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Critic’s Choice: CMF Best-Not-In-Show

When the top 16 films from this year’s Campus MovieFest were showcased at the festival’s finale on Feb. 12, not all of the university’s most talented filmmakers were recognized. With over 46 films submitted, it was only inevitable that some fantastic work would go under celebrated. Luckily, all of the submitted films are available for streaming on Campus MovieFest’s YouTube channel and at While most of these are worth a watch, not everybody has the time for an all-out movie marathon. So, here are a few of the best student films left out of the showcase:

Heartbreak Youtube


By Whitney Ndata and Travis Misarti, starring Carly Coutts and Whitney Ndata.

A wonderfully compact dramatic film filled to the brim with paranoia and emotional intensity, Heartbreak is simple but enthralling. The convincing back-and-forth between actors Whitney Ndata and Carly Coutts is brilliant for a project of this size, especially taking into consideration the pressure put upon performers in a talking head style production. The plot centers on a woman’s (Coutts) difficulty in filing for divorce when she becomes aware of her husband’s infidelity. This fear is projected in the form of a daydream in which her husband’s mistress (Ndata) reacts to her in horrifying violence. The lighting in this film is especially of merit, with the actors always perfectly lit behind a pitch-black void. This makes for a soft intensity between the characters, adding a whole new level of dramatic tension that would have been lost had viewers been able to see an office or an empty room in the background.


Leo Youtube


By Ashley Suarino and Keely Lanzisera, starring Shaquille Glover and Alex Supkay.

When the mere concept of a film is enough to provoke laughter, it’s certainly worth checking out. Leo boasts one of these concepts, a film about an actor (Glover) portraying Leonardo DiCaprio and receiving all of the accolades DiCaprio himself is often ridiculed for being robbed of (including the Academy Award). The plot of the film isn’t especially tight, with each scene poking fun at the situation from a different angle (including a solid parody of Between Two Ferns With Zach Galifianakis). As a result, the film comes across as quick-on-its-feet, keeping viewers on edge and producing an impressive number of laughs for a five minute film.

banana youtube




By Kaitlyn Traurig, Mary McCune and David Rinere.

Banana is one of those shorts that can leave some viewers rolling on the floor and plenty of others simply rolling their eyes. A virtually plotless comedy about a woman with a banana for a cell phone, this student film is fueled by the same sense of humor that makes Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen’s Portlandia such a knockout. That is, Banana is hilarious because it lets the utterly bizarre live in harmony with a perfectly normal and recognizable environment. The film also knows exactly when a joke has run its course–at only 3 minutes, Banana doesn’t even need the normally constrictive 5-minute regulation run time. As a result, the movie takes its laughs graciously and departs quickly, leaving the viewer with a “what did I just watch” kind of smile on their face.

Shaddow of the LIght Youtube

“Shadow of the Light”

By Bellaventura Pictures (Brian Stanco, Lindsay Gibson, Jake Anthony Scozzaro).

Of all the genres which would appear to be the most difficult to condense into a low budget short film, science fiction definitely seems like the hardest. With “Shadow of the Light,” Bellaventura Pictures exhausts all of the resources it has at its disposal in order to make an enthralling and surprisingly complicated short science fiction film. By making use of the dense and erie nature of Florida’s forest and swamp areas and plentiful sound effects, Stanco, Gibson and Scozzaro are able to incite fear of some vicious futuristic environment that they never really need to have a CGI monster or some laser gun action.


Jordan Walsh can be reached at


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