Film festival captures student creativity

For the eighth year, Campus MovieFest, the world’s largest student film festival, was brought to Sonoma State University for students to produce and film their very own genre movie.

On Oct. 2 Campus MovieFest launched the weeklong extravaganza and provided numerous amounts of free equipment, offering students a full experience of creating their own film and making it come to life.

“We provide this equipment so students get the opportunity to express their talent and create films at no cost,” said Campus MovieFest Promotions Manager Nishant Gogna. “We even ran out of equipment within the first hour and a half.”

As students quickly brainstormed genres, began writing their script and drew out multiple storyboards, the filming process began. Not wasting a minute, they filmed scene after scene, trying to get the perfect shot.

“We were able to choose any genre, so we chose horror,” said Harper Sassaman, actress in the student film “Break.” “I really like zombies and wanted to make a movie that had something to do with them.”

“Break,” according to senior Eloy Camacho, who plays the main character of the film, is about how David’s personal life is struggling after his girlfriend decides to go on a break.

David relies on his friends to help him out and spend the day outside, technology-free. Chaos ensues when a deadly virus breaks out and David and his friends are completely unaware.

According to the official Campus MovieFest website, all the movies must be five minutes or less, and are required to use music created by the students themselves or contributed by independent artists. This gave students who were also musicians another chance to show off their talent and be featured in a film’s soundtrack.

After students shot their necessary scenes, they uploaded their footage onto laptops provided by Campus MovieFest. They made major edits to their production before the final deadline on Oct. 8 in the Student Union.

“We had a lot of scenes we loved and wanted to keep, but had to cut them out because we went over the maximum time length,” said Camacho.

Students who were editing the footage were able to get hands-on with the filming experience, and see just how much effort is put into making a five-minute film.

“It gave me a different insight,” said Camacho. “When you think of people who are making movies and make 90-minute films compared to us making a five-minute film in a week, it gives you a better appreciation of what film makers actually do.”

The amount of dedication students put into editing their movies was not an easy task. Sassaman and her fellow cast of “Break” spent the last night editing until 4 a.m.

“After all the movies are turned in, they will be screened and judged by an anonymous panel of students, faculty and staff on this campus,” said Gogna.

After each movie has been judged, the top 16 films will be featured at the Campus MovieFest red carpet finale. Here, all students get the opportunity to enjoy a night out at the movies.

Once all the films are shown, Campus MovieFest awards best actress, best comedy, best actor, etc. to a select few of the top 16. Top winners will advance to Campus MovieFest in Hollywood next year.

The Campus MovieFest red carpet finale will take place Oct. 18 at the Cooperage. Come dressed up to support Sonoma State student filmers and prepare to be awed.