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UT Students Get Creative for Campus MovieFest

Published: February 20, 2009

In the early hours of last Wednesday morning, small groups of students raced about The University of Tampa campus toting video cameras, microphones and laptop computers. Each group hurried to record the final few scenes of their individual films, a deadline looming the following afternoon.

It was all a part of UT’s fourth annual Campus MovieFest, an international student film festival in which student teams are given five days to write and produce a short film using only one camera, an Apple laptop and their own creative skills. The top 16 films will be shown Wednesday, Feb. 25, at the Campus MovieFest Finale in Vaughn Center Plaza.

“I think half the University was out late trying to finish their movies,” said Austin Daniels, student co-chair of Campus MovieFest at UT.

Daniels said that a total of 60 student teams of five had signed up to participate in the competition, which is facilitated by Student Government and Student Productions.

The films range from lighthearted comedies, to dramas, to thrillers – many of which are Hollywood-quality. Students from all majors and all class levels participate, vying for a chance to win a variety of prizes.

Daniels, a junior film and media arts major at UT who has spent entire semesters making feature films, said he is always impressed at the final product some students submit for the event.

“It’s amazing to see that pretty much anybody can take a camera and tell a story within a week,” Daniels said. “It’s just a show of what creative minds can do.”

A panel of students as well as UT faculty and staff will view each completed film on Monday, Feb. 23, to narrow the pool to the 16 top films. Those films will then be shown at the Campus MovieFest Finale on Feb. 25, at which prizes will be awarded in categories of “best picture,” “best drama” and “best comedy.” Winning films move on to compete in Campus MovieFest at regional and international competitions, where the prizes are bigger and the attention greater.

“I really support this event and our student involvement as they do it for the sheer delight of making a film and not because they were assigned to in a class,” said Tom Garrett, assistant professor of communication.

In addition to Campus MovieFest, a series of events catered to UT’s communication students is scheduled for the final week of February and early March.

  • On Monday, Feb. 23, Hollywood producer and director Gregg Hale will speak to students at 4 p.m. in UT’s Reeves Theater. Hale’s credits include work of the acclaimed 1999 thriller “The Blair Witch Project.”
  • Author and Hollywood actress Terry Moore will be present at a “meet and greet” event with students at noon on Feb. 27 in Plant Hall.
  • A series of film educational panels will be held at UT as part of the Gasparilla Film Festival on Feb. 28 and March 3, 4, and 5. The panelists will include filmmakers and producers as well as representatives from local film commissions and others who will discuss topics that address movie fundraising, cinematography, production and acting.