Films fall short in regional Campus MovieFest finale

The Southern Regional Grand Finale of Campus MovieFest took place this past weekend at the Center Stage venue and the Atlanta Symphony Hall. The event was a two day affair that featured nearly 100 student films from 16 schools, including Tech. AT&T and Campus MovieFest provided all the equipment necessary for filming and editing. Campus MovieFest was created by four students from Emory eight years ago. Since then it has had a quarter million students participate and has given out one and a half million dollars worth of prizes.

Sixteen Tech films entered the competition and were shown at Tech’s finale. Five of those films were chosen to be shown last Saturday: My Normal Approach Here is Useless, AT&T Test Commercial, Street Corners, The Vault and Something from Nothing. Team members Matt Bigelow, sixth year AE major, and Dan Moore, third year CS major, of My Normal Approach Here is Useless discussed their experience in the competition.

“[Team leaders] David Rutter and Kane Bonnette came up with the idea to do a film based on web comics such as XKCD. In fact, most of [our] film was based on those comics. Ninety percent of the film was basically web comics sewn together into a single script. We used [Campus MovieFest] equipment, and there were some rough things at first,” Bigelow said. “There were some cold days, down to seven degrees sometimes. It got pretty brutal. We actually got kicked off MARTA because we were filming a scene there. Luckily we managed to finish beforehand.”

Webcomics were not the only source of inspiration for Tech films. Michael Gluzman, fourth year ID major, of Something from Nothing described his muse for the film as well as the process behind creating it.

“[The film] sprung from an industrial design project I had to do. The idea was to find a site we respond to emotionally and extrapolate some meaning from it. Using objects on a site, we were to infer some value from it and we could only use two hands and one tool,” Gluzman said. “Everything else you found and you had to spend at minimum of fifteen hours on it… Making the film consisted only of getting cameras out there. The main work was in shooting the thing. The editing was done in about a day and took the least amount of time.”

Tamer Shaaban, second-year CS, of Street Corners was one of the driving forces behind his project and he also played the main lead.

“I always wanted to be an actor and make movies. Our crew we all live together and we make movies for fun,” said Shaaban about his reasoning for participating in the contest. “The most interesting thing was that we woke up every morning at seven to shoot. We drove down to Atlanta for filming but the car only sat four people while we had eight cast members so we had to make several round trips. Our clothes we got from the Salvation Army so it was pretty low budget. AT&T and CMF supplied all our equipment The fountain at a Sun Trust bank froze so we filed on the ice there. We ended getting caught by the cops.”

Saturday was a day long event that took place at Center Stage. Films were shown from 11 in the morning to seven in the evening, and audience members could text-message in their favorite films.

The top fourteen were chosen to be finalists for the award ceremony on Sunday at the Atlanta Symphony Hall. There, the films competed for the Golden Tripods that were awarded to the best actor, best actress, best drama, best comedy and best picture. None of the films entered by Tech were candidates for these awards. Actor and comedian Adam Ferrara hosted the award ceremony. Woody Harrelson and Emma Stone of Superbad also made appearances as presenters for the Golden Tripod awards.

Takara Upshaw, in the film Breathe, from Art Institute of Atlanta won best actress. Ryan Upswing, of the film Committed, from Emory won best actor. Best drama also went to Committed. Best comedy went to Inbox: The Musical from Art Institute of Atlanta. Best Picture went to Rhapsody from the University of South Florida.

All the film finalists can be seen at http://www.campusmoviefest.com/srgf/movies.html