Making The Cut

Laura Moore

Max Pachman has the kind of good fortune you usually see in movies. A short film the Communication junior wrote and directed last spring was recently selected as one of the top 25 films in mtvU’s Best Filmmaker on Campus 2007 competition.

The Best Filmmaker on Campus contest was started last year to give student filmmakers an opportunity to share their work with each other and a larger audience, as well as to get a jump start on their careers. And, according to Ross Martin, mtvU’s head of programming, “Hollywood is watching.”

Pachman’s film, Anonymous, beat out more than 1,000 other young filmmakers’ submissions to mtvU’s site, which made him among the top 25 student filmmakers.

“They e-mailed me to tell me I’d made the top 25. I was actually a little nervous and I wasn’t really expecting it,” he says.

Although he was not selected as one of the five finalists, Pachman, The Daily’s business manager, says he is honored to have made it as far as he did. “Either way I’m really excited – I’m not going to be too disappointed because I’m happy to have made the top 25,” he says.

The top five films will be screened at the Tribeca Film Festival April 26, and the winner of the competition will win a trip to the MTV Movie Awards, a Golden Popcorn statuette and a development deal with MTV Films worth up to $25,000.

Pachman says he entered the film in this year’s mtvU contest based on what he recalled from the 2006 competition. “I remember hearing about the contest last year, seeing the five finalists’ films and getting excited about it,” he says. “Then my friends suggested I enter.”

Anonymous was made with a $1,000 grant from Studio 22, Northwestern’s student-run production company. It is a 9-minute piece depicting an American soldier separated from his company during World War II – based on Pachman’s grandfather’s actual experiences.

“I’ve never met my grandfather,” Pachman says, “but my father told me this was one of his experiences in the war, jumping into a foxhole with a German soldier and being too young to know what to do.”

The MTVu evaluation included much more than a unique story line though.

The top 25 filmmakers were chosen based on a combination of page views, uniques, streams, how high their films were rated online and how often their films were sent from friends to friends, according to Martin.

The contestants were whittled down to the final five based largely on student voting that took place between April 6 and 15, where Northwestern students bombarded mtvU’s Web site to rally around Pachman’s film – especially friends and fellow campus movie buffs.

“The whole Northwestern film community has been really supportive,” he says.

The producer of Anonymous, Mark Mavrothalasitis, predicted success for the film. “It was really well shot by Michael Fuchs, and I think the story is really simple. In my opinion it’s the perfect short. I think it’s a story that speaks to a lot of people too,” the Communication senior says.

The mtvU Web site has not been the only stop for Pachman’s film. Anonymous has screened at both the Los Angeles International Short Film Festival and the Gen Art Film Festival, where it took home an award.

Pachman’s film can be viewed at

Medill senior Laura Moore is a PLAY pop culture columnist. She can be reached at [email protected]