New film club promotes collaboration

by Anna Weggel

University Motion Picture Club President Corey Birkhofer said his newly formed club is like a vitamin supply to a hungry campus.

Students and faculty members formed the club in September to be a community in which filmmakers from the University and metro area can watch amateur films, critique one another’s work and collaborate on special projects.

Comparing the club to the movie “Fight Club,” in which each new club member has to fight, Birkhofer said each group member has to show or make a film.

“We provide a forum for students to show products they’ve already done,” Birkhofer said.

The club meets every Sunday in a West Bank auditorium to screen student films and discuss film issues.

Birkhofer said there are approximately 17 active members, but that his group is looking for more.

“It’s a word-of-mouth thing right now,” he said.

Club memberships are open to University students and the public.

Money is limited for the group members, who pay for all expenses out of their own pockets. Birkhofer said he has already spent $200 on various film supplies this semester.

Birkhofer said the group plans to apply for University grants to help its finances.

Members said that after accumulating enough money from membership fees and film festival admission, the group would eventually like to become a grant provider itself.

“You just have to know where to look for (the money),” he said.

Vice President Genevieve Kersten, a cinema and media culture junior, said that when she first came to the University, she went online to scour for a student filmmaking club.

“There wasn’t anything, and I was just shocked,” Kersten said.

She said that this year, faculty members took the initiative to start the group and left the rest up to the students.

“To be a legitimate group, we really have to be self-motivated for the first couple months,” she said. “We want to make it a force on campus.”

Kersten said group members have been enjoying and benefiting from meetings and activities.

“It’s just so needed,” she said. “The people coming on a regular basis are incredibly dedicated.”

Junior film student and group member Brian Simpson said he enjoys the group and goes to the meetings as often as he can.

“We educate each other on things we already know and encourage each other to make films,” he said.

Simpson said that because the University doesn’t offer a film major, the club offers students an opportunity to teach one another.

“It’s nice to be around for the start (of the group),” he said.

Kersten said she feels as if members of the club really want to have filmmaking careers and that everyone has an equal say in what goes on in the group.

“We’re trying to let them get what they need out of it,” she said.

Group members are planning a film festival for early December and said they hope to sponsor a high school film festival in the future.