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2008 Campus MovieFest
Grand Finale

by Vince Rogers, Jay Blodgett, and Pam Cole

Feb. 23, 2008 (ATLANTA)--The last weekend of February saw the most highly anticipated movie awards of the season finally handed out to their most deserved winners. And it all went down right here in good ole Hotlanta. May we have the envelope please? The Oscars were in Atlanta you ask? No-- the Golden Tripods! Thatís right, the way more fun and exciting 7th Annual Campus MovieFest Atlanta Grand Finale, was held February 23 at Atlanta Symphony Hall.

The CMF Atlanta Grand Finale showcased the top 16 short films produced by the thousands of Atlanta students who entered the competition. Armed with only a basic camera, sound, and editing equipment, these little gems all had a running time of less than six minutes and were made in just a week. What these films lacked in epic length, big budgets, and special effects, they made up for in creativity, heart and imagination.

The Campus MovieFest was founded in 2001, by four Emory University students and included 1,500 participants that first year. This year included 35 schools from across the U.S. and the United Kingdom, with over 100,000 participants and 3,000 entries! The competition is now divided into eight groups around the country and in St. Andrews, Scotland.

The films in the Atlanta Campus MovieFest were submitted from teams of filmmakers from Emory, Georgia Tech, UGA, Art Institute of Atlanta, GSU, Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Clark Atlanta University. Participants were given digital handheld camcorders and access to Apple laptop computers with iMovie and Final Cut Pro editing software installed, courtesy of the Technology Sponsor, Apple and Supporting Partner, AT&T.

It was quite refreshing to see that a great wealth of cinematic talent exists not just at Atlantaís fine art schools, but also at its great technical school and universities. Apparently, there is also a future generation of Spike Lees emerging from the AU Center. The tech schools didnít rely on just technology, nor did the art schools compete on sheer artfulness. However, my personal favorite Best Drama award winner and Golden Tripod recipient, was BABY TALK from Georgia Tech University.

Other announced winners were Best Picture - TIL DEATH from University of Georgia; and Best Comedy - JIB SHOT: THE MOVIE from Georgia State University. The entire group of films presented an excellent account of such genres as film noir, futuristic drama, romantic comedy and a newly emerging genre - the transgender, Gen Y angst, Bollywood musical. You can view the award winning films, along with most of the other entries at the Campus MovieFest site.

Like that other awards show, the CMF Atlanta Grand Finale also included a high concept video montage and an opening dance number featuring the different school mascots. (Who knew the Atlanta Institute of Art had a mascot?)

Alton Brown, host of the Food Network shows Good Eats, Iron Chef America and Feasting on Asphalt, made a special appearance and was awarded a Golden Tripod of his own Ė although he said he already had one.

Campus Moviefest has come a long way in a short time. They are working with the Cannes Film Festival to enable many of the CMF award-winning filmmakers to attend that festival and gain valuable experience. CMF has continued to evolve into one of the most innovative, ambitious, and original film organizations in the world.

To learn more about the organization, the filmmakers, and the award winning films, visit www.campusmoviefest.com

NOTE: All photos courtesy of Campus MovieFest.