It might be Oscar season in Hollywood, but here at UCF it's time for Campus MovieFest.
Campus MovieFest is rolling out the red carpet at UCF for the eighth year, and in just six short days, students will shoot and edit films spanning five minutes or fewer with hopes of making it to Hollywood.
More than 50 schools around the nation — and some in the United Kingdom — participate in CMF annually, though UCF holds the all-time record for number of movies submitted. Last year, there were 102 submissions from Knights alone.
In previous years, students vied for titles such as Best Picture, Best Comedy, etc. Now, only the top four films will go to Hollywood, instead of the films that win in a certain category.
"That really just opens up the competition. Any movie can win. We were at Virginia Tech this past fall and two of the top movies were commercials," said Wey Lin, promotions manager for Campus MovieFest. "We don't want students to make a movie just to fit a category just so they can win."
With these new categories, students can make promotional videos, public service announcements and even music videos.
The first day of the filming week was Wednesday, known as Launch. Hundreds of students clamored to receive all of the products they would need to produce, shoot and edit their movies.
At Launch, students are given an Apple Macbook Pro with Adobe Creative Cloud, a Panasonic HD camera, a Western Digital My Passport portable hard drive and a microphone and tripod.
For films to be eligible for CMF, all shooting and editing must take place between Launch and Collection, when the films are touched up and turned in on Tuesday.
Once all films are submitted to CMF officials, they are handed over to an anonymous panel of students, faculty and staff for judging.
The panel will then select the top 16 films, from which the top four will be awarded.
All 16 films will play at CMF's red carpet event on Feb. 16 at 7:30 p.m. in the Pegasus Ballroom. The red carpet event is free and open to the public.
Those who are awarded a top four slot will receive a one-year subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud, as well as a shirt and trophy.
There will be a multitude of door prizes, as well as prizes awarded through Twitter.
As the competition brings forth experienced filmmakers and novices alike, Lin has some simple advice for those entering.
"My biggest advice would be to plan," she said. "Get together with your friend; it's always easier to make it as a team. Have your friends come up with ideas. The idea is the most important part. Once you have the idea, all that's left is execution."
For one particular student entering CMF, the word "team" is an understatement.
Stanley Kuschick, a junior advertising-public relations major, is enlisting the help of 10 to 20 people to create a film.
That goes all the way from coming up with ideas to shooting and editing.
With two MovieFests under his belt, Kuschick's second film, The Dead Director, took home the Viewer's Choice Award in 2014.
But even having received accolades for his work in the past, Kuschick said CMF is not as competitive as it is a source of camaraderie.
"We are a huge team making a film we think is fun. We don't care about winning too much," he said. "Making a film with friends is the most important thing to us."
But while Kuschick is in it for the fun, others have hopes of making it to Hollywood.
Dominic Quiros, a junior film major, is competing for his third year and was first interested in CMF after learning that it provided equipment to would-be filmmakers.
Similar to Kuschick, the idea behind Quiros' film is group effort, though he is keeping the idea under wraps.
Despite his desire to win, Quiros also sees CMF as an outlet to exercise his creativity.
"I love telling stories. I love being involved in new worlds, new realms, different fantasies," Quiros said. "This is why I am a film student at UCF. I love CMF at UCF because it gives students the ability to [make a film]."
Adam Rhodes is the Entertainment Editor at the Central Florida Future. Follow him on Twitter at @byadamrhodes or email him at AdamR@CentralFloridaFuture.com.