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Ambitious filmmakers punch their tickets to national festival

To snooze or not to snooze? That is but one of the ques­tions facing the fickle pro­tag­o­nist in Rob Taylor’s short film No Chance, for which he drew inspi­ra­tion from his inde­ci­sive nature.

“I over-​​think every deci­sion,” said Taylor, a fourth-​​year com­mu­ni­ca­tion studies major. “My friends say I shouldn’t think so hard because I can’t pre­dict the out­come of everything.”

Taylor cer­tainly did not pre­dict that a panel of North­eastern stu­dents, fac­ulty, and staff would select his film as the university’s best pic­ture in the 12th annual Campus MovieFest, the world’s largest stu­dent film fes­tival and the pre­mier outlet for the next gen­er­a­tion of auteurs. Since its incep­tion in 2001, more than 500,000 stu­dents at col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties around the world have participated.

The con­test 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. More than 100 North­eastern teams sub­mitted their shorts on March 19 and the top 16 were screened on campus the fol­lowing week.

Northeastern’s top three films, for best overall pic­ture, drama, and comedy, and those from dozens of other par­tic­i­pating schools, will be screened in June 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.

No Chance will face some steep com­pe­ti­tion from the other two North­eastern films to make it to Tin­sel­town: Flint, in which a young couple on dif­ferent sched­ules bonds by sending sweet noth­ings to each other via a minia­ture stuffed lion, and Library: A Quiet Film, in which a young man silently woos his crush like a modern-​​day Charlie Chaplin.

“I’ve always wanted to do classic sight gags,” said Library star Gordon Freas, a second-​​year com­mu­ni­ca­tion studies major. “The biggest chal­lenge was telling a story without any dialogue.”

Editing the raw footage into a coherent film took longer than expected. “I decided to do all the editing in one night, which was a ter­rible deci­sion,” Freas joked, “but it was worth it.”

Elena Guy, the writer, editor, and director of Flint, drew inspi­ra­tion from her rela­tion­ship with her room­mate, whom she seldom sees. “I wanted to tell a story about a couple that stays close without ever seeing each other,” she explained. The pro­tag­o­nist, she added, “knows that their system of passing notes is not a long-​​term solu­tion, but they love each other enough to con­tinue sending them.”

Guy, Taylor, and Freas plan on trav­eling to Hol­ly­wood to net­work with industry insiders and watch their films on the big screen.

“Making films is some­thing I have an interest in doing long-​​term,” said Taylor, the vice-​​president of NUTV and pro­ducer for the TV show Can­dlepin For Kids. “The field is based much more on con­nec­tions than degrees.”

“I’m inter­ested in meeting pro­fes­sional film­makers and asking them about breaking into the industry,” added Guy, whose career goal is to become a screen­writer and director. She has high hopes for Flint, but said, “If people enjoy it, then I have reached my goal.”