Campus MovieFest Uses Apple Technology to Bring Filmmaking to Students

David Roemer, co-founder of Campus MovieFest, is exhausted, but he wouldnit have it any other way. He and the seven other members of his team recently completed the 2005 edition of Campus MovieFest, which saw almost 15,000 students at 15 colleges and universities, as well as two high schools, create approximately 1,000 five-minute movies. The top films at each school competed for a variety of prizes, including iPod shuffles and Mac minis, at regional showings held March 3 at the Fabulous Fox Theatre in Atlanta and in mid-April at the New England Aquariumis IMAX theater in Boston.

"Our dream is to keep this running and see what students create," Mr. Roemer told The Mac Observer. "Iim always blown away by what they can put together."

Campus MovieFest 2005 kicked off Jan. 10 at Georgia Tech and finished up at Clinton High School in Tennessee last week. Roemer and his team travel from school to school with a complement of iBooks and PowerBooks loaded with the latest version of Appleis iLife suite. Each student team was loaned a laptop and a Canon ZR80 camcorder to use for the week. Their goal was to write, shoot and edit a short film within that time frame. They could use GarageBand to create their own music or choose from the more than 1,000 songs donated by independent musicians and loaded in each laptopis copy of iTunes.

The crowd waits to see MovieFest films on a four-story tall IMAX screen

Each schoolis MovieFest week culminated with the premiere of all the short films, complete with a red carpet and klieg lights panning the skies. The top movies at each school moved on to the regional events, where the judges included not only students and staff but also such luminaries as The West Wing writer Mark Goffman, an Emory University alumnus who attended the Fox Theatre event. All the movies from the past two years are available for viewing on the Campus MovieFest Web site, which runs off a couple Xserves.

One schoolis movie premiere

Next year, Mr. Roemer and his team at Ideas United expect to add West coast schools to the schedule as well as more high schools. Theyive even brought the event to Scotland and anticipate returning there, hopefully with the addition of more European countries. This is a full-time job for Mr. Roemer and everyone at Ideas United, and they plan to keep it going. Mr. Roemer actually helped create and organize the very first MovieFest when he was a student at Emory five years ago.

"I feel that everyone out there has stories they want to tell, and this is a way to let them share those tales," Mr. Roemer explained.

Students at one school review their project

Campus MovieFest also pays dividends for Apple, which works closely with Ideas United to make sure they have the hardware and software they need. Mr. Roemer said he has "seen a lot of switchers" come out of this event. "We get e-mails all the time from people who were blown away by the experience. They didnit know what they were missing out on."