alumni create a film frenzy
a warm spring evening, an enthusiastic crowd of some three
thousand lined up on the red carpet outside Atlantas
landmark Fox Theatre. This particular audience was there
not for Les Miserables, the Atlanta Ballet, or other standard
Fox fare, but for an evening of sixteen short films created
by Georgia college students during the 2004 Delta Campus
MovieFest, a whirlwind week of novice moviemaking.
in 2001 by a handful of Emory students, Campus Moviefest
caught on like wildfire in Atlanta and is rapidly making
its way into other cities. In four years, the Atlanta
festival has grown from a thousand Emory students participating
to ten thousand amateur directors, editors, and actors
at eight area universities.
really didnt know what to expect that first time,
says David Roemer 02B, co-founder and CEO of Ideas
United, the fledgling company that organizes Campus Moviefest.
At the end of the week, we had fourteen hundred
people in Glenn Auditorium going crazy, watching their
own movies on the big screen.
and Dan Costa 01B, now president of Ideas United,
conceived Campus Moviefest (originally iMovieFest) as
a community-building activity among students. With the
help of Emorys Information Technology Division,
they started by providing Canon digital video cameras
and Apple iMovie equipment to each first-year residence
hall floor and giving them a week to make a movie. Working
in teams of about ten people, each floor produced a five-minute
film, with a thousand students participating overall.
was kind of amazing, Roemer says.
second year, students at the Georgia Institute of Technology
joined in, resulting in 130 movies and an even bigger
audience for the standing-room-only screening at Glenn.
Roemer, who received a Bobby Jones scholarship to study
at St. Andrews University in Scotland, also organized
a Campus MovieFest at St. Andrews, which was a huge success.
showed us what was possible when we put the tools in peoples
hands, Roemer says. It convinced us that this
event can work at any school, in any culture, and we dreamed
of taking it anywhere. It was the only event we knew of
that provided all the technology and stressed team building
and community spirit.
Roemer, Costa, Ajay Pillariseti 02C, and Vijay Makar
02B founded Ideas United with the intention of expanding
Campus Moviefest to universities around the country. Between
approaching new institutions, organizing the festivals,
keeping track of the equipment, and screening film entries,
the group is putting in long hours; its motto is Ill
sleep when Im dead.
all-Emory-alumni company has negotiated some critical
sponsorship agreements: they continue to work with Apple,
which loans all the necessary equipmentApple iBooks
with iMovie 4 softwareto the student filmmakers
and have also secured Delta Airlines as a corporate sponsor
for Atlantas grand finale, Campus MovieNite
at the Fabulous Fox Theatre. First-place winners
won round trip tickets anywhere on Delta.
are working closely with Apple as well as Delta,
Roemer says. They really saw the benefit of providing
all this to students, to show their contributions to the
community and to see what the students could come up with.
guiding principle of Ideas United is that inside all students
is a movie just waiting to take shape, and the simple
iMovie technology developed by Apple is a perfect vehicle
for unleashing the filmmaker within. After watching thousands
of student films, Roemer says the range of creativity,
quality, and subject matter is astonishing. In 2004, winning
entries from Emory included Twelve Fluid Ounces, a film
about recycling by ECOSEAC, the Emory chapter of the Environmental
Action Coalition; a scary movie called Library Staff Notice
about what can happen when you dont use the Dewey
decimal system; and Onus, a movie about making choices
and drunk driving.
common theme is the creativity the students show,
Roemer says. We saw more than five hundred movies
this spring and each one is different and powerful in
its own way. One team got up to film a sunrise on a Saturday
morning. The time the students put into these shows how
much they loved the opportunity.
year Ideas United took Campus MovieFest to Boston, where
a half-dozen schools and some ten thousand students participated,
culminating in an awards show similar to the Atlanta event.
definitely a friendly rivalry up there, says Costa,
who worked with a range of leaders at the institutions
in Boston, from student activities directors to information
technology departments. Part of Ideas Uniteds strategy
is to involve students from the start, forming a student
leadership team to serve as on-campus organizers for the
festival. Ideas United is hoping to expand Campus MovieFest
to four cities this year.
is such a unique event that people dont really understand
it until we get there, Costa says. But then
they get really excited. Its both fun and educationalnot
something you see every day.P.P.P.