Sean McGinley (firstname.lastname@example.org)
For Jess Schnur ‘24 and Nadav Asal ‘26, two Ursinus students interested in careers in film, something more was needed from their college in order to satisfy their interest in filmmaking. To be clear, both have enjoyed learning about the film theory side of their film studies curriculum, but shared a bit of disappointment in the lack of opportunities to learn about the filmmaking process at Ursinus. As a result, the two recently took it upon themselves to create Ursinus College Film Club, an organization dedicated to viewing, discussing, and making films. While the club’s creation has provided some unique challenges for all involved, it has also provided a sense of community and exploration within filmmaking for a group of students who felt like something was missing.
Ursinus College Film Club kicked things off on September 16th with a film discussion of Rango in Olin 107. Since then, the club has been offering similar film discussion events on a weekly basis. For October, the theme for these discussions will center around horror films. According to Film Club president Jess Schnur, this month is doubling “as a Halloween countdown. So, we picked a bunch of Halloween, horror, or scary themed movies and we are showing them every Friday.” Of course, Film Club was also created to fill a desire to make films. So, in addition to the discussions, Club treasurer Nadav Asal says that the club’s members are in the midst of creating a horror-themed short film for the month of October that is hopefully set to be screened on Halloween.
Asal was the one who came up with the idea of making a film club. According to him, he saw that the college had one before and asked one of his Media and Communications professors, Dr. Fleeger, about bringing it back. She responded enthusiastically and, per Asal, “A week later, we were in a room and we made the contract and picked a president unanimously and a treasurer unanimously. And now we’re here.” Despite the painless start, though, those involved did face some initial struggles in trying to gain official ‘club status’ from Ursinus. Asal went on to state that he expected the organizational structure for clubs at Ursinus to be more responsive and expressed some disappointment in the inconvenient scheduling of meeting times that would allow his club to become official. He stated, “You have to be going to those meetings and if you are like us, people who take classes that have screenings that are later at night, it means that we can’t go to those meetings. Well, not sometimes, but all of them. We haven’t gone to a single one of those meetings.” Yet, Schnur states that the club has now managed to achieve official club status. She said, “So the fact that we just submitted an OAP, as far as I know, means we’re a club officially. We just don’t really have funding yet.” The lack of funding hasn’t stopped the club or its members from starting club events, and, most importantly of all, making movies.
Despite some familiarity in filmmaking from its founding members, Ursinus Film Club has emphasized being open to everyone, including those without film experience. Schnur highlighted this, stating, “I feel like Film Club can be a place where, like, who cares what your major is? If you wanna go watch and discuss Scream, or Shaun of the Dead, or Corpse Bride, you can do it here. You can watch and discuss movies for free.” Above all else, it seems as though Film Club has provided a much needed sense of community amongst its members. One of the club’s members, Holly Stang, pointed out how the club has provided her with the opportunity to get to know others. For her, “It’s also about having a community. Meeting new people who are also interested in film is always a useful thing.”
All involved have more plans for Film Club. For Asal, this includes more ambitious film projects. But most importantly of all, he sees it as an opportunity for the college to expand its film program, stating, “Hopefully, it gets big enough to the point that students who come here won’t have to say, “Oh, why isn’t there something that I’m really interested in?” And maybe it’ll inspire the school to fund the film department more.” Despite not having a ton of time left at Ursinus, Schnur expressed high hopes for the future of Film Club. She states how she wants even “more movies being made and for a community to be built from it.” Her most ambitious goal? Ursinus’s very own film festival. Schnur stated, “I wanted it to get to the point where we could have our own fun, little film festival called The Zachs for Zacharias Ursinus. Like, you know, our own little Oscars thing. That’s my goal of where I would like to ideally go. I just think it would be fun, having something that’s so silly and everyone can just get together.” Given how much the club has already achieved in just a few months of existence, who’s to say what the future holds?
If you’re interested in getting involved with Ursinus Film Club, you can follow them on Instagram @ursinus.film.club or attend a film discussion on Fridays in Olin 107.