By Tim Flavin
If you attend Fitchburg State University and have ever wanted to direct your own film, you’re in luck. Campus MovieFest has launched, allowing any student to participate for free in an attempt to win a chance to screen your movie in Hollywood. The contest will be running March 20 through 26, with the screenings of the films scheduled for April 5.
Campus MovieFest is the nation’s largest student film festival and involves universities all around the country. This is its third year at Fitchburg State University.
This event, run by FSU sophomore John Lafirira, is made so that anyone can participate. There are no requirements: You don’t have to be a film major, all you have to do is be interested.
However, in recent years there has been a decrease in the number of participants in the competition here at Fitchburg. But that won’t dissuade Lafirira as he encourages all students who ever had an interest in making a film to participate.
“Definitely do it; you just make a movie,” he says. “Take the leap and have a crack at making a movie.”
The contest has a lure toward those who are pursuing careers in the film industry. When speaking with Devin Lyons, an FSU junior who was nominated for “Best Drama” for his film in the competition last year, he helped shed some light on the opportunities the competition provides.
“The red carpet stuff was a bit gimmicky but it was an experience,” he said.
When he went out to Hollywood with all the other finalists from around the country, he got what some might describe as the chance of a lifetime. While there he participated in workshops and got to see some of the big-name professionals of Hollywood like the producer of “The Titanic” and the cinematographer for all of Christopher Nolan’s films.
“It was very humbling,” he added. “you’re the winner at your school but once you get out there and see the rest of the competition it is very humbling.”
People plan months in a advance in the hope of earning one of the top 50 spots and getting a trip to Hollywood. This upcoming Campus MovieFest will be Devin’s third and last.
Campus MovieFest is also a chance for someone to build a name for themselves – like Matthew Doucette, a freshman who is participating in the competition to show that he has what it takes to make it in the highly competitive job field of film.
“I am a film major and it’s good to get into the industry and show my talents along with getting to know people in the field,” he says.
Because this is his first time in the competition, he wants to feel it out and find a role for himself and his group: he is winging it simply for the experience. While they are not going in with too high expectations, Matt sees it as a very good opportunity to show his film prowess and ability.
In fact, most participants seemed to have one message to anyone who was on the fence or considering doing the competition: “Just do it.” The equipment is given for free and there are no requirements, other than an interest in making a film.