Film club focuses on inclusivity


Samantha Macuare

Standing next to the film club board in main hall, co-presidents Alexa Semmelmann and Owen Felton talk about their time with the film club. Film club consists of monthly meetings to talk about influential films.

Samantha Macuare, Managing Editor

Q: Why did you decide to join and then later run the club? 

Alexa: “I joined Film Club my freshman year, mainly due to a ton of my friends being in it, but also because I just really love movies. Running the club was something I had felt I was very capable of doing, so once all the presidents were seniors, while I was a sophomore, I knew that my junior year was going to be when I could take leadership into my own hands. It is such a worthy club with much potential, which is what Owen, and I are trying to help others see. 

Owen: “I initially joined film club because movies are my favorite thing in the world, and I wanted to have a place where I could discuss them with other movie lovers. My dream is to make my own films someday. I really just wanted to immerse myself in the world of film in every way possible, and I think being able to share my opinions and hear others’ opinions on films was a great way to build a deeper understanding of film for myself and just to have fun. I wanted to lead film club this year because I had so many different films we could discuss, and Alexa and I wanted to make film club as inclusive as possible this year. This club is a place for everybody; there’s just so much potential for this club and we want to go as far with it as we can.” 

Q: What got you interested in film? 

Alexa: “I originally was very interested in film when I was in the 1st grade and I saw The Nightmare Before Christmas by Tim Burton. I have always been a very big fan of Tim Burton, even dressing as him in 5th grade for an autobiography project, and his eerie and whimsical aesthetic pulled me into actually wanting to seek more from film, in which I did. 

Owen: “I think I’ve always loved movies, but I didn’t realize just how much until eighth grade and freshman year. My friend recommended me this social media app called letterboxd where you can log all the films you watch, give them ratings, right reviews, make list of films, like and comment on other people’s reviews, etc. As I followed more people on the app and read their reviews, my watch list of films grew larger and larger. I discovered so many different films I never would have known about if it weren’t for that app. I branched out and started watching all kinds of different films mainstream films, indie films, foreign films, animated films, art house films, abstract films, everything. I’m really grateful for that app because now I’m a much more well-rounded and knowledgeable individual when it comes to film and I can talk about it so easily. 

Q: How have movies shaped you into who you are today? 

Alexa: “Movies have shaped me so much, it’s hard to truly explain. Much of my style and the way I act, as well as my poetic and artistic values, have been highly encouraged and influenced by films I saw growing up, like Edward Scissorhands, Palo Alto and many more. All of the movies have made me realize much more about myself, such as personality traits and self-power. I think they’re quite beautiful and lovely in the long run! 

Owen: “Like I said earlier, I feel like a so much more cultured and well-rounded person. I can talk and write about film so easily. I have grown as a writer through my experience writing reviews of films, and I’ve identified what qualities I like in a film so that I know exactly what kind of films I want to make some day. I feel so much more intelligent, and like I have a better understanding of art. I go into every film with a totally open mind, and as obnoxious as it may sound, I don’t go into films with a desire to be entertained as much anymore. I have learned that film is no different than any other medium of art, and that it doesn’t have to cater to the viewer, it doesn’t have to be satisfying, it doesn’t even have to be comprehensible. Some of my favorite films are the ones that are hard for me to watch that give me a headache, that give me anxiety, that leave me not understanding anything I just saw. 

Q: What is the hardest part about running the club.  

Alexa: “The hardest part about running the club probably has to be that before Owen and I were able to take over, there wasn’t much to base our meetings off of. Receiving as many members as we did for this year, we had never experienced that, so it was entirely new to us. Figuring everything out has been difficult but it is getting much easier as time goes by! 

Owen: “So far I think it’s been a fairly smooth and simple process! However, we got a lot more applications than we expected this year. In the past film club has been pretty small, but this year we received over 90 applicants, so naturally, in the age of COVID, it’s difficult to regulate meetings and make sure we aren’t getting overcrowded for the sake of safety. We have a lot of e-learners in the club two period we want to have meetings in person so we can have a fun, really interactive experience, but we also need to find a way to include the people who don’t feel comfortable coming to school. So that’s been a little stressful trying to figure out. 

Q: What is your favorite part about having the film club?  

Alexa: “My absolute favorite part of Film Club is the idea of meeting so many other people with similar ideals and motives as you. We are introducing different discussion concepts and topics that bring more of individual ideals inside the conversations, which encourages people to open up more and introduce themselves. Also, being able to pick the movies is super fun because Owen and I love figuring out which movie(s) to watch for each meeting. 

Owen: “I love everything about this club! But I think the thing that makes me the happiest is seeing so many people come to the meetings and have such good discussions for our anniversary. I love to hear other people’s perspectives on films that I like and it’s so cool to hear different ideas coming from everyone. Every member has something valuable to say, and I think that’s amazing to see 

Q: What are you looking forward to for the club this year? 

Alexa: “For this year, I look forward to meeting everyone who applied and is in the club! I also am looking forward to some of the outside-of-school activities/meetings we plan on holding once the weather cools down. 

Owen: “Hopefully we’ll be able to have some events outside of school when everything comes down a little bit. We’d love to have days where we can all meet up and go to AMC theatres or the Tampa Theater! But in general, I’m just looking forward to seeing what everyone thinks of the movies we pick. I want to get feedback from all our members so we can continue to improve the club and pick movies that most people will enjoy and just have a fun time at every meeting! 

Q: What are some of the movies you plan on analyzing this year? 

Alexa: “We aren’t able to talk about all of them but just know that they are not just movies that Owen and I have seen. We are experimenting with everyone else! 

Owen: “We just had our first meeting in which we analyzed two of Ari Asters popular horror films, Hereditary (2018) and Midsommer in (2019), our upcoming movie is Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie,’ so we’re doing a horror slash Halloween films for all of October period we’re just going to get a feel for what films interest people before we decide on movies for the rest of the year. We went to pick movies that are really accessible in the sense that they there on streaming services people have and they aren’t too intimidating. Will probably be starting off with these more accessible films, and as the year progresses, we might get into more of the avantgarde, analyzing foreign films, older films, etc. All depending on what people seem to enjoy. This is a student run club and that doesn’t only mean Alexa and me! We want everyone to have input in the kinds of films were watching/activities we have, so we highly encourage constructive criticism. 

Q: Why should kids join Film Club? 

Alexa: “Students should join Film Club because it’s very laidback and understanding club, with many opportunities to learn much more about the film industry, movies inside of it, and even yourself, which is very beautiful all in itself! 

Owen: “This club is meant to be as inclusive as possible. We want everyone to come here and feel safe and like they can share any opinions they have, and they will never be judged. We have a lot of fun talking about different movies and people might even discover some of their new favorite ones! It’s a place where students can expand their repertoire films, while the meeting other students in bonding over movies. It’s a really productive and exciting environment to be in! Not to mention, we will have movie-themed snacks at every meeting.