August 18, 2019 | 81° F

Campus MovieFest allows Rutgers students to produce, screen films

Photo by Casey Ambrosio |

The Rutgers University Programming Association (RUPA) brought students together on Wednesday night for Campus MovieFest, where the top 16 films were selected to compete in Atlanta at a national competition.

Sixteen years of collaboration between students from multiple universities and members of Campus MovieFest (CMF) came together this past Wednesday night to offer Rutgers students a premier student cinematography experience. 

CMF is the largest student film festival in the world, providing students with the necessary equipment to create their own films in one week. 

The Rutgers University Programming Association (RUPA) sponsored-event awarded the best of 16 featured films the opportunity to participate in TERMINUS, the Atlanta-based conference and festival, which is dedicated to empowering creators by providing them with the education, experience and opportunities they need to develop and produce impactful work, according to their site.

Established in 2001 by four students at Emory University, the organization partners with schools internationally as the premier outlet for the next generation of filmmakers, according to their site.

When participating, students are provided with camcorders and Apple laptops among other devices to aid them during film production. They must shoot and edit movies during their school's movie-making week and await the independent judging panel comprised of students, staff and partners, according to their site

Roland Parla, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore and assistant director for RUPA, said the event ran smoothly as students presenting films were energetic and passionate about the work they were sharing to the community.

Films such as “Jehovah’s Fitness,” “The Opal” and “The Miser” were especially notable, Parla said. Their theatrics along with criticisms of consumer media stood out among other films.

This year the event curated 84 student feature films, the most films in Rutgers history, as well as the most films submitted by a school this year, according to their Facebook.

Masyn Luck, a Mason Gross School of the Arts sophomore, said the event provided students the opportunity to watch the fresh talent and skills that Rutgers students have to offer. 

As a filmmaker, the experience proved to be challenging as movies must be completed within the week in addition to keeping up with other responsibilities, she said.

“I heard about Campus MovieFest through a colleague of mine who had participated in the event last year. I was a part of his crew as the sound operator and after the week was done, he submitted his film and even made it in the top 16,” she said.

Many of the films that are placed in the top 16 are comedies and dramas, almost all of which consist of amazing cinematography and special effects, Luck said. It encourages students to express their artistic abilities through filmmaking if writing is not their strong suit.

“Campus MovieFest isn't about the top 16 or who won what award, but about challenging yourself as an artist to see what you're capable of creating. Overall, it's a great way to spend your week if you want to try something new,” she said.

Joseph Lupo, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, said that in trying to build on previous years he and his crew sought out external casting sources to find age appropriate actors their film required. By making sure to set aside designated shooting time, they managed to improve the quality of their film with minimal errors.

The process behind creating the film in such a short time can be stressful but there are benefits from working with people equally invested in the project, Lupo said. Taking all suggestions into consideration is vital to create a cohesive team and to ensure a film is being viewed from all different perspectives.

Movie making is a lengthy process and it is always up to question whether the film will be completed on time, Lupo said. Working around scheduling conflicts and finding creative ways to submit your project on time is half the fun, he said, and the stress is always worth it in the end.

“I encourage anyone who is interested in film or television to try their hand at making a film for next year’s Campus MovieFest," he said. "The opportunities this competition has provided me with is stuff that I used to dream of. And the fact that CMF provides you all the equipment you need to make a movie is added incentive."

Christian Zapata is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore. He is a contributing writer for The Daily Targum.  

Christian Zapata

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