Two years ago, I tried to start up my own film club at Rollins. Here, year after year, film clubs come and go. While I tried to stop my idea from becoming one of the many “has beens,” it turned out that the freshman me had no intention of putting an end to this tradition, or in this case, a curse of failure. Luckily, current freshman students Jerry Abril and Fiona Cambell are seeking to accomplish where many have failed.
“We [Jerry Abril and Fiona Campbell] both took Intro to Film with Dr. Cummings in our first semester here at Rollins this past fall. It was during this course that we discovered our shared love of film. Dr. Cummings was actually the one to approach us about potentially starting a film club on campus. Evidently different iterations of film-related organizations have previously existed at Rollins, but none that have stood the test of time. Dr. Cummings saw some kind of potential in us… and believed we had the drive necessary to make film club happen once again-—and hopefully to make it last this time around. Our first meeting was held this past January and we have been meeting every Friday afternoon since.”
I attended one of the meetings on April Fools’ Day for their screening of the 1980s classic satire, Airplane! It was a pretty sizeable showing for such a new organization, with ten or so people gathered together. While most new clubs tend to get much smaller support, due to lack of interest or popularty, it seems that the Rollins Film Society had advertised rather well.
“We advertise our film screenings through posts to our personal Facebook accounts, posts on the Film Society’s Facebook page (facebook.com/rollinsfilm), via e-mail, and by word-of-mouth. We only received a Rollins e-mail account for the organization about three weeks ago and therefore have only been able to send out student-wide emails for the last three screenings, but it has already made a huge difference in the turnout for our events.”
Abril and Cambell also select their films in a democratic way, in order to get as many people as possible involved in the club.
“We choose our films through a democratic voting process, where attendees of the Film Society select the films that will be shown the following month based on our theme/nominations for each week. We believe that this system creates a more inclusive environment that allows our members to have a voice in what films our organization showcases.”
The most interesting parts of the screenings are the discussions held after the films end.
“We also host a short discussion after each screening that allows viewers to decompress, share their thoughts, and look at the film from a more educated perspective. Our primary goals are to share our love of film with other members of the Rollins community and to introduce newcomers to the world of critical film analysis. Beyond the film itself, we think that kind of welcoming, inclusive community is what brings people back each week.”
This is definitely the idea that will keep me and other film enthusiasts coming back. Discussion of film is important; it gets creative individuals’ ideas out there and it allows people to connect with the concepts brought up by others. It creates a sense of community like no other.
It seems like there is no stopping this duo in their efforts to maintain this society.
“We have already begun planning a tentative schedule for next semester. Our first screening of Fall 2016 is set for Friday, August 26th. These last three months or so have been a test drive for us to see what people at Rollins want out of a film organization, as well as what we, as the presidents, want the Film Society to be. We are currently hosting our screenings in the Olin Library but are considering moving to a larger venue in the future.
“We look forward to promoting other film-related events on campus beyond our regular weekly screenings: student screenwriting and filmmaking, campus film festivals, movies on the lawn, etc. The Film Society is also interested in partnering with other departments and student organizations in order to co-host special interest films and/or raise awareness about a specific issue, topic, or event. We have already worked with Eco-Rollins to co-promote the film Into the Wild this past March.
“Organizations that would like to sponsor one of our weekly screenings are more than welcome to contact us about scheduling for next semester. We are also happy to take film suggestions in general!”
I would like to personally thank Abril and Cambell for driving the initiative for film on this campus. It really is an experience to be able to discuss film with others.
The future seems bright for the Rollins Film Society and I hope that anyone wanting a more unique film experience stops by Olin Library, room 230, on Fridays. The lineup for this month has already been set, but if you have suggestions, you can e-mail Abril and Cambell at FilmSociety@rollins.edu.