Campus MovieFest (CMF) is the world’s largest student film festival and coming to UCF this month to provide aspiring filmmakers the chance to create their own movie for free.
Over the past 15 years, CMF has given more than 1 million students at colleges and universities the chance to compete in their movie-making contest. Students at over 30 participating colleges sign up to receive access to all the equipment a production would need, including laptops loaded with editing software, Panasonic HD cameras, and external hard drives.
The gear is given to students for free, along with a week-long deadline to create a five minute film. The top films are showcased at a red-carpet finale event, then the winning movie is invited to a weekend dedicated to celebrating student filmmaking at the Campus MovieFest Grand Finale.
UCF has been hosting CMF since 2007, and previous contestants are urging aspiring directors and actors alike to participate. Bianca Ungerman, a senior and hospitality major, was a finalist in 2016 for her movie “SlashHER.” Ungerman was excited to share the message of women in filmmaking, and loved the challenge of making a movie within a strict timeframe that still told a meaningful story – with bloody props.
When asked if she would recommend CMF to other students, Ungerman said, “It’s not for the faint-hearted or the easily stressed, but it is definitely an experience where you learn more about the craft and are able to let your competitive side show.”
Students participating in this year’s contest were equally as optimistic, and found CMF to be a generous outlet to highlight their cinematography. Megan Kaihlahen, a junior cinema studies major, was participating in CMF for the first time. “I thought it was a very generous thing to do because it is open to everyone and you can gain experience from it.”
CMF is not just for film majors, but open to students in all areas of study. One group of juniors entered in CMF is creating a horror-comedy and bullying video. Their production team consists of Chelsea St. Cyr, an animation major, Dominic Meocado, a game design major, and Jennifer Santana, a speech therapy major. Santana stated that she is just doing the festival for fun, while St. Cyr was grateful for the free opportunity to make a film.
While the contest has already started, the red-carpet premier will be hosted in the Pegasus Ballroom on Feb. 18.
By: Rachel Stamford