by Alex Butler
At The University of Tampa, students with filmmaking aspirations can check out professional equipment to compete in Campus Movie Fest every spring semester. The winners could be invited to the short film corner of the Cannes Film Festival in France or have their film screened at CMF’s national conference in California.
The Cannes Film Festival is known for its A-List attendees and showcasing the work of both established and upcoming filmmakers. After submitting a film to Campus MovieFest (CMF), the next up and coming filmmaker at Cannes could be a student from the University of Tampa.
On Tuesday, Feb. 18, CMF visited UT as part of their tour of 60 universities. The organization provides students with equipment, software, and technical support so that they can complete a five-minute film in just one week.
“[The time limit] is hard, especially trying to line up an entire crew and cast’s schedules, but I feel like it shouldn’t limit you,” said sophomore film major, Tamsen Simpson. “I came up with an ambitious idea and it came out executed well.”
“I always tell students to just have a good time and don’t overthink it,” said CMF promotions manager, Luna Ramirez. “Students will get stressed thinking they don’t have a lot of time, but the reality is most students take a day out of the week to film and then spend whatever time they need to edit.”
Judges are selected by the university and choose four finalists as Jury Award Winners. According to Ramirez, these finalists will win an invitation to apply for the Cannes Film Festival as part of the short film corner. Jury Award Winners will also have their film screened at Terminus, CMF’s national conference in California.
“I think going to Cannes, that’s the big stage, it’s kind of funny that you can get such a big reward from doing something in such a short amount of time,” said junior entrepreneurship major, Drew McDougall.
Students may enter into the Elfenworks Hope in Social Justice Category for the chance to win $10,000. There is also a Women in Film category, which awards ten female finalists with a $1,000 stipend to attend Terminus.
While competitors can submit their films into those categories there is not a required topic or theme that students must cover.
Simpson created a “mockumentary” called The Craft, about a witch in college casting a love potion on her TikTok obsessed roommate.
“This was my second year participating…I decided to take a comedic approach with this one,” said Simpson.
Freshman film major, Dylan Wallace submitted a documentary covering the Tampa Bay Dragon Boat Club, which is an award-winning rowing team. Wallace’s experience filming with CMF consisted of attending practices, filming in a boat with the coach, and eventually getting the opportunity to row with the team.
According to their website, CMF is the largest student film festival in the world.
“I feel like participating in film festivals, especially CMF, allows students to grasp the collaboration aspect of filmmaking,” said Simpson. “I also find it allows students to get their work screened and receive criticism and feedback because filmmaking is a strongly subjective art form.”
Byron Gamble, a 2018 UT film and advertising alumni, entered into CMF four years in a row. After showing his film at Cannes senior year, he moved onto work as CMF’s video manager.
“It opened up so many networking opportunities and allowed me to see how the film industry is competitive but also accessible,” said Gamble. “It was the best thing to happen to me all four years, it gave me the creative liberty I needed while giving me contacts with so many CMF alumni.”
UT’s winners for CMF were announced Monday, March 2 at the Vaughn Center Boardroom. The Jury
Award Winners were Dylan Wallace and Drew McDougall for their collaborative film Racing Dragons, Tamsen Simpson for The Craft, Ryan Ferace for One Hell of a Day, as well as Josh Parish and Jean-Baptiste-Hansali for their film Blood Lust.
“It’s really cool to see all this hard work payoff, we kept joking that this movie was called One Hell of a Day but it was really one hell of a shoot,” said junior film major, Ryan Ferace. “It was the most stressful week of the whole semester, I wrote a crazy script that involved a lot of action and it worked out this year.”
Alex Butler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org