Tears of joy, cries of sadness and horrific screams filled the room for the Campus MovieFest finale screening in the Robinson Theatre. Only 16 of these films were showcased and students waited anxiously in theater seats to see if their movie made the final cut.
For the annual event that was introduced to UNF five years ago, 53 student teams got together to create short films with only a week’s time to do every bit of production from writing to shooting to editing. CMF provided the equipment, including a laptop with Adobe Creative Suite, an HD camera, and an external hard drive with 500GB, at no cost.
Out of the top 16 films, four winning teams were selected by members of the audience, both student and nonstudent, as finalists:
- “Dawn”- Directed by Trevor Walsh
- “Tender”- Directed by Aakash Bakshi
- “I Seek Refuge”- Directed by Saaniya Bagdadi
- “Shorts”- Directed/Written by Morgan Holbrook
These student filmmakers will advance to the CMF Grand Festival at Terminus in June, where they will compete on an international level against universities across the United States and UK for $100,000 in cash, prizes and professional gigs.
“Tender,” “Shorts” and “Dawn” received a Silver Tripod Award, awards given to films with the best production skills.
The “Tender” team also went on to receive the Audience Award, a nod given to the crowd’s favorite movie.
Along with the four Terminus-advancing finalists, awards were given for Best Actor and Actress. Those awards went to Jake Scozzaro for “Dawn”, and Sannia Elzia for “Unlocked.”
“Dawn” was directed by the prominent Trevor Walsh, who already had two CMF awards under his belt as a finalist.
As for UNF filmmakers, many of quickly felt the pressure of producing a film in seven days.
“We were pretty overwhelmed in the beginning,” Raza Shareef, student writer for “I Seek Refuge” and finance major said. “We were so concerned with the competition, but we just said ‘Forget the competition we just have to [do]…as well as we can do.’”
Other students were used to the stress and actually enjoyed the feeling of being cramped for time.
“We knew what we were getting into,” Morgan Hulbrook, student writer/director for “Shorts” and journalism/production major said. “The crew, me, Adnan, Kyle were my main crew guys and they enjoy the same kind of stress that I do.”
Many of the teams were first-time filmmakers.
“It was like nothing I’d ever thought it would be because I’ve adored the director [Aakash Bakshi] since I was a freshman in high school,” Monique Mancera, a young actor in “Tender” and digital media and production major said.
After the projects were finally completed, students looked back at what they learned through the experience and what it means in terms of the big picture.
After the CMF finale, Scozzaro advised future filmmakers that with hard work and stress, great projects come out.
“If you know you gave everything you had, every epitome of your body, bones, skin and everything and you can go to sleep thinking that, then you’ve done it all,” Scozzaro said.
For the full list of of winners, along with the movies that didn’t make the cut, visit campusmoviefest.com/UNF.
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