University students earn recognition for five-minute film
With a camera and a week, University sophomore Zack Morrison and juniors David Umansky and Christopher Pasi went “Live” when their five-minute film placed in the top 16 for Campus MovieFest and won “Best Drama” overall.
“The shooting of this movie was one of the most exhausting but exhilarating weeks of my life,” Morrison said. “We came up with the idea on the bus and three days later we were shooting the movie.”
After winning “Best Drama” for their film “Live,” the trio was invited to the Campus Moviefest International Grand Finale for a screening of their short film and the opportunity to create a 3-D short — the first competition of its kind, Morrison said.
Pasi said one of the best parts of the festival was touring Universal Studios and meeting filmmakers from other colleges.
“We met a group of kids from Colorado and the experiences we had with them were a blast,” he said. “It was a lot of fun just to meet students from different cultures with different movie making styles.”
The NJ Film Festival received 366 short films, said University Professor Albert Nigrin, executive director and curator of the Rutgers Film Co-Op and New Jersey Media Arts Center.
“The films are watched by a jury that is made of academics like myself, journalists, former winners and other filmmakers,” he said. “The judges are told that they should look at N.J. work with a special eye because we are here to support N.J. filmmakers.”
Out of the entries, “Live” reached the final 40, Nigrin said.
“Most of the films we get are by emerging or established artists who are no longer students, and most of the films we get are either shorts or documentaries,” he said. “The judges just see the film and judge it for what it is, so that is a great accomplishment.”
While “Live” is a short film, it does not fit into any of the other categories that most submissions do, Nigrin said.
“I think the charm of the film was the fact that it was a silent film, and you don’t see that much these days. It functions a lot like the old Charlie Chaplin movies from the 1920s, because there is no dialogue,” he said.
Nigrin said the film leads viewers in a suspenseful way that represents college life in an interesting manner by focusing on a student overcoming his discouraging father and establishing friendships.
“The student categories are different from the others in that we recognize that they may not have the money to make this big production like some of the other films we have,” he said. “But if they’re interesting, and unique and creative, that usually bumps them into the final.”
The film was screened second on Friday at the New Jersey Film Festival in Voorhees Hall on the College Avenue campus.
Pasi said it was great seeing his movie on screen especially with the support from neighbors in his residence hall. He used his floor mates in the RU-TV Broadcast Communications Living Learning Community as extras.
“It’s one of my passions and I love the fact that these students dropped what they were doing to just come and shoot this movie with us,” Pasi said.
Correction: An earlier version contained the following errors: First, Zack Morrison described the week of shooting as exhilarating, not Christopher Pasi. Also, Pasi discussed their experiences with filmmakers from Colorado. Second, the Campus Moviefest International Grand Finale was misnamed as the Hollywood International Film Festival, a different entity. Third, Al Nigrin’s description of 366 entries refers to the NJ Film Festival, not the international festival, which has more than 500. Finally, their 3-D short the pair created was not the first of its kind. Rather, it was the first 3-D film festival competition.