Student film contest comes to UA

Ashley Chaffin

In one week, campus MovieFest, the largest student film festival in the world, is coming to Alabama to give students a chance to make a five-minute movie.

It is free to participate, and the program provides each team with a computer, editing software, a camera and a phone so they can make a five-minute film in seven days.

“The great thing about our program is that you don’t have to be a filmmaker,” said Ann Daykin, promotions manager for Campus MovieFest. “You don’t have to know anything about making films. We can help you with everything.”

The program started ten years ago at Emory University when a few students decided to give their classmates everything they needed to make a short film, and it has expanded to more than 75 campuses with the help of the sponsors.

“It’s such an opportunity that we don’t get as students,” said Amy Tippit, a sophomore majoring in telecommunication and film. “While we’re still in school there are so many limitations, and the people at Campus MovieFest inspire you and believe in you and that’s so incredible because they really actually want your product to do well and want you to succeed.”

In addition to providing you with encouragement and equipment, Campus MovieFest provides plenty of technical support. They will be on campus three of the seven days and will also be available by phone or online whenever a team runs into a problem.

“People shouldn’t be scared to do it because there’s lots of help,” said Kristen Robinson, marketing coordinator at Ferguson Center. “It’s just a really fun thing to do. You don’t have to make a film that’s actually going to be a movie. It can just be a home video that’s something really fun or really important to you in your life.”

Each team’s finished product will be submitted on Feb. 7. Once all the films have been turned in, a panel of faculty, staff and students will decide on the top 16 films, which will then be screened at the red carpet finale on Feb. 10 in the Ferguson Theater.

The awards for Best Picture, Best Comedy and Best Drama will also be announced at the finale. The winning teams not only move on to regionals, with a chance of going to nationals, but can also win up to $300,000 in prizes.

Although Campus MovieFest can be a great opportunity for students who plan on going into film, it is meant for everyone who has ever been interested in making a film and trying something new.

Before Campus MovieFest last year, Tippit was a theater major hoping to someday become an actress. A friend who was directing a film for the program recruited her for her project.

Tippit ended up winning best actress at the school and the regional level, but seeing the whole process of making the movie and the finished product helped her to see that she really belonged behind the camera.

“I didn’t believe in myself and Campus MovieFest did believe in me,” she said. “It was one of the moments in my life where I decided that this is what I wanted to do. I realized that I want to help people act, and I want to do the filming and come up with my own ideas and Campus MovieFest was the first kind of spark in that.”

The launch date for Campus MovieFest is Feb. 1. Anyone interested in signing up or learning more about it should visit