Campus MovieFest returns for 6th year at UA

Campus MovieFest returns for 6th year at UA

top_cmf_headerCampus MovieFest, the world’s largest student film festival, is returning for its 6th year at The University of Alabama. The University’s aspiring filmmakers will get the chance to prove themselves with a five-minute film that they will shoot and edit in one week.

Registration for CMF began Monday and will last until Tuesday, Jan. 22. After being equipped with a Panasonic HD camcorder and a laptop with Adobe Creative Suite 6, participants will have a week to shoot and edit their movie.

Once the films are completed and turned in by Monday, Jan. 28, they will be judged by a panel of University students, staff and faculty in the categories of Best Picture, Best Drama, Best Comedy and the CMF Elfenworks Social Justice Category. The top films will be showcased Jan. 31 at 7:30 p.m. in the Ferguson Center Ballroom.

Both veteran filmmakers and novices can get in on the filmmaking action with access to necessary equipment. CMF participant and CMF Silver Tripod Award Winner Connor Simpson, a senior majoring in film, said the story is the most important element of the films. Simpson said participants can gain enough technical knowledge to produce a quality video through a day of watching YouTube tutorials, so they should not be intimidated by limited editing experience.

“The camera and laptop are just tools to help get your ideas across. Story is king,” Simpson said. “Of course, you need to be proficient with the essential filmmaking tools, but having a great idea is the most important part.”

CMF Promotions Manager J.R. Hardman echoed that sentiment.

“The most important thing is that [participants] put a lot of effort in their story,” Hardman said. “A lot of what the judges will be looking at is whether they liked the story and whether they thought it was interesting and whether they thought it was creative and unique.”

CMF will also have tech support available during filming week to help students with editing, so no experience is required to win the competition.

“We’ve had people that have never made a movie before win prizes at our competition and people who have been doing it since they were tiny kids,” Hardman said.

Prizes for the winners in each category include a twelve-month subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud and the opportunity to compete against winners from other participating schools at the CMF Hollywood Festival at the end of the school year. The winner of the Elfenworks Social Justice Category will win a cash grant of up to $10,000.

Having only a week to make the movie can pose a challenge for participants, but according to recent UA graduate and past CMF competitor Garrett Thomas, this challenge reflects the real time constraints of working in the film industry.

“The competition is demanding. It really tests your creativity as well as your ability to adapt and overcome problems,” Thomas said. “You also have to meet a strict deadline, which is something you will face in the professional world.”

Aside from the five-minute time limit for submissions, there are virtually no limitations to what participants can do for their projects. Simpson and his team, which includes Marc Patterson, Justin Rudolph and Alec Barnes, have raised their ambitions for this year’s project, a science fiction movie titled “Manta.” The increased scope of the project requires more funding, and Simpson has created a fundraising campaign at, where people can donate to the project.

“We have quite a few elements that are difficult to achieve with a student budget, but we’ve come up with some creative ways to achieve it,” Simpson said. “Don’t expect any explosions or lasers, though. This is definitely not your run-of-the-mill sci-fi, and we like it that way.”

Students can register for CMF for free at the Ferguson Center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. until Jan. 22. For more information and guidelines for submissions visit

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