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Students, College create opportunities to study film at Grinnell

Kaitlyn Ryan ’22, Carlton Segbefia ’21, Ray Martinez ’21 and Eric-Bjorn Boyce ’21 lead Film Club on Friday nights in HSSC N3110. Photo by Ariel Richards.
Kaitlyn Ryan ’22, Carlton Segbefia ’21, Ray Martinez ’21 and Eric-Bjorn Boyce ’21 lead Film Club on Friday nights in HSSC N3110. Photo by Alec Maloney.

At Grinnell College, there is a distinct lack of curricular opportunities for students to study film, leading to the creation of campus groups such as Film Club. However, the College recently hired a tenure-track film professor in response to growing interest in a film and media studies program.

Professor Nicky Tavares will start teaching this spring after years of student interest. More information will be sent out about the course offerings and the professor as the next semester approaches. 

Currently, film classes are occasionally offered in the language and humanities departments, as well as a screenwriting English seminar. One of the other current classes incorporating film, Contemporary Video, is taught by Ally Christmas who is “here on a two-year Mellon fellowship.”

In her time here, she has taught two video-based classes. In Contemporary Video, “students are exploring a fairly wide range of video genres,” said Christmas.

Students are working on a variety of projects, including “a basic moving image project where they’re just exploring how to use the camera in normal mode and figuring out how the moving image is different from the still image without using sound,” said Christmas.

On the extracurricular end, Film Club is led by Kaitlyn Ryan ’22, Carlton Segbefia ’21, Ray Martinez ’21 and Eric-Bjorn Boyce ’21. The club meets every Friday at 7 p.m. in HSSC N3110 and has an average of 15 people who come every week.

“Every Friday, we do movie showings, but there are licensing problems so we have to show them educationally or else we get charged the big bucks. … If we don’t have a license it’s considered a public showing. The way we get around that, and also just because we’re Film Club, is we do discussions afterwards based on something that’s cool about the movie,” said co-leader Kaitlyn Ryan ’22.

They also have film creation workshops, including screenwriting and camera workshops where they learn about “camera movement and pans and zooming. Last semester we worked with a lot of people on their Tithead videos,” said Ryan.

“I really just like watching movies … but I know a lot of people who really enjoy learning a lot about movies. … We’re definitely trying to promote an academic interest in film since the college doesn’t offer it. … Grinnell College is supposed to be working towards a film major,” said Ryan. “It’s neat though, that they finally hired someone.”

Film Club recently screened and discussed the script of Mad Max: Fury Road, and it generated a lot of interest.

“People stayed like an hour longer than they usually do,” said Ryan, referencing the post-viewing discussion.

Similarly to Writers@Grinnell, Ryan said “the College has been talking to us about starting our own film festival … the kind of thing where we get people to come in and talk, so that’s probably going to happen next year.”

Students interested in Film Club can contact

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