Skip to content

Student filmmakers’ work honored at LA festival

A short film created by five Northeastern University undergraduates has been named a national finalist for the 11th annual Campus MovieFest, the world’s largest student film festival.

As a result of its success, the film will be screened on all Virgin America domestic flights until the end of July.

The Northeastern filmmakers — comprising Mateo Caldas, Alex Sandberg-Bernard, Eric Wahlberg, Christian Williams and Andrew Zenn — attended the CMF Hollywood Awards on June 23 at the Globe Theatre in Los Angeles.

A secret panel of industry insiders judged several hundred shorts created in one week by filmmakers from more than 100 colleges and universities, picking two dozen finalists and three winners, for best overall film, drama and comedy.

“Lily,” the short created by Northeastern student filmmakers, tells the story of one mother’s distorted view of reality, invoking comparisons to “Memento,” “Inception,” and “The Sixth Sense.”

“We wanted to make a film that guided the audience into believing something that wasn’t actually true,” said Zenn, who directed and co-wrote the five-minute short with Wahlberg. “We thought it was a great way to hook the audience.”

Zenn sent out a casting call through NewEnglandFilm.com, which proved to be a valuable and cost-effective resource of aspiring actors.

He said his foray into film began five years ago, when he entered an online contest to write a commercial for Tide, the laundry detergent. His commercial, which features a talking stain, aired on national TV and can be found on YouTube. A Doritos commercial he created for the Crash the Super Bowl 2011 contest has racked up more than 271,000 hits on the popular video-sharing site.

“I think film is what people will ultimately know me for,” Zenn said.

The senior business major with a concentration in marketing is currently on co-op with Abominable Pictures, a Los Angeles-based production company known for its comedy programs on the Adult Swim cable television network.

His Northeastern education would serve him well, he said, whether he decides to launch a start-up or dive into the film industry. “Having a marketing background would help me whether I go into business or write screenplays,” Zenn explained. “Knowing your target audience and being able to write a marketing campaign video are important skills to have.”