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Campus MovieFest Set to Roll

Published: February 16, 2010

From idea to short film in one week’s time.

That’s the idea of Campus MovieFest which will premiere student-submitted films at a Feb. 18 outdoor festival.

“You can make a really good movie in a week,” said Katie Dutka ’11, a nursing major who is helping organize the event locally along with Student Government and Student Productions. “It takes a lot of planning to get an awesome movie but it can be done. I’ve seen it done.”

Campus MovieFest is a national film festival that tours college campuses, provides mentors, Apple laptops, camcorders and prizes for students to produce short films. This is the sixth year UT has hosted the event, providing a venue for the next generation of filmmakers.

“Students enjoy it because they get a lot of freedom with it,” Dutka said. “We give them a place to showcase their creativity.”

More than 60 teams signed up for the free rental equipment and spent Feb. 2-8 scriptwriting, filming and editing. Only the top 16 submissions turned in will be shown at a red-carpet event Feb. 18 in the Vaughn Center Plaza (or Falk Theater if it rains.)

The film festival begins early with inflatable games at noon and music from WUTT, the campus radio station. A barbecue dinner will be offered by Sodexho and the movies will start rolling at 8 p.m.

"Campus MovieFest is truly a great, fast track opportunity for students to participate in the process of filmmaking. Many times I see the synergy created by CMF participants and the results which sometimes you can't get out of an entire semester,” said Tom Garrett, assistant professor of communication. “They are passionate about the process."

Garrett has accepted an invitation to judge the Campus MovieFest 2010 Southern Regional Grand Finale in Atlanta on March 27. At that time, 15 schools will be judged with winners advancing to the International Grand Finale in Las Vegas the weekend of June 10-13. Winning filmmakers receive Apple laptops, iPods, thousands of dollars in movie-making software, as well as a trip to the Tribeca Film Festival. 

A 2007 UT film titled Dead End and a 2006 UT film, A Burden's Ballad,  were among the top 16 films that reached the national level.

Amanda Sieradzki ’13 is a writing major who is participating in Campus MovieFest for the first time. She was involved in filmmaking in high school and thought it was a spontaneous opportunity to make a 5-minute movie with great loaner equipment.

She talked two friends - Jill Kneeland ’13 and Lucas Salerno ’13 - into acting in the movie, filming on campus at Austin Hall and taking the shoot off-site to places like the WestShore Plaza and Davis Islands. The movie is a drama called Alive .

“It’s introspective,” said Sieradzki. “It gets you thinking about your purpose, what you’re doing and where you’re going.”

Sieradzki said she came up with the idea the morning she went to get her equipment, and while stressful, she had a great time with it.

“It was lots and lots of fun,” she said. “I’m glad I had the opportunity to do it.”

Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
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