UCF students who’d like to get cultured in the art of entertainment may find a home in the UCF Film Club. The UCF Film Club offers students a chance to get acquainted with the movies that have shaped the medium. So far this semester, the club has screened such classics as Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, the 1939 French film The Rules of the Game, and the British epic Lawrence of Arabia.
Film Club meets every Tuesday at 7pm in COMM 145. But the actual watching of the films is only a fraction of what the club seeks to offer. For example, before and after each screening, the group shares a discussion as to how the classic film holds up in modern pop culture. According to Film Club president Jared Russo, the club seeks to educate as well as entertain.
“I really hope people come away from the club not only understanding more about film history, but being able to come together and share the magic of cinema,” said Russo, who is a senior majoring in Cinema Studies.
Russo has served as President of the film club for two semesters now. He has a zest for a wide variety of movies, but his favorite is the Bill Murray drama Lost In Translation.
“It’s the only movie I can watch again and again, and still have the same reaction to. It’s the first film that had a profound effect on me, and I can watch it forever and not get tired of it. It’s a funny, beautiful story, and I can watch it when I want to laugh, or when I’m feeling blue.”
Even the group’s newest members have caught on quickly as to what film club is truly about, including Sophomore and Cinema Studies major Eliot McElveen. His hope is that future members will be open to seeing films exploring a variety of genres. “I hope film club members will learn to be more diverse in their film viewing. Learn to accept that not all films are entertainment-based, and not all are artistic-based,” said McElveen. Several students in the club share the same passion for movies as Russo and McElveen, and one of them even won an award for it — sophomore Film major J.W. Hendricks. Hendricks has been member of the club for about a year and half.
“It’s a lot of fun and, while sometimes we watch something really absurdly weird, we usually watch pretty good stuff. It’s a great community,” said Hendricks.
Hendricks now has something new to add to his resume – he was named a winner in Project Imagination, a contest in which the most compelling images may inspire movies created by a Ron Howard film festival.
Hendricks’ photo was of a scuffed-up baseball in the middle of a field. “Honestly, the story behind it is pretty unremarkable,” he said. I was with my cousin when she was walking her dog and I just saw this baseball on the ground.”
What Hendricks didn’t expect was the reaction his photo received. “I took the picture and ended up submitting it and suddenly I got a lot of comments telling me how it’s an incredibly touching and relatable picture. One lady even gave me the life story of her late husband and how the picture reminded her of that. It was an incredibly humbling story.”
If the words of the above UCF students are any indication, the UCF film club seeks to offer new ways of watching and thinking about movies in an artistic and cultural sense. It’s clear that its members want to learn and grow, but perhaps most importantly, receive an immediate emotional impact from a movie.
“The thing I like most about film club is being able to share the films I love with people who would have never had the chance to watch them. It really is great to see and hear people’s reactions to the films we show,” said Russo.