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Students hope to make the cut

Campus MovieFest offered students the opportunity to create short films for prizes

Campus MovieFest, the world’s largest student film festival, has returned to UMBC. Students rented free equipment to make a 5 minute film in just 7 days.

Campus MovieFest returned to UMBC this week to offer students a unique opportunity. Described as the world’s largest student film festival for the last 15 years, this international event offers students everything they need to make a five minute film in just seven days.

After signing up for the festival, students receive rental gear including a Panasonic HD camera and an Apple laptop loaded with Adobe software. Anyone can put their creativity to the test as the festival is open to students across all disciplines.

For students who do not have the technical knowledge of filmmaking, CMF offers free tech support and instruction during the seven-day filming period.

“We give students the opportunity to share their voice on screen,” said Nishant Gogna, CMF’s director of marketing, as he waved at students passing by his table on The Commons Main Street.

Within two hours, the free items CMF brought for students were nearly gone. Two women searched through colorful sunglasses and slap bracelets. Gogna informed them the free t-shirts were nearly gone with only a few sizes remaining.

A steady stream of students kept CMF’s five employees busy explaining the rules, handing out paperwork and packing gear into bags. UMBC is only in its third year of affiliation with the festival, but there were consistently six to ten students crowding the long tables set up for CMF.

Being back at UMBC, Gonga recognized students who participated in previous years, including Hannah Kelly, a sophomore majoring in acting. Last year, Kelly performed in two CMF films: “Future Children” and “Nerds Rule Jocks Drool.” Both films were campus finalists and were nominated for awards. The later was presented as a part of URCAD and both videos can be seen on YouTube.

“The experience was amazing. It’s so different from acting in theater,” said Kelly as she waited to receive her camera equipment. This year, she plans to work behind the scenes, collaborating with a group of friends on a video.

Although Kelly is participating for fun, not competition, the prizes offered are alluring. There are over $150 thousand in prizes, including grants, cash and a subscription to Adobe creative cloud. Gaining exposure is another incentive. Top CMF films will be shown on Virgin America in-flight and at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival’s short film corner.

A panel of UMBC students, staff and faculty will judge the films. On May 2, the selected movies will be screened in ITE 104 at 7:30pm. Although the event falls during one of the busiest times of year for students, Kelly felt it was something fun to look forward to.

“Just do it, if you’re even considering it,” she said. “It’s a blast to participate in.”