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Will these aspiring filmmakers make it to Hollywood?

Nathan Hulsey’s short film for the 12th annual Campus MovieFest is a whimsical tale of young love between a vagabond and his unwitting muse. He drew inspiration for the story from Paperman, he said, Disney’s Academy Award-winning short in which the mystical force of a lipstick-marked paper airplane brings a young couple together.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to make a movie about,” said Hulsey, a first-year student majoring in graphic design and interactive media, “but I did know that I wanted to write something lighthearted, loving, and passionate.”

Hulsey is part of one of more than 100 Northeastern teams participating in CMF, the world’s largest student film festival and the premier outlet for the next generation of auteurs. The contest, which launched last week, challenges aspiring filmmakers to make a five-minute movie in one week using free microphones, Panasonic camcorders, and Apple laptops with high-quality editing software.

Students must submit their films by Tuesday. Northeastern’s top 16 films, as judged by a panel of students, faculty, and staff, will then be showcased in West Village F on March 28 at 7:30 p.m. Free giveaways for audience members include an Apple TV and gift cards from iTunes and Starbucks.

The top three films, for best overall picture, drama, and comedy, will then be screened in Hollywood by a secret panel of industry insiders. Prizes for the Hollywood winners include $30,000 in cash, a one-year subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud, and industry exposure at the Cannes International Film Festival in May.

Film judge James Anderson, a lecturer in the Department of Music, plans on picking his favorite shorts based on originality and technical prowess. But, he added, “I won’t be judging a film’s technical aspects unless it contributes to the film’s story.”

Hulsey hopes his love story will resonate with viewers. “I really want the film to elicit a strong reaction and connect with the audience,” he explained, noting that he planned to shoot the short inside a train station and on the streets of Boston. “If the tone is right and the effort is there, then I think we can produce something worthwhile.”

His confidence stems from his filmmaking experience in high school, where he won second prize in a short film competition, but many other Northeastern contestants are less familiar with moviemaking.

Gabriella Joseph picked up her free equipment last Wednesday, but had not yet decided between making a comedy about the creative process or a drama about her Lebanese culture. Either way, she planned on filming in her apartment and asking her friends to act.

“I just want to jump in and get a start in film,” said Joseph, a third-year behavioral neuroscience major who counts Quentin Tarantino and the Coen Brothers as her favorite directors. “I’m not familiar with the equipment, but I’m looking forward to directing and bossing people around,” she joked.


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