Carleton College Student Organizes Campus-Wide Film Contest

February 27, 2002
By Jill Hopson, 03

Carleton College is a long way from Hollywood, but students will have the chance to experience some of the glamour of being in the movies thanks to junior Reed Martin. DVD Fest, the campus-wide movie contest he organized, is enticing student actors, directors and producers to strive for stardom. Going even further to bring show business to campus, his contest will culminate in a movie premier and award show, complete with cash prizes. The premier will be held at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 9, in the Concert Hall at Carleton. The event is free and open to the public.

DVD Fest is the result of an idea Martin had in his first year at Carleton. He thought it would benefit the college community if people besides media studies majors started making movies, but didn't know how to organize the event until this year. Now, working as a resident assistant and a campus representative of Apple computers, he has the connections to pull off the project. With some funding from the Office of Residential Life and loaned computers from Apple, Martin has invited Carleton students to team up and create short films. Participants will have about two weeks to complete their films, during which they will have access to digital video cameras from the College's Office of Media Services and the computers on which to edit their films. Martin hopes the experience of making a short film will show people how quick and easy it can be. "Also, I think it's a cool thing for the college to see that it's something the students enjoy. Maybe the contest can show that making movies has academic potential," he said.

Teams in the competition must be comprised of people who live together on the same floor in a dorm or in houses. Martin hopes the project will be a community-building exercise. "The idea is that it can bring people together and maybe [participants] can see sides of people that they haven't seen before," he said.

Since he came to Carleton, Martin has noticed that students love doing things with videos, but most don't own the equipment necessary to film and edit. Students are always allowed to borrow the digital movie cameras from the Office of Media Services, but few are aware of the privilege, he said. He hopes the competition will familiarize students with the services available to them. "Movies are just another way of people expressing themselves," he said.

The computers from Apple, which will be placed in dorms for the second week of the contest, will be temporary perks of the contest. Teams will use the cameras the first week and edit their footage on the computers the second week, he said. A panel of Carleton critics will decide the winners at the premier. Judges include Dean of Students Mark Govoni, Carol Donelan, visiting assistant professor of media studies, and Assistant Director of Residential Life Kendre Turonie. The judges will choose the grand prize winner and the runner-up, while audience response will determine who wins the critics' choice award. The winners will receive $300, $200 and $100, respectively. Audience members and winners can also receive prizes of gift certificates and treats donated by local businesses. "My hope is that if it pulls off as a success this year, we can incorporate faculty, staff and administrators next year," Martin said.