In recent years, multiple film clubs have been created and faded at Southern Oregon University. Though varying in goals and agendas, most of these different clubs hoped to unite students and emerging film makers interested in viewing and creating film projects of their own. While each seemed to gain momentum and support, they were abandoned during the next calendar year.
SOU film professor Andrew Gay, the adviser to the group, says this club has seemingly struck up an interest in the student body where previous clubs failed. The proof is in the numbers–this most recent gathering of film enthusiasts had almost 40 members in attendance.
Gay has high hopes for the club and students who wish to continue on in the field of film and media, “When I came here, I realized there were lots of talented students but a lack of community where they could share their films.”
Not only does a town centered around Shakespearean plays mean that there is no shortage of actors here but also students at SOU who are interested in film making have a geographical advantage since Ashland was recently named the number one town to live and work in by Moviemaker magazine for 2015. The town also hosts the annual Ashland Film Festival which last year saw then SOU student, Angelica Crimmins, win the Launch Award for her feature short film, As Apple Pie.
Senior Michael Bryant, Vice President of the club, explained how meetings are broken up into weekly gatherings that take place every Friday at the Digital Media Center on campus. Some of the subjects discussed include planning for the entire month, film making workshops, and a film making challenges among students. Once a month the club even goes together to view a movie and discuss it after.
Even though this is only the second quarter the club has been in existence, one event that highlighted its success was last spring’s student film fest, hosted by the Varsity theater downtown with a reception and awards ceremony at the Elk’s Lodge afterwards. The night featured projects that varied from class assignments to full blown skits with high level production.
The SOU Film club hopes to host another student film festival that is received as well as last year’s but Bryant says that creating a sustaining group of filmmakers on campus is the ultimate goal, “Building a community is key. Without it, we’ll become yet another club that graduates it’s leadership and ceases to exist the following year,” says Bryant, an already accomplished filmmaker himself, “We have a vision to build a network of friendship among ourselves that lasts beyond our college years and into our professional careers.”