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Students Stage iMovie-making Competition to Introduce New Technology

What will 1,300 Emory University freshmen do to win 200 dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts?

That's what Emory students David Roemer and Dan Costa set out to learn when they dreamed up Emory's first iMoviefest, a moviemaking competition between floors of freshman residence halls last month. The result was 31 entries that ranged from the funny and irreverent to thought-provoking and timely. The winning movie parodied hit films including "Castaway," "Pulp Fiction," "Forrest Gump" and "Perfect Storm," while other entries included a mini-documentary on campus race relations and a report on the efforts of protesters to change the Georgia state flag.

While the students had a great time making the movies--about 1,000 of them were ultimately involved in some capacity--the best aspects were the camaraderie developed, the opportunity for students to express their creativity in a new way, and the collaboration with the university's technology division to get the new iMovie 2 technology into student hands. Administrators of Emory's Information Technology Division gave the students first use of 20 new computers destined for residence hall computer labs and gave some advice, but otherwise it was a student-run project.

English professor Harry Rusche also sees the technology as a new way for students to present their ideas. Students in his World War I poetry class and his freshmen seminar on dreams have the option of making an iMovie. "The students are writing several papers all through the semester, so I've given them the option of creating a web page or making an iMovie in lieu of a final paper," says Rusche, himself a big fan of technology. (See Ruschešs web pages and

And how did it all turn out? No film festival would be complete without a premiere, so Roemer booked the largest auditorium on campus and the obligatory skytracker for iMoviefest. About 800 students showed up on a rainy night and got the chance to win paraphernalia from Krispy Kreme, and other sponsors, and the chance to get inside a giant inflated cash register to grab the flying money. The winners, students from Means Hall, walked away with $1,500 to spend on a group dinner.

To read more about the project, go to:

To watch some of the iMovies, you can go to: This does require Quicktime Player--downloadable from the site--and high speed Internet access.

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