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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Showtime

This is SWAMPfest’s third year and, as the adage says, third time’s the charm.
Nearly 300 people attended the Aggie Screen Writing Acting and Movie Production (SWAMP) Club fundraiser SWAMPfest Friday and Saturday. SWAMPfest is a film festival that features a selection of short films written, filmed, produced and edited by students.
“A lot more preparation went into this year’s SWAMPfest so that the audience wouldn’t feel weighed down. We added the breaks for that reason,” said Alleigh Schulz, a senior agricultural journalism major and the vice president of SWAMP.
SWAMP has been preparing since January and featured three high school entries and one from Save the Empire, a local film group.
This was a year of firsts for SWAMPfest. This was the first year judges rated and critiqued the films. The judges were former students and co-founders of SWAMP.
“I thought everyone was so helpful since this was my first film,” said Asiya Bhura, a freshman English major, about the filmmaking process. “I was really ecstatic about the results since I wasn’t able to be at the final edit for my film. But I hope to get more involved with the other areas of filming.”
One of the longer films featured at SWAMPfest was “Academusical the Musical.” The musical features Milton, an English major who must make an A on his math final to pass, despite the fact that his teacher loves to fail his students.
He looks for help from the smartest girl in class, Taylor, whom he also falls for. Together, they defeat their professor and both score A’s on the final exam.
The true wonder of this film is that Michael Ruiz and Greg Melendez wrote, composed, recorded, filmed and edited the musical within the calendar school year. “Academusical” also won the Distinguished Panel Award.
One of the shorter films, “Bad Timing” by sophomore telecommunication media studies major Keller Davis, was featured on Shortfilmtexas.com. It also won first place in the film/video category in the Memorial Student Center Complex’s Visual Art Committee’s Artfest 2009.
Aggie SWAMP was founded in 2000. The organization’s purpose is to help students who are interested in the filmmaking process.
SWAMPfest’s goal is to raise funds for film equipment and technology for editing. Tickets were $3 and concessions like popcorn and cookies were sold. “Trying to get the food together was interesting,” said Britni Burns, a sophomore biomedical science major. “The cookies were difficult because they wouldn’t hold their shapes so they all ended up being stars.”
Equipment and technology are provided for instruction. New members are welcome. During the fall, there is the New Member Film School, a workshop in screenwriting and cinematography.
In the spring, InSWAMPnia is a contest that requires students to make, edit and produce a film in 24 hours.
“I joined at the beginning of my college career, and it has really grown in both membership and in the quality of the films that are being produced,” Davis said.
“I want to try to get more recognition for SWAMP. Hopefully, we can encourage our members to submit more films to the bigger festivals and film commissions.”
AwardsThe Distinguished Judges Award went to “Academusical the Musical” by Michael Ruiz. Runner-up was a tie between “6 Murders” by David Lackey and “Lost Heroes: Rod Belding” by Matt and Scott Hamilton.
SWAMP Alumni Award went to “6 Murders” by David Lackey and the runner-up was “The Intervention” by Irene Georghiades and Michael Wolf, a high school entry.
The Audience Choice Award was “Romeo & Juliet” by Alleigh Schulz. The runner-up award went to “Lost Heroes: Rod Belding” by Matt and Scott Hamilton.

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