Campus Movie Fest: A camera, microphone and dreams of Hollywood

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Armed with a camera, microphones and laptop, 345 Georgia State students took to the city’s streets to make a movie.

Campus Movie Fest (CMF) is the world’s largest student film festival, according to its website, the brainchild of four Emory University students back in 2001 that has grown to reach over one million students and partners with Panasonic, Disney and other major companies.

The idea is simple: CMF visits universities around the country and provides students with a Panasonic camera, microphones and an Apple computer. The students are given one week to create a film of fewer than five minutes.

Janae Belcher, spotlight’s cinema and gaming chair, helped orchestrate the event and served as CMF’s “ear to Georgia State.”

When the deadline arrived, Belcher said, films were judged by an anonymous panel, which consisted of CMF employees and a few Georgia State staff. The short films were scored on a point system based on content, technical excellence and the overall quality.

From there, only 16 of 73 submitted films were chosen for viewing on premiere night.

Storylines ranged from comedies, fantasy and one film featured a rap song about racial inequality and police brutality.

“Channel 6 News” elicited eruptions of laughter from the audience. The film depicts a news anchor and his eccentric guest. The program gets derailed by UFO sightings, and comic chaos ensues from there.

This hilariously outlandish storyline was written and edited by seniors Max Kantor and Kai Stephenson. The two have been involved with CMF for the past three years. They met in class, and Kantor later approached Stephenson with the idea of a character who is romantically involved with his verbally abusive Amazon Alexa.

“Lexi: A Love Story” was their first submitted film. The next year, they created “Three Wise Men,” which depicted two of the wise men who accidentally both brought myrrh to baby Jesus.

After three years of working together, the two have established a system.

Kantor brainstorms the plot and writes the script. Kantor spent last semester in a program with Second City, a famous comedy troupe in Chicago. He uses these skills to “bring the craziness and silliness to the characters and the movies we make.”

Stephenson enjoys the production work, focusing on the technical aspects of filming, such as lighting, shooting and editing. He added that his job is to translate the story visually.

This year, the group began shooting on a Saturday, and the film was due the following Tuesday. Stephenson and Kantor agree that this year’s film is their favorite.  See more here.

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