Above: Student filmmakers and actors prep to shoot a scene for the film ‘Roses’ outside The Canterbury House apartments in downtown Charleston.
The College of Charleston Film Club gives students the opportunity to learn about all things movies, building on the vibrant and popular film studies minor. As part of the group’s mission to help student filmmakers produce and promote their work, the club hosts the annual Student Film Fest, which takes place this year on Saturday, April 8, 2023.
Max Meyers, president of the film club, says the advances in technology, specifically in capturing and editing video, has been a game changer for up-and-coming filmmakers.
Charlie Glennie sets up the camera for a shot of Priscilla Vanartsdalen for the student film ‘Roses,’ while director Natalie Dixon talks with Ethan Cole and Bristol Barnes to prep sound.
“Technology has broken down barriers,” says the junior communication major and film studies and marketing double minor. “It’s amazing to see what students can do and the stories they can tell with minimal tools.”
This year’s festival, which will take place from 6-9 p.m. at the Queen Street Playhouse (20 Queen St.), includes productions by students from the College of Charleston and Trident Technical College. CofC faculty, Garrett Davidson, associate professor of Asian studies; Jeffrey Youn, visiting assistant professor of art and architectural history; and Colleen Glenn, program director of film studies and the film club’s faculty advisor, together with Perrin Moore, adjunct professor of film and TV at Trident Tech, will serve as the judges for this year’s film festival, which is free and open to the public.
“The film club is one of the most energetic clubs on campus, and their activities complement the film studies program in important and substantial ways,” says Glenn. “In addition to promoting the appreciation and study of cinema on campus, the film club fills important gaps in our curriculum, particularly in offering students the opportunity to learn skills in filmmaking. While the film studies program is working to increase the number of hands-on production courses, the club gives students a lot of chances and ways to practice the art of filmmaking in a student-centered, student-driven organization.”
Meyers says his interest in the cinema really blossomed after taking ENGL 212: Cinema: History and Criticism his freshman year. The film club gave him a forum to collaborate and create with other students interested in movies. In addition to the upcoming Student Film Festival, the organization holds weekly film screenings and discussions; brings in guest speakers from the film industry; and hosts workshops on how to write screenplays and shoot and edit movies.
Ben Moore holds a boom pole to record sound for a shot of Mark Landis (left) as the story’s fisherman. (Photos provided)
“The film club gave me another way to channel my passion for film,” he says, noting that he became the club’s president his sophomore year, which has allowed him to grow his leadership skills. “It has helped me realize my ability to build out a dynamic organization — it’s really cool to carry on a legacy.”
After working on last year’s film club submission to the festival, Meyers knows how innovative students need to be to carry a film from the initial concept of a script to its screening in a theater — something he found to be very rewarding and that he wants others to experience.
“For members of the film club, we have a screenwriting competition with faculty judges,” says Meyers. “The winning script is the one that the club produces and submits to the film festival.”
This year’s film club submission, Roses, is written and directed by first-year student Natalie Dixon.
“It is truly validating for students to have their work seen by academic experts in film,” says Meyers. “Plus, it’s gratifying to see the audience’s reaction to their work. The experience can be the first step to a career in the film industry.”
Follow the CofC Film Club on Instagram @cofc.filmclub and access their resources via the club’s Linktree site. For future film-related events and courses in cinema studies, check out the film studies blog and follow @cofcfilmstudies on Instagram.