The student-made films were rolling as the competitors battled to advance to a national competition at USF’s Campus Movie Fest (CMF) Monday evening.
The event was in the Marshall Student Center Oval Theater and showcased the top 16 films, made by students this year during filmmaking week on campus, to an audience of over 300 people.
Out of the 91 student movies that were submitted at USF, and 16 shown on screen, the contest was narrowed down to the four who won the Jury Awards.
Those winners will now move on to present their films at the CMF Terminus in Atlanta, to compete against other Jury Award winners from CMF-participating schools across the country.
Last year, 865 students participated and 111 films were submitted, which made it the second-largest showcasing at USF.
Luna Ramirez, host of the show, said her favorite moment of the night “was seeing students' reactions to seeing other films” and “getting excited that a good piece of art was made.”
This is the 11th time USF has hosted the student-film festival that tours the country.
While still shaking in excitement from his Jury Award win, a freshman and director of “Picture Perfect," Henry Clagett, said he was inspired to make his film surrounding the mind of serial killers. He said the motivation of the film was society’s infatuation with motivations and tactics of serial killers.
The film focused on the life of an individual and a new beginning through the portrayal of a student with a hidden history as a murderer.
Aidan Jackson said he and the other actors from the student-film, “Boy’s Turn,” were confident in their win and said “it was no surprise” that they won a Jury Award. He said he thinks the film's popularity was in part a result of the topic: fragile masculinity.
Jackson said that being able to communicate this topic through a “conversational piece” made it easier for the audience to resonate with the characters and their stories.
Another Jury Award winner announced was “Hell of a Ride,” which was directed by Tristan Scammell.
Joshua Torres, the cinematographer for the film, had no expectations of placing.
“To see that we placed in the top 16 — that was satisfying enough,” Torres said.
Two Silver Tripod Awards were also up for grabs at the festival, which is rare for a CMF event at a single school.
These awards are given to films that excel in cinematography, directing, editing and further production aspects. They went to “El Viajante," for best documentary — winner of a Jury Award as well — and actress Sydney Reddish for her part in “Kyle: Now Streaming.”
All films and entries from this year’s competition will be made available to watch on the USF CMF page online.
CMF will return next year with the hopes of a bigger turnout from students, filmmakers and supporters for 2020.
With an eye toward the future, Scammell said supporting other artists is imperative for their continued success.
“Look out for each other and let’s keep creating,” Scammell said.