Campus Movie Fest at FMU

FMU students were given the opportunity to test their creative side and make a five-minute short film in only a week as FMU teamed up with Campus Movie Fest (CMF).

FMU hosted its first-ever CMF Premiere at 7 p.m. on Feb. 22 in the Performing Arts Center. More than 50 students, faculty and staff came to see whose video would win a chance to be showcased in the Hollywood Terminal.

Four short films won jury awards and advanced on to be shown in Hollywood, California.

Freshman Reina McCullough, a biology major, and her group were one of the jury award winners.

McCullough said her group wanted to really focus on the effects of mental health in the African-American community.

“We felt like that was a very underrepresented group and their mental health is not something we talk about a lot,” McCollough said.

McCullough expressed that her group thought it would be best to do the movie as a silent film.

“We wanted to show the audience and not tell them,” McCullough said.

McCullough also won the best actress award.

Andrew Howle, a sophomore psychology major, Jacob Suggs, a senior mass communication major and Cooper Abbott, a sophomore pre-pharmacy major, also won one of the Jury Awards for their movie titled “Entropy.” 

Cooper said he and Abbott got together and talked about what film they would want to see, and they decided comedy was their best bet.

“Since everyone was really focusing on social justice, we thought it would be a nice change of pace to have a comedy,” Howle said.

Howle said their original film was going to be named “Rough Draft.”

“We decided not to name it ‘Rough Draft’ because we didn’t want the judges to think we forgot to give it a title,” Howle said.

Howle and his team won the Campus Finalist Award and also the Silver Tripod Award for Best Actor.

Howle said what really caught his interest in CMF was that they provided students with expensive equipment to film their own movies.

“I usually film movies on my phone for different class projects,” Howle said. “Then I saw that they were lending students two thousand dollars’ worth of equipment.”

SGA secretary Aaron Simmons’s short film, “Thoughts,” was also among the four movies to win a jury award.

Simmons said as a psychology major he knows that anxiety, low self-esteem and depression are all things students deal with on a daily basis.

“I wanted my short film to bring awareness to those things and that’s why I chose to do it on thought,” Simmons said. “Most of the time our biggest battle is inside our mind.”

Simmons said that when his video won he was shocked.

“Ultimately, I did this so that I could have fun,” Simmons said. “I didn’t think I would win because I wasn’t confident in our editing, so when they called on my film, it was very surreal.”

“Gums Exhibition” won a Jury Award as well as a Silver Tripod Award.

This short film encouraged students to not worry about what others have to say about their artwork and also let the audience in on the process and stress that art students go through.

There were suspense movies, comedies and documentaries. Students got a chance to walk a red carpet and get dressed up to accept awards and see the other movies.

Those interested in seeing the short films submitted by FMU students can find them on the CMF website at