Campus MovieFest showcases student talent

The second annual Campus MovieFest, the world’s largest student-wide film contest, took the College by storm as the top 16 student-created films were screened on Tuesday, April 22, in the Brower Student Center.

According to the competition rules, student teams were given one week to write, film and edit a five-minute short film. This year, over 80 teams from the College took on the challenge.

The night’s winners included “Iris” for Best Picture, “Twitch Plays College” for Best Comedy, “The Last Stand” for Best Drama, Steve Munoz for Best Actor in “Iris” and Rebecca Wallace for Best Actress in “Blossom.”

'Iris' wins Best Picture. (Photo courtesy of Ryan Laux)
‘Iris’ wins Best Picture. (Photo courtesy of Ryan Laux)

Winners of the Golden Tripod Awards were “Forgot My Pants” for Best Editing and Best Soundtrack , “Iris” for Best Special Effects and “Crescendo” for the Audience Award, which was determined by which team brought the most fans to the event.

Best Picture, Comedy and Drama will continue on to a national event in Los Angeles and compete for $30,000 in cash prizes, professional gigs and industry exposure, according to the Campus MovieFest website.

Junior interactive multimedia majors Kenneth Carter, Brandon Noe and Brian Passafaro, worked together on the film “The Last Stand.” The drama showcases the struggles that many children face growing up in violent communities and the sacrifices people make to protect the ones they love.

“We’re so excited to be given this opportunity to go to Hollywood,” Passafaro said. “It’s an honor to have this privilege.”

When “Twitch Plays College” won Best Comedy, those involved were met with similar feelings of exhilaration and utter shock.

Junior history and secondary education double major Kyle Bennion, junior history major Michael Cort and  junior international studies major Sean Harshman first thought of their movie idea after following the Internet phenomenon “Twitch Plays Pokémon.”

Harshman and Cort gather to celebrate achievement. (Courtney Wirths / Photo Editor)
Harshman and Cort gather to celebrate achievement. (Courtney Wirths / Photo Editor)

In the original game, thousands of people type in commands to control the main character and complete missions using Pokémon. Similarly, in the college version, fictional players were able to control Harshman, the lead actor, on his journey around campus.

“We shot one scene at a mixer during Greek Week, but I kept getting bumped into by drunk girls so we couldn’t use the shots,” Cort, director and cinematographer of the project, said about the filming process.

Closing the evening, freshman interactive multimedia majors Ryan Laux and Chris Lundy and junior interactive multimedia majors Andrew Kuserk and Josh Lewkowicz took the stage in celebration of their film “Iris.”

According to the video, Iris is “the newest, most unique and human personal voice assistance to ever hit the market.” Iris is represented by a robot that taunts its victim, Munoz, before downloading him into the system.

Kuserk designed and animated the robot — who was voiced by junior marketing major Garrett Verdone — while Laux and Kuserk matched and edited the robot into the footage with Munoz. Lundy created the original score and sound effects.

The men emphasized that the entire process was a team effort.

It’s the best job to have because it’s the most fun to do,” Lewkowicz, the project’s cinematographer and editor, said of making movies with his friends. “You put a lot of emotion into a film and you hope others get that emotion out of it.”

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