A loud, energizing buzz filled the air. A line of almost 400 students wrapped from the center of the atrium to the back of the Student Union, in which some students waited for over three and a half hours.
These students, diverse in passions, intentions and motives, all waited for one common purpose—to compete in UCF’s Campus Movie Fest.
On Wednesday, Jan. 17, Campus Movie Fest, the world’s largest student film festival, launched its twelfth annual competition at UCF.
During this festival, over a million hopeful students across the country are given an Apple MacBook Pro with several professional editing softwares, as well as 1,000 royalty-free songs to choose from; a prosumer-grade Panasonic HD camera; and Sennheiser sound gear, all free of charge, to create the best five-minute movie possible—within a single week of the launch.
“If these students have talent, passion or even a cute pet, we want them to go for it and do their best,” said Joey Engelman, the promotions manager at Campus Movie Fest. “This is a really fun way to see a lot of movies made by a lot of great people.”
All competing students have until Jan. 23 to complete their five-minute movie. The movies will then be judged, and the top 16 films chosen will be featured at UCF’s Campus Movie Fest premiere on Feb. 12. The top four movies, chosen by Jury, will then be sent to a national level at the Terminus Movie Festival in Atlanta, Georgia.
These movies, Engelman said, can consist of any genre, themes or values. However, special categories for social justice and documentaries are promoted, with the winners receiving either $10,000 or the chance to have their film shown at the Tribeca film festival.
One of these documentaries is going to be created by Adam Grimes, a super-senior human communications major. Grimes wants to create a documentary about honeybees, the benefits of buying local honey and the many dangers that bees face currently.
“I want to raise awareness about the bees and the danger they’re in,” Grimes said. “Insecticides that harm bees are being sprayed on plants and flowers, and when the bees go to pollinate them, they are covered in the insecticide. It eventually kills the bees as well as damages the hive.”
For his documentary, Grimes plans to go to an apiary, or bee yard, to interview a local bee rescuer about bee endangerment and film the complex process of beekeeping, as well as take part in it himself.
Grimes said that he chose to express his passion through film in the hope of spreading the word through his community.
“Film has this magical, uncanny ability to tell stories, educate and broaden the horizons of the viewers,” said Grimes. “The goal is to convey the message in a format that is beautiful and entertaining.”
These are the same beliefs held by Marissa Dubois, a sophomore writing and rhetoric major; Lauren Brener, a junior animation in art major; and Daniel Fox, a sophomore information technology major, who grouped together to create a 1920s film noir with a female focal point.
“Our film is uplifting to the gender controversy,” said Brener, who is playing the Al Capone-esque lead female. “It’s based in a time when women were perceived as though they couldn’t do anything. This character shows the abandonment of those Victorian values.”
Dubois agreed, stating that the purpose of their film was to inspire young women to feel strong and confident in themselves (without becoming a crime boss, of course) despite the many hardships that they may face.
“It’s also a really great way to get out there and show our work,” said Dubois, who wrote the script.
The vibrant energy, the loud clamor, the daunting line—all of it for a five-minute film. To these students, diverse in passions and goals, it could be worth it all.