Creative outlet for filmakers returns to SSU

Although Sonoma State University is considered a liberal arts college, the university doesn’t offer many classes for students pursuing careers in cinema. Since the school doesn’t have the proper resources to accommodate up-and-coming filmmakers or students who would like to dabble in the world of filmmaking, the week of Campus Movie Fest (CMF) has become a vital opportunity for students interested in film production.

Campus MovieFest started back in 2001 and is now the largest student film festival in the world. It all began at Emory University when four students devised an idea to provide their classmates with all the equipment they would need to make a five minute video in one week. With the help of sponsorships, CMF was able to expand and become what it is today. 

According to CMF’s Promotions Manager, Meghan Moran, there are no limits as to what the students can film. Video options can range anywhere from a comedy, drama, documentary or even a Snapchat series. 

“Here at Campus Movie Fest, we believe that everyone has a story that needs to be told, we just give you the opportunity and the tools to tell that story,” said Moran. “We set up students with laptops, cameras, tripods, audio equipment… literally everything you could need to make a short film, we provide you with.”

CMF will choose the top 16 films produced by Sonoma State, and from there, the top four films are sent to CMF Terminus, a national competition in Atlanta, Georgia. If a finalist, there is an opportunity to go to the Cannes Film Festival. 

Ryan Harvey, a Sonoma State third year and communications major, is no stranger to CMF. Harvey started making films since third grade and has won CMF three times within the past two years with his film team. Of those three films, two of them have been screened at Cannes Film Festival.

Although Harvey doesn’t use the equipment CMF offers, he is still impressed by the quality. “They offer really good stuff. I think that’s really nice that they at least offer students the opportunity to not use a phone or a really cheap camera.”

Considering that Sonoma State doesn’t prioritize film, Harvey has found other ways to continue his passion for film outside of school and CMF. Currently, he is the general manager for Studio Blue, a communications media outlet class at Sonoma State, and he’s hoping to turn the class into a competitive film program for serious filmmakers.

Second year and criminal justice major, Victoria Burke, is also taking part in CMF and she’s hoping to land a spot in the top four. As someone with a passion for cinema, Burke truly appreciates CMF for all that they do.

“As somebody who works full time and is a full time student, I don’t have the money to go out and make my own films as much as I’d like,” said Burke. “CMF gives me an opportunity to have that creative outlet with like-minded people.”

Although Burke is incredibly thankful and appreciative of CMF, she wishes that Sonoma State had more opportunities such as these for film enthusiasts. 

Burke was originally a communications major before switching to criminal justice and she was disappointed to see that there wasn’t a minor available for communications, let alone film production. 

“Being a liberal arts school, you kind of hope they would be more invested in their arts programs,” said Burke. “I think that the communications major in general needs to expand. I would love to see some minors in something more specific.”

Regardless, Burke is taking advantage of the equipment CMF offers for the time being in order to fulfill her filmmaking passion and her dream of becoming a director. 

The CMF Premiere will take place this Thursday, Oct. 25, where you can watch the top films made by Sonoma State students. A reception will take place at 6 p.m. on the second floor of the Student Center in Ballroom A, followed by the film screenings at 7:30 p.m.