Campus MovieFest invokes Hunter talentCMF resembles Oscars, only shorter
David M. Deleon
Contributing Writer There was a red carpet. There were cameras and paparazzi taking glamour shots. Students dressed up or dressed down according to taste. USG even gave out popcorn and refreshments. And the films ran five minutes long, so there was no excuse not to watch them all.
The Campus MovieFest finale screened sixteen of the best short films submitted by Hunter College to the national competition, where equipment and training is offered to undergraduates to make a five-minute film in under a week. This year there were 95 student teams from Hunter alone, and three walked away with Silver Tripod awards at the finale on Friday. Best picture went to the documentary Fodera, best comedy to the zombie rom-com Romance of the Dead, and best drama to Onomatopoeia.
The sixteen campus finalists shown at the event were a good mix of professional and amateur. Some (like many of the winners) showed obvious budgets and were backed by student production companies. Others were more in keeping with the D.I.Y., “anyone can make a movie” aesthetic that’s so appealing about CMF. Since the organizers of CMF give you an HD camera, training, and a fully-loaded MacBook for editing, literally anyone with an idea was able to make a film.
The winning film, Fodera, is a documentary about a Brooklyn company that handcrafts electric basses. The filmmakers shot it lovingly, carefully using depth-of-field and tracking to bring out the lush colors of the wood as the bass- craftsmen worked over them meticulously. In accepting the top award, the director dedicated the movie to his father who had provided inspiration and some funding. To add to the drama, his father then ran up to the stage from out of the audience and celebrated with his son. It was a scene right out of a movie. Fodera also received a nominated for best score.
One of the biggest winners of the night was Romance of the Dead, a movie about two zombies in love and the zombie hunters who try to tear them apart. In addition to winning best comedy, best actor and actress went to the pair of star-crossed zombies, Seth Baird and Emily Wilk. After accepting his Silver Tripod, Baird zombie-lurched back to his seat to much applause.
Girard Tecson, director of Romance of the Dead, has been making movies for CMF since 2009. His first film, A Good Man, was a finalist and wild card winner, and every year afterwards he has made it to the top sixteen without winning a major award. “I kept on trying year after year as I improved my filmmaking skills,” he said. “I said to myself, ‘One day I’ll win and give a speech in front of hundreds of Hunter College students.’ And I did that this year.”
“It felt unreal to finally achieve a goal I set in 2009,” he went on to say. “I’m very happy and humbled by this achievement.” A media studies major set to graduate in 2013, Tecson has yet to decide whether this will be his last time participating in CMF.
All winners received a set of t-shirts, the Silver Tripod award, and invitations to the Campus MovieFest Hollywood finale weekend.
Also nominated for best drama was Siblings in Progress, a documentary about the filmmaker’s brother, who has Asperger’s syndrome. Up for best comedy was Destiny, Interrupted, a scene about a man who keeps getting interrupted by his girlfriend while he’s on the toilet. The screwball black comedy The Student Body also received a nomination.
Many other finalists stood out as well. Ready to Mingle is a funny take on the speed dating scene, That’s the Internet is a 35mm stop-motion film about YouTube, and The Contained is a well- shot twist on the epidemic movie. The Contained also received commendation for cinematography. All of these films are available to watch in their entirety on YouTube.
In addition to campus best picture, comedy and drama, there is also a campus “wild card” slot for the film that gets the most YouTube views by April 23. This film will then enter a bracket competition with other wild card winners for a spot at the CMF Hollywood event.
These films and more can be found on the CMF website at www. campusmoviefest.com/hunter.