posted 2011-04-27 12:00:29

Campus MovieFest comes to Hunter College

A Red Carpet Event for Student-Produced Movies

Campus MovieFest comes to Hunter College


James Davis

Contributing Writer

On Friday, Apr. 8, the Campus MovieFest held their third annual Red Carpet finale at Hunter College. This event showcased the top 16 films created by Hunter students, and awarded the top three films with thousands of dollars’ worth of prizes.

The Campus MovieFest (CMF) is an international student film festival that gives students of a participating college all the tools necessary to create a short movie. The students do not have to major in Film Studies to participate.

For a week, at no charge to them, student teams are each provided with a Panasonic high-definition camcorder, accessories, and an Apple MacBook loaded with the latest filmmaking software. After the week is over, the teams return the equipment to CMF and submit their film for evaluation by a judging committee made up of that school’s students. The top 16 of the films are then shown in a Red Carpet finale, to be viewed by a theater full of students.

If a team’s movie is chosen as that school’s best work of comedy, drama, or best movie overall, they are rewarded with a copy of Final Cut Studio (worth $999), an iPod, and an invitation to CMF’s International Grand Finale. On the international level, a team can win an iPad for each team member, more iPods, cash prizes, and possibly trips for two to the Academy Awards. In just Hunter alone, over a hundred teams registered.

At the CMF finale at Hunter, hundreds of students gathered in a theater room in anticipation of the movies they were about to see. USG helped to provide free freshly-popped popcorn and drinks, which solidified the movie theater experience.

The audience was also greeted with door prizes; they all were given raffle tickets in hopes of winning free t-shirts or an iPod Nano. Student Ariela Hazan won the best door prize of the night: a copy of Final Cut Studio.

After the hostess amped up the audience with witty banter and free things, the films finally started. Of the top 16 films, only three could be declared the best, in the categories of Best Comedy, Best Drama, and Best Picture. The winner of the campus’ Best Comedy vote was McKinley!, a film by the team Hands of Time Productions. McKinley! is about William McKinley, the 25th President of the United States, who was assassinated, but through the miracles of science, is preserved as a robot seeking revenge on his assassin. The award for Best Drama went to the team, Enfranchise WGS!, for their documentary entitled Get With The Program, which followed Hunter’s Women and Gender Studies Program and their ongoing battle in becoming a full-fledged department.

The award for Best Picture overall was granted to Film Studies major Luke Shin, of the team Naked Cinema, for his film Monkey Business. The story follows the life of a monkey who attempts to leave the mafia to take care of his family, but the mafia tries to kill him: “No one leaves the family alive.” The film is lacking of real monkeys, but instead utilizes actors wearing monkey masks and Pulp Fiction-esque suits, shooting at each other with banana-guns.

Samantha Putri, director of the movie The Secret Within, was one of the 16 finalists. “I was proud. I was proud of the team, and me, for accomplishing such a task in a week. Having our film played in front of hundreds of people is just amazing,” she said. “Most of the members in our team never had any experience with films before this project, so I thought we did fantastic in our first year.”

A member of this team, Ken Ruan, was nominated for Best Actor for his role in The Secret Within. “My team felt honored to be included in the top 16,” he said. “We were so hopeful before finale night and our wishes were answered.” He shared that he felt ecstatic because he had never been nominated for anything before this. “I am not yet ready for next year, but I can predict that my level of excitement will surge when the time comes next year. It will be my last year at Hunter College, so I want to shoot a winning film!” said Ruan, with a laugh.

There was an assortment of great works at the CMF finale, and others that were not screened at the event. Though I liked a lot of the films, my personal suggestions would be: SINS, A Trip Down the Stairs, For The Win, and Mr. Frodo Jenkins (although, that last movie could be considered a shameless plug, as I directed it).

“I will definitely participate in CMF again!” stated Putri. “CMF had given me a priceless opportunity that I would not have ever experienced if they didn’t come to Hunter.”

All of the movies, including those from previous years, can be viewed on the Campus MovieFest website, www.campusmoviefest.com.