Cinema at MC: The Film Society on Campus



The Film Society is a student run group that many people overlook or don’t know about. Every year they congregate and the board of students votes on films within a central theme. The theme changes annually and this year’s theme is memory. The main goal of the society is to try and find films that students enjoy watching and talking about. They encourage cinematic discussion and formed for people who love film, but may not be able to take film classes, like engineers or students with rigid schedules.

“People might think it’s for film minors or something, but the basic premise of the club is for students to watch and learn about different films by talking about them,” says Leah Cordova, one of the advisory board members.

The Film Society is an academic club advised by Margaret Toth, Ph.D. and associate professor of English, and although they don’t have a set meeting schedule, they usually host screenings in Hayden 100.

Film is more important than just entertainment. It is a source of a cult following and devote familiarity that is considered paramount in its role in shaping parts of society, especially among younger people. Halloween is fast approaching and anyone bold enough to don the costume of their favorite movie character may be right near you for sure. Some people are huge cinephiles, or very faithful moviegoers and viewers. Quotes from these fans’ favorite flicks are in some cases the lifeblood of their little groups and can be taken both in comedic taste and downright seriously. For everyone else, movies still remain a noteworthy source of intrigue and fascination.

“Just like novels, music and painting are unique mediums, film has its own way of accessing and communicating ideas,”  assistant Sarah Scott, assistant professor of philosophy and faculty adviser to the Film Society, said. “Watching a film, we enter into a new way of relating to the world around us. Because most film is designed for communal watching it’s natural to enhance the experience by discussing it with others in venues such as the film society.”

The idea that a film can offer one a new perspective on something, often better than other forms of communication, is one thrill that cinema offers. It is one component the Film Society takes a look at.

“Film, like any art form, can be a lens through which we understand ourselves and our relationships with the world,” Evelyn Scaramella, Ph.D. and assistant professor of modern languages, said. She is another adviser on the board of the society. “We show films from a variety of cultures, genres, and periods of history in order to get our members to become engaged with the social, political, ethical, and/or historical issues at play in that particular film.”

For those that wish to take a more elaborate look, the Film Society “discuss[es] the composition of the films we screen, which is a useful tool in helping students to think critically about the aesthetics of art in general,” Scaramella said.

This year’s theme of memory will feature movies that all have common elements of memories. While Toth and the club are still in the process of finalizing the schedule for this year’s series, films and their accompanying discussions like “Paris is Burning” (Oct. 29), “Memento” (Nov. 18), “V for Vendetta,” “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and a week-long film festival on war films and memory sometime during the spring are all set in the running. Other films like “Shutter Island” and “Dazed and Confused” are front-runners in the student-proposed film categories. The club seeks to have one student presenter per semester.

The Film Society is also working hard on expanding.

“If there are any budding filmmakers, directors, writers or actors out there, we want them to join us,” Cordova said.

The society is also in the planning process of creating a student film festival for the spring semester that will spotlight student filmmakers on campus, which is why they are interested with any available talent on campus. Advertising will begin before the end of the semester.

Ideally, they want to be able to get speakers relative to the film industry, such as directors and screenwriters to speak about their professions. They would also like to host screenwriting workshops and provide more opportunities for people to not simply watch films but discuss and learn about them.

The Film Society is a small group of people who want to share the cinematic experience with the Manhattan College community while discussing the elegance, beauty, intelligence, and other various characteristics of a film. If you are interested in any more information on Film Society or want to join yourself, email Kelly Cousins, Deonta Wortham or Toth.