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Campus MovieFest returns to seek USF filmmakers

Giving all students the opportunity to be the next Martin Scorsese or Sofia Coppola, Campus MovieFest (CMF) has returned to USF for its eighth year in a row.

CMF invites students of all majors at 50 universities across the nation and around the world to participate in an on-campus student film festival. With all materials provided, students are required to create a five-minute film and are given the opportunity to win extensive prizes and experiences.

CMF was started on the campus of Emory University by four students in 2001, under the idea that every student needs a creative outlet, even though not every student has the resources.

“CMF is open to all students, there are no big rules or regulations, no genre specifications,” said Wey Lin, promotions manager of CMF. “The simple idea is to have fun and make a movie with the possibility of winning big. Students have nothing to lose and everything to gain.”

Given just seven days to create a film, every participating student will be given an Apple MacBook Pro with Adobe Creative Cloud software, a Panasonic HD camera and over 1,000 royalty-free songs to use in their film, to name a few supplies. All of these materials are entirely free to participating filmmakers. 

“One of the benefits of CMF is that there are no obligations to students,” Lin said. “They could sign up to participate, get the equipment and realize that it’s just not for them without any real financial obligation to us.”

Following the seven-day filming and editing process, filmmakers will submit their films, and of those, 16 will be chosen for a red carpet film screening in the Marshall Student Center. After the 16 films have been screened, four of those will be chosen to continue on to another screening in Hollywood, California, where an overall winner will be chosen among films from the 50 universities in the nation.

The chosen winner in the Hollywood screening will receive $150,000, a one-year subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud Suite and an invitation to join CMF and present at the renowned Cannes Film Festival’s Short Film Corner in the south of France along with 25-30 other students.

“USF is one of the biggest universities in our tour and students have historically done well in terms of content and quality,” Lin said.

Described as “one of CMF’s all-stars,” USF alumni Sarah Wilson participated in the competition, won best picture in Hollywood in both 2008 and 2009 and continued on to Cannes. Following her graduation from USF, Wilson continued her education at Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts in California.

“Winning the grand finale did wonders for my filmmaking career,” Wilson told The Oracle in 2011. “I was able to meet people in the industry and get acquainted with people to get jobs. I just did a summer internship at Warner Brothers Studios.”

Aside from boosting the potential for an extensive career in film, Lin believes CMF has the ability to change the lives of students.

“CMF has a tendency to ignite passion in students,” she said. “We could have students that are mechanical engineering or biology students decide that they want to participate, and after they make their films, they decide that they had fun and they want to pursue film instead. It’s just a lot of fun.”

For the first time since its opening last year, the Library’s digital media lab is partnering with CMF to provide participants with equipment and technology to make their films. Because CMF runs out of equipment almost every year, Lin hopes this partnership will encourage more student participation.

“Partnering with the digital media lab means more movies, more students, more executed ideas,” she said. “Having the digital movie lab encourages students to produce movies all year round, not just during CMF.” 

Students have until Wednesday to sign up on, when the equipment will be distributed to participants. Films are due Feb. 17, and the 16 selected films will be screened Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m. in the Marshall Student Center Oval Theater.