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Award-Winning Student Films Head to Tinseltown 


Dana Robie '13 and Matt Cline '12 in "Social Notworking," which won Best Picture at Campus MovieFest at USF.

For most aspiring filmmakers, the path to that first red carpet, Hollywood debut comes, if ever, after years of running errands on set, lugging equipment, and otherwise paying dues. But for a select group of University of San Francisco students, that moment has come much earlier.

Three USF student films will be screened June 21-23 at CMF Hollywood, a showcase of award-winning student films organized by Campus MovieFest — the world’s largest student film festival.

CMF visited USF last fall as part of its 2011-12 World Campus Tour, which included stops at 75 colleges and universities across the U.S. and U.K. Teams of student filmmakers and actors and actresses were given equipment; laptops; technical support; and a week to write, cast, shoot, and edit a film of up to five minutes.

After seven frenzied days and some all-nighters, USF teams submitted 16 films, screening them on campus. A panel of USF faculty and staff judges and a guest judge from the American Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival announced three winners, with Social Notworking, directed by Laura Waldron ’13, clinching Best Picture and Best Actress for its leading lady, Dana Robie ’13. The Watchers, co-directed by Natalie Eakin ’12 and Daniela Ricci-Tam ’12, won Best Drama, and Trust Issues, co-directed by Quin Herron ’12 and Eddie Harrison ’12, took home Best Comedy.

The judges also recognized Misfortune, co-directed by Clément Bauer ’13 and Tabish Habib ’12, for cinematography. “Misfortune” actor Joe Zolnoski ’12 won Best Actor.

Waldron, a film minor who regularly produces content for USFtv and plans to pursue a career in film, said CMF’s structure and tight deadline were a valuable crash course in professional filmmaking. “The thing to prepare you for a professional workplace is to turn things around quickly,” Waldron said. “It’s a really good exercise. It pushes you to tap into all of your resources.”

Cast and crew from each of the three winning USF films, “Social Notworking,” “The Watchers,” and “Trust Issues,” plan to attend the CMF Hollywood festival later this month, where more than 200 of the best CMF films will be screened in a competition before a panel of industry judges. Films that win at CMF Hollywood will be available for viewing on Virgin America’s in-flight entertainment. 

Robie, who plans to pursue professional acting after graduation, is among the USFers readying for their big-screen debut. “I’ve seen video of the event for past years, and it looks really awesome,” she said. “The whole CMF group has a really cool system, and I think it’s going to be exciting.” 

Written by Monica Villavicencio »email usfnews@usfca.edu | Twitter @usfcanews