The video above was directed By Matt Gordner and Dan Colella of the CofC Film Club.
The College of Charleston Film Club has arrived to leave an impact that will last long after the credits stop rolling and the lights come on. This is made possible by enthusiastic students and faculty working together to foster a creative learning environment within the club.
Officially established in 2004, the club has gone through periods of ebb and flow. Jodi Herring ’07, the 2006 president, and Jesse Berger ’09, president from2007 to 2010, helped set enthusiastic examples for current club president Dan Colella, a junior majoring in English with a minor in film studies.
“I’ll never forget the feeling of writing a script and watching it come to life on screen for the first time,” says Colella, “and I want other students to have that same feeling. It will make them even more passionate about filmmaking than I am.”
For students interested in developing their film knowledge like Colella, this club is considered to be a hands-on experience that gives students the tools necessary to become successful in their craft. What makes the Film Club unique is how it supports the film studies minor by combining two key components of filmmaking: film appreciation and film production.
John Bruns, professor of English and director of the film studies program, serves as one of the co-advisors for the Film Club, and can vouch for how instrumental this club is in shaping well-rounded film students.
“Here at the College, we want a healthy amalgam of students who love watching films, thinking about them, writing about them, and making them,” says Bruns. “That’s our goal, and we’ve routinely placed our graduates in film school, both in critical studies and production.”
To keep students both curious and motivated, the club alternates its meetings each week between watching and analyzing films one week, and writing, directing, and shooting their own work the next week. Film Club also has an informal partnership with Trident Technical College, at which CofC students can attend free filmmaking workshops once per semester.
Colleen Glenn, professor of English and film studies, also serves as one of the co-advisors for Film Club, and has worked to have filmmaking courses offered at Trident count toward the film studies minor at CofC.
“Until we can offer production courses here, creating an informal partnership with Trident allows us to support our students’ needs, which is what we’re all about,” says Glenn.
Addlestone Library is also supporting filmmaking endeavors by purchasing state-of-the-art filmmaking equipment that will soon be available for student check-out. This project is a direct result of the club shooting their short film The Shelving at the library last winter, which drew attention to the passionate student filmmakers on campus. The hope is to eventually build a digital filmmaking lab on the first floor of Addlestone Library.
“Students are hungry to make films,” says Glenn, “so John and I would like to get production courses offered at CofC in the future.”
In addition to weekly meetings, the Film Club has special events to help maintain student interest and, more importantly, gain visibility for their original works. Currently in progress is the Screenwriting Competition, in which students of all majors can submit an original movie script to the club by Nov. 10, 2018. In addition to a prize, the winner of this competition will have their script produced by the Film Club and featured in the annual Spring Student Film Festival, which is the longest-running film festival in Charleston.
Looking ahead, the Film Club has high hopes to increase awareness about the club and to take advantage of film resources off-campus. Getting involved in local film events, such as the College’s annual Nuovo Cinema Italiano Film Festival, also allows students to network and gain connections with people who can elevate their interest in filmmaking.
“We want to show that we can be a regional face of filmmaking because Charleston is an increasingly vibrant filmmaking production culture,” says Bruns.
Between his interdisciplinary film studies minor and hands-on participation in the Film Club, Colella believes that the skills he is learning will give him a unique skill set that will benefit him after graduation.
“Anyone can pick up their phone or camera now and write a story and film it,” says Colella. “But looking at it from the lens of film studies adds an extra layer to your filmmaking.”
To kickstart your filmmaking career or attend a screening, join the Film Club for their weekly meetings every Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Stern Center Room 206. Also be sure to follow the Film Club’s Instagram for weekly updates.
Kelsey Baum is a senior from New Jersey studying Communication and Italian Studies at the College of Charleston. She is also a member of the Martin Scholars Program and a freelance writer for Her Campus.