Lights, Camera, MovieFest


Students have one week to create a five-minute film on any topic of their choice when Campus MovieFest comes to campus on Feb. 8. The top 16 films will then be shown on Feb. 20 in Falk Theater at a red carpet showcase, and the top four movies will move on to CMF’s national event.

“During this week, students can come rent out high quality equipment for free,” said Alex Martin, a junior art major and the film chair of Student Productions. “Anything you need to make a five-minute film, from a camera or the Adobe equipment. Last year it was a huge success and lots of fun; anyone can do it.”

The entire festival is organized, held and judged by the national organization Campus MovieFest in coordination with Student Productions. After submitting the video, candidates get judged and ranked. Much like the Oscars, there are a variety of awards, from Best Actor to overall Best Picture. This initial competition is only between UT students. However, if students rank in the top four, they will be judged on a national level for a cash reward of $150,000, various prizes and the possibility to have their films shown at the Short Film Corner at the Cannes Film Festival, as well as other venues.

“These Jury Award winners will receive a one-year subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud (a $600 value) and will move on to compete nationally at the CMF Grand Finale at TERMINUS, our film & gaming conference/convention,” said Raghav Ravichandran, the Promotions Manager for Campus MovieFest. “Silver Tripod Awards will be given in many different categories, including directing, editing, and acting, to celebrate the achievements of UT’s most outstanding filmmakers. Campus MovieFest’s mission is to provide the resources and assistance students need to bring their stories to life.”

There are no prerequisites to participate other than being a UT student. Filmmakers and actors can be any major and have any type of interest. Non-UT students are allowed to participate in the making of the film; however, the registered group must be led by a UT student. To see last year’s submitted videos, go to the CMF webpage and type “University of Tampa” in the search bar.

“I’m considering participating in CMF because I want to increase the exposure my work gets,” said Dylan Avery, a freshman film major. “I just entered into nine or 10 other festivals as well and I put my work on my Instagram @dylanaveryproductions. I’ve been thinking of making some kind of continuation of an experimental film I made last year, ‘Walk.’ In that film, I took a very abstract view on showing the city of Tampa in a different light.”

Some examples of film genres in the competition are comedies, horror or an expose on current social issues. Last year, Anthony Nicolo, a senior exercise science major, alongside Bianca Lopez, a senior journalism major, created a film that discussed bullying and the effect of bystanders. For that film, Nicolo won the Best Actor CMF Golden Tripod Award, and the duo won the Best Film CMF Golden Tripod Award. Nicolo hopes to compete again this semester.

“I am trying to get a group together to make a new film that will really resonate with people again,” said Nicolo. “I would love to defend my title and participate in this amazing competition.”

There is an information meeting in Reeves Theatre on Feb. 6 from 6-8 p.m. The deadline to sign up is Feb. 8. Anyone who wishes to sign up can do so at

“I feel that everyone and anyone should participate in this event, whether they are a film major or not,” said Nicolo. “Bianca and I are not film majors and we won; anything is possible if you put your mind to something.”  

Sara Casareto can be reached at

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