Campus Movie Fest Winners

By Barbara Melendez


TAMPA, Fla. (March 2, 2010) – Campus Movie Fest’s red carpet and flashing cameras rivaled the Oscars, Sundance and Cannes in anticipation and excitement and set the winners on the path to those storied gatherings. The event featured the premiere of 16 five-minute films created by University of South Florida students and prizes were awarded for the best in three categories. History repeated itself when Sarah Wilson accepted her third award, this time for best drama along with team co-captain Dan Nguyen for Fireflies. The film Dennis, led by team captains Dan Nguyen, Daniel Bakst, Joyce Yong and Adam Bettencourt, won best comedy, and the Overall Best Picture award went to Scoops, from the team headed by Ryan Justice and Vishal Patel. Their films can be viewed at


“The whole set-up really allowed the students and their friends and families to feel appreciated,” said Jessica Searcy, graduate advisor in the Office of Student Programs. “The crowd was enthusiastic and seemed to thoroughly enjoy the whole event in its entirety. The winners were humble and well-spoken and thanked CMF for giving them a platform for their filmmaking.”


The winners were also generous with their praise for each other and said that the quality of last year’s films made this year’s festival much more competitive. Surely they had in mind the fact that Wilson was the winner for best film last year and the year before that, and then went on to win best film on the regional and national levels and were screened at the international competition. She took home the honors for her films Rhapsody and Focus in 2009 and 2008 respectively.


The winning films now stand a chance for victory at the Southern Regional Grand Finale which will be held March 27 in Atlanta, followed by the International Grand Finale at Wynn Las Vegas, June 10 - 13. 


Nationwide, 75,000 students compete in over fifty events to see their movies on the big screen at the red carpet finales. Initially, 110 crews signed up to participate in the world’s largest student film festival, but only 50 teams ultimately submitted completed films. They were loaned Apple laptops for one week and used the installed Final Cut Pro editing program to edit their films. All kinds of prizes are at stake throughout the competition – from gift cards to Apple laptops. At the local stage, the Best Film’s winning team leaders received iPod Nanos, copies of Final Cut Pro software and the eyeTV hybrid. The best comedy and drama team leaders received iPod shuffles along with the other two prizes. 


“The Campus Activities Board is very proud to be able to bring this wonderful event to campus,” Searcy said. “We are hopeful that the movies this year will go very far in the competition and are looking forward to following their progress.” 



The University of South Florida is one of the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of only 25 public research universities nationwide with very high research activity that is designated as community engaged by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.  USF was awarded $380.4 million in research contracts and grants in FY 2008/2009. The university offers 232 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The USF System has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 47,000 students on institutions/campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.