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Campus MovieFest wraps up first round of competition

Last night, the Carolina Film Association finished hosting the first round of Campus MovieFest, a contest where teams of students compete in hopes that their films will advance to the national level. Campus MovieFest is an international competition, and student filmmakers are competing for a chance to have their work shown at the Cannes Film Festival. 

Aspiring filmmakers normally have to invest in expensive equipment, but Campus MovieFest removed this barrier by providing each team with an Apple laptop with Adobe Creative Cloud, Panasonic cameras, a Sennheiser sound system and other critical hardware. 

Promotion manager Alex McGill said Campus MovieFest is not like other film competitions.

“People are always trying to sell students stuff, and there were people who thought it was too good to be true," he said. "We're not trying to get something from them — we're trying to give them something.”

Carolina Film Association President Prakash Kadiri said although the new club agreed to host on short notice, the event was a success

“We asked them what a good turnout for a first time school would be, and they said maybe 15 or 20," he said. "But we had about 30 submissions.”

First-year Calliope George is a contestant and produced the short film "Graveyards." 

“It was great to be able to access professional advice and professional equipment," George said. "For me, it was a great experience.”

Campus MovieFest empowers the next generation of directors, actors and screenwriters. By loaning out the technology required for high-quality production, the competition removes traditional barriers from the industry, such as wealth and insider connections. 

But breaking into the business is still no easy task.

Professor Scott Myers said there are intangible qualities that even top-notch equipment cannot replace.

“One important thing is whether they can they tell a story relying on the visual narrative elements. The second thing is, how strong are their characters?" he said.

The top four films in the contest will go to the Cannes Film Festival, and along the way contestants can accumulate cash prizes and offers for professional work. For many student filmmakers, including George, introducing their work to a larger audience is turning a childhood fascination into a potential career. 

“I have been an actress for a really long time. I have been looking forward to doing it in college, and Carolina Film Association was a really good way for me to get into that world,” she said. “I want to work in the industry as an actor or director maybe.”

Myers said storytelling skill is critical to cinematic success.

"I am not as concerned with elaborate directing as I am with the ability to create authentic characters and create emotions,” he said.

arts@dailytarheel.com

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