Campus Movie Fest to return to campus

Coming soon to a university near you - Campus Movie Fest. The annual competition for aspiring filmmakers, actors, producers and artists will return the week of Oct. 7.

Participants are asked to create a short, five-minute video that is to be filmed and edited in just one week. Participating students receive all the equipment necessary for the production including an Apple iMac laptop and a high-quality video camera. With that provided, the only aspect students need are the actors, story and creativity required for making a successful film.

All the movies that are submitted are judged and narrowedto the top 16. These movies will then be screened at the Campus Movie Fest Finale on Oct. 16. From there, the field will be narrowed to the top four films by a panel of Sonoma State University Staff. Those films thatmake it to the finals are then shown at the National Campus Movie Fest Finale and are screened with the finalists from other universities in the summer of 2016. 

Sonoma State encourages friends, roommates, aspiring professional producers and others to team up for the event. Last year, over 100 student teams created five-minute videos including fourth-year senior, Philip Gilbert, whose film “Stay Calm” made it to the top 16.

“It’s always fun getting together with people who are just as passionate at creating films as you or just have a lot of creative ideas that want to be made,” said Gilbert. 

Gilbert’s film shows the collaboration of the communications and theater departments as most of the behind-the-scenes crew were communications and media studies majors and those on-screen were theater majors.

Bria Gabor, a fourth-year communication and media studies major, is very familiar with the festival as she has participated the last three years. Gabor said she has finished in the top 16 twice and says she does it all for the love of creative expression.

“I love film editing and having the opportunity to tell a story through film for free,” she Gabor. “I think it is an awesome opportunity for those who have previous film experience or no experience at all.”  

Not only that, but the Campus Movie Fest Finale becomes a coveted event as participants, students and staff are able to walk and take pictures on the red carpet—much like a true movie premiere. “Everyone is dressed in their best and has high hopes that their film does well,” Gilbert said.

 Senior Mary-Madison Baldo knows first-hand the success that can come from the Campus Movie Fest. Baldo and her co-founder Alex Bretow have established their own independent film company, BaldowBretow Pictures. 

Through their company, five movies placed in the final selection and two movies received Jury Awards at the Campus Movie Fest Finale last year. 

From there, the duo traveled on and participated in the Cannes Film Festival in France. “Because of the festival, I have developed my skills as a visual storyteller, and I am extremely interested and invested in approaching my scripts and short stories with a more cinematic perspective,” Baldo said.

Both say they plan on participating in this upcoming festival. “I am going to be exploring different aspects of filmmaking when the next festival arrives this October,” said Baldo. “While I will still be screenwriting and directing, I am involving myself with all other positions such as editing and cinematography.”

As the festival gears up, information will be available at the Campus Movie Fest table in the Seawolf Plaza in the coming weeks. 

Representatives will be there to answer questions and recruit new participants. The week-long festival runs from Oct. 7-13 with a finale night on Oct. 16 in the Student Center Ballroom.