The Film festival is first and foremost a student initiative. There is no festival without student interest or participation. In 2011, the 16 CampusDoc students decided to organize their own festival to showcase their work. They funded and ran it themselves (with some faculty supervision) and it turned out to be a big success.
The festival brings out other talents in the students as well: there are volunteers to do the website design, branding and marketing. Still others try their hand at festival organization. Other journalism students do live and packaged video reports and live festival online coverage, while others serve as press photographers for the event. As for the CampusDoc participants, they learn to access and grow their networks in order to promote their own films.
Some of the tickets are of course bought up by family and friends and other members of the students’ social networks, however, a significant portion of the tickets are reserved for national and international media-industry people: commissioning editors, TV producers, journalists, filmmakers etc. There is also a professional jury which announces the winning film at the end of the festival to a full crowd while another full crowd watches the simulcast of the award ceremony on a separate screen. Each year the festival is hosted by anchors from Dutch national TV news, staying true to the journalistic theme and mission of CampusDoc.
In the last three years, the festival has only grown in stature. We screen on four parallel screens in the prestigious Louis Hartlooper Theater in the heart of Utrecht, The Netherlands. We started with half-a-day and now offer a full day of programming. In the last two years we’ve sold-out with a capacity of over 1,000 seats.
The CampusDoc 2014 Film Festival marks the first time we have accepted international student documentaries, making us the first and only international student documentary film festival in The Netherlands and one of the few in the world. The student docs have come from: Qatar University in Doha, Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa and The CUNY Graduate School of Journalism in New York.
Films that have been shown at the festival in the past have been bought by Dutch regional and national television and this year will be broadcast on CUNY TV in The United States. Other films have gone on to national and international film festivals including The Al Jazeera Documentary Film Festival.
Our long-term plans are to expand the international nature and reach of the festival and include more international productions as well as expand the options for digital streaming so that people around the world can enjoy and learn from these student-made documentaries. We also would like to expand on the educational opportunities offered at the festival like teaching workshops for aspiring documentary students as well as joining with corporate and media partners to offer educational scholarships.
Even with our growth and expansion in the last four years we are determined to remain true to our humble beginnings as a student film festival to showcase the work of aspiring journalists.
This year the festival will be presented by Jildou van Opzeeland (RTL Nieuws), Sophie Moerman (EditieNL), Marco Geijtenbeek (RTV Utrecht), Saïda Maggé (AT5), Laïla Benhdidou (NOSop3) on Sunday. On Saturday the festival will be presented by Hein van den Bogaert, Fanny van der Zeijden and Anne Alink.