Sunny Rodrigues’ short film for the 16th annual Campus MovieFest is a tribute to his love for Boston, a first-person documentary on the unique appeal of his home away from home.
Rodrigues, MS’18, a graduate student who grew up in India, filmed his movie throughout the city, capturing everything from the hustle and bustle of the Green Line to the frenzy of South Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
After a long day behind the lens, the first-time filmmaker had developed a newfound appreciation for award-winning auteurs like Martin Scorsese, Stanley Kubrick, and Alfred Hitchcock.
“This project has taught me how hard it is to make a film,” Rodrigues said on Monday, as he edited hours of footage into a five-minute package. “The ‘ABCD’s’ of my filmmaking skills will certainly be tested.”
Rodrigues is part of one of more than 40 Northeastern teams participating in CMF, the world’s largest student film festival. The contest, which launched last week, challenges aspiring filmmakers to make a five-minute movie in seven days using free Panasonic cameras, Apple laptops with high-quality editing software, and state-of-the-art sound equipment from Sennheiser. Since its inception in 2001, more than 800,000 students at colleges and universities around the world have participated.
Northeastern students submitted their films on Tuesday. The top 16 films, as judged by a panel of students, faculty, and staff, will be showcased in the Curry Student Center Ballroom on April 3 at 7:30 p.m.
The filmmakers behind the top four films will receive bragging rights—as well as a one-year subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud. The films themselves will be screened by a panel of industry insiders at the Terminus Conference and Festival, a one-of-a-kind event for emerging filmmakers and game developers held in Atlanta in June.
The experts will judge a total of 52 films from 13 participating schools, granting awards for best picture, drama, comedy, documentary, and social justice short. The students who create these films will receive cash prizes and other perks, including the opportunity to attend a red-carpet awards show complete with celebrity guests and presenters.
All filmmakers whose shorts reach Terminus will be eligible to apply to the CMF Cannes International Film Festival program, the first step to having their movies screened at the prestigious event.
Rodrigues didn’t participate in the contest to win an award. He just wanted to try something new, with an eye toward pleasing his audience. “My goal is for people to watch my film and appreciate it,” he said.
Emily Zhu, DMSB’20, wants people who watch her film to consider the virtues of kindness and paying it forward.
Her short focuses on a young man who falls into a deep depression following the death of his best friend. As he prepares to jump off a bridge, he notices a series of Post-it notes ending with one emblazoned with the phrase “Make A Change.” He decides to go on living, spots a young woman in need of help, and eventually comes to realize that it was her who penned the notes.
“The message is to always lend a hand when you can,” said Zhu, whose newfound passion for filmmaking grew out of her interest in vlogging.
Her biggest filmmaking challenges were creating the story, which took four full days, and directing her friends, who doubled as her actors. “It was hard getting them to express themselves exactly how I wanted,” she explained.