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Will these aspiring filmmakers make it to Hollywood?

Freshmen Nathan Hulsey, left, and Evan McEldowney are participating in Campus MovieFest, the world’s largest student film festival in which participants have one week to make a five-minute movie. Their story was inspired by Paperman, Disney’s Academy Award-winning short in which the mystical force of a lipstick-marked paper airplane brings a young couple together. Photo by Brooks Canaday


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.