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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    CMF offers students the opportunity to showcase their work on the silver screen


    Courtesy of Logan Tritt

    The University Filmmakers Organization crew on set of “A Short Film” on Nov 11. After a 14­-hour day and with four days of editing still to come, the UFO team is putting all of the time, effort and passion that they can muster into creating the best short film they can to compete in Campus MovieFest.

    Seven days. That’s all the time you’re given to make the best five-minute short film that will knock the socks off the judging panel at Campus MovieFest. We are a bunch of insane, film-loving college students who decided to accept the challenge.

    Campus MovieFest is a competition that travels across the world to different colleges and universities and dares students to create a short film in just one week. Students from all disciplines can sign up and the organization provides competitors with equipment if they don’t have their own. 

    At the end of the grueling week of planning, shooting and post-production, CMF hosts a premiere of the top 16 competing films and awards first through fourth places to the best of the fest. These top picks then move on to compete with winning films from colleges across the country in the CMF Hollywood competition. 

    From there, shorts can be chosen to cross the pond and be shown at Cannes Film Festival in France.

    It sounds like a sweet deal at first: Make a five-minute short in a week, and if it’s pretty good it could make it to Hollywood. 

    Anyone who’s worked on a film set or heard stories about being behind the scenes of a movie knows how difficult it is to make a film with a normal deadline; making one in a week is not a task for the faint of heart.

    “It definitely forces you to think in a way that you don’t have to think when you’re working on a film where you have more than one day to shoot,” said Cullen Hamblen, a sophomore studying film and television and graphic design. “It’s all very rushed, and you have to be efficient with not only the production but with your story.”

    Hamblen co-directed the University Filmmakers Organization’s entry to CMF, titled “A Short Film.” A comedy that pokes fun at itself, “A Short Film” follows three friends as they try to figure out what kind of story they’ve been thrown into. 

    As a part of UFO and of this production, allow me to explain what exactly it was like to work on this short film produced from a single-day shoot.

    The contest began on Tuesday. Using the time off from Veterans Day to our advantage, we decided to shoot our film on Wednesday. 

    After assembling our equipment and holding one last pre-production meeting, we tried to get some sleep before our 6:30 a.m. call time on Wednesday. 

    Our film had three scenes, one shot inside and two outside, so in order to make the most of the sunlight we were to begin with the exteriors and work our way backward, hence the early wake-up call. 

    The crew, made up of at least 25 students hailing from all different disciplines, were bundled up in their sweatshirts, waiting for the sun to warm up the 49-degree morning air. We began rolling around 7:15 a.m. 

    After running overtime and rushing to get some last shots in, we moved production to our second location sometime around 12:30 p.m. We rushed through lunch and began setting up lighting and set design, and once we started rolling, we didn’t stop. 

    Already behind on time, one of our actors had to leave the set by 5:30 p.m. We raced against the clock for the rest of the afternoon.

    It was around 5 p.m. when everyone started to get a little sleep-deprived. Crew members who had finished their jobs for the day were allowed to leave, and the set dwindled from more than 25 people to about 10. 

    After everything was said and done, we shot our last take just after 7:30 p.m., and once we finished restoring our crew member’s apartment to its prior condition, we wrapped a 14-hour, all-day shoot. 

    I went home that night severely sleep-deprived, physically exhausted, and so incredibly happy and proud of the work that our entire crew had done that day. I’m sure I wasn’t alone in my thinking. 

    Making a film is an incredibly difficult process, and making one in a week for a competition can seem impossible at times, but the experience is unlike any other.

    “I feel like you get to know people in a way that you wouldn’t if you weren’t working on a film set,” said Galen McCaw, a junior pursuing integrated studies in music and the sound mixer for “A Short Film.” “You feel closer to people having done that.” 

    Now that shooting has been wrapped, there are several long days of post-production for the editors to get through, and the fate of our film and the others competing at CMF will be decided Wednesday, Nov. 18, in Gallagher Theatre at 7:30 p.m. 

    I’ll keep my fingers crossed until then.

    Follow Victoria Pereira on Twitter.

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