramirez said.

Ramirez said the small time-frame in which students are required to complete the film is doable because of the short length of the film.

“Our videos are five minutes or less and they have a week to make a five minute or less video, so it’s not like they’re making a full feature-length or two-hour extravaganza. It’s just an opportunity for them to make something within that length,” Ramirez said. 

Ramirez also explained how unlimited the creativity within the program is and the several different types of submissions she has seen while working with CMF.

“Students can make any kind of videos they want as long as it adheres to campus policy. We’ve gotten horror movies, comedies, documentaries, music videos, animations, travel vlogs, makeup tutorials," Ramirez said.

CMF's film equipment can also be used for other educational purposes, Ramirez said.

"Students can use our equipment for class projects or for anything they might use for their own career portfolios. We’ve helped students come up with digital elements for their portfolios and things like that as well. At the core of it, it’s an educational experience and we’re offering them the equipment and skills,” Ramirez said. 

Joseph Lupo, the video manager for Campus Movie Fest, explained the judging process for filming and how students can advance to a higher level after submitting their work.

“That is all an anonymous panel of judges. The CMF staff does not vote. We give it to judges which usually consist of students and faculty at our respected school and they score the films. We just get the score in, so we can know the top 16 and top four due to the scores, then I cut together the shows based off of that,” Lupo said. 

Lupo added that there are opportunities for students to acquire different awards assigned to certain elements of the film.

“So basically, there are the superlative categories. So, if your film is exceptional at a school level, you can win best cinematography, best directing, best production design, best sound effects, anything like that and if you won one of these, it’s called a silver tripod award—you’re in the running to win on a national level. The top five will be in the categories known as golden tripod nominees and then you are in the running to win,” Lupo said. 

Sarafina Dodson, the tour manager for Campus Movie Fest, emphasized the opportunities the program provides for students who have a lack of experience within the film realm.

“Eight percent of students that participate are actually STEM majors, so you don’t even have to know how to hold a camera. We have a video manager, Joey, who is there to help out. We also have tech support days where students can come talk to Joey about things they need help with. It’s definitely a teachable time throughout the week. If you’re a student that hasn’t worked with equipment, you should still participate because it’s an amazing opportunity and we can definitely help you out along the way,” Dodson said. 

Dodson explained the importance of programs like Campus Movie Fest due to their ability to allow students to creatively express themselves. 

“To me, Campus Movie Fest is an amazing opportunity for students seeing as though I personally don’t have a film background, I definitely see that outer perspective that students get to have with it," Dodson said. "It’s just seeing that impact that we have on a lot of students really touches my heart and the fact that some students even change their major to film or we just give them this week to be creative." 

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