When the directors and their crews that participated in this year’s 11th annual Campus MovieFest (CMF) walked down the red carpet and into the Donna and Marvin Schwartz Center for Performing Arts on Wednesday, Feb. 29 and were asked “Who are you wearing?,” all they could do was nod and try to hide their backpacks and their sneakers, most having just come from class.
It was a red carpet event unlike any other, and although the films competing for awards were not exactly on par with Oscar nominations, they were Emory’s top 16 for the largest college movie making contest since its conception in 2001.
According to Logan Williams, CMF Team Member and co-host of Wednesday night’s event, CMF is the world’s largest student film festival and began at Emory when four students attending the University provided fellow students with all of the needed materials (cameras, laptops, etc.) to make a short, five minute film. The students have one week to produce the best possible film they can, a tradition that lasts to this day. Since then, over 11,000 films have been made.
The top films from the 2011-2012 competition, including the top films created by Emory students, will be shown at the CMF Grand Finale this June in Hollywood.
This year, there was a total of 119 teams competing. Wednesday night’s event featured the top 16 films from Emory, which ranged from comedies to mysterious dramas, all of which can be viewed on the CMF website.
This year’s recipients of the Best Picture award were Goizueta senior and director Eric Seti and College junior and director Matt Schwartz for their film “Blackout.” The film is a comedy about a girl who gets drunk at a fraternity party and must make the infamous walk of shame, only to discover that not everyone is who they appear to be.
“We knew coming in that many great movies had been made at Emory for CMF in the past,” the directors said after accepting the award. “So we knew we had big shoes to fill. A lot of people’s hard work went into this film, and we had a lot of cast and crew that sacrificed many hours of their time.”
Seti and Schwartz are known to the Emory community for their recent production of the Emory Anthem, an unofficial school theme song that promotes school pride and is widely admired by Emory’s students.
Both Seti and Schwartz are involved with, and promote involvement with, Emory Television (ETV), which was one of the night’s primary sponsors.
“We tried to think of a funny story that would be appreciated by the college crowd,” the directors said. “The message of the film is that not everyone is constrained by typical stereotypes.”
Director Nikoloz Kevkhishvili’s film “The Cosmonaut” is based on a true story about a Russian cosmonaut named Vladimir Komarov who accepts a doomed mission to save his best friend’s life.
The film was the winner of most of last night’s awards, among which was the Paladin Society’s Courageous Spirit award, an award that the presenter said represents the “courageous spirit to break the norm.”
“The Cosmonaut” also won two other awards, a Silver Tripod award for Best Soundtrack and the Best Drama award, beating the other nominees “Repose” and “Promesa” for the latter award. Professional actor Jason Benjamin also won a Silver Tripod award for Best Actor for his performance.
“It was great to see so much talent at one place and meet other filmmakers who are as passionate about film as we are,” Kevkhishvili said.
College freshman and director Joel Corbin’s “Your University and You,” a greyscale mockumentary, won the first award of the night, the Residence Hall Association (RHA) award for Best Film by a Residence Hall. The film depicts Emory in a 1950s style campus tour.
“It was an honor simply being a part of the CMF finale,” Corbin said in an email to the Wheel.
“However, winning an award made it all the more gratifying. We worked diligently and what made the night for us was to see that our efforts brought some laughs to the crowd (well, in addition to the three-hundred dollar prize).”
The Best Comedy was awarded to College senior director Chris Lamb’s “Typeface Killer: A Cautionary Tale,” and the film also received Best Actress award for College senior Allie Kayhart’s performance. The old-timey detective story gives a literal and comedic interpretation to the cyber thriller genre. The other nominees for the Best Comedy award were “Black Out,” and “Look at this F***ing Zombie.”
“I think Campus MovieFest is great because it gets people up and making films,” Lamb said. “Even though I’m always going to wish we had won Best Picture, I’m still really happy that we won Best Comedy and Best Actress. I think that all of us did really well and I am proud of that.”
Lamb expressed his excitement as he struggled to find the words to say when accepting the awards with his cast and crew.
“Words can’t describe how I am feeling right now,” Lamb said. “I’m also really impressed by all of the films this year, and I know that all of the winners deserved this for their hard work.”
College junior and director Jeffrey Shiau’s “Repose,” which was about a young man feeling disconnected in society, won the Best Cinematography Silver Tripod award.
“I was surprised to see such a packed house. There weren’t this many people last year,” Shiau said. “I feel that all of the winners deserved their awards. I understand the hard work it takes and, like them, I was on the edge of my seat waiting to find out who the winners were.”
Another Silver Tripod award went to College freshman and director Daniel Wiesner’s “Promesa” for Best Story.
The film is about a young man stricken with grief over the passing of a recent loved one.
The CMF Emory Finale demonstrated that it is never to early to realize your dreams, and the many aspiring film mkaers did just that through CMF.
— Contact Riakeem Kelley.