c/o wesleyanfilmboard

c/o wesleyanfilmboard

The Film Series is no secret. Advertised across campus, most Wesleyan students know that starting at 8:00 p.m. from Wednesdays to Saturdays, the Goldsmith Family Cinema will show one of a series of films carefully selected for the big screen by the Film Board, a group of nine students. Each calendar is different from the last, ranging from horror classics such as “American Psycho” to more obscure, avant-garde films like “Mad God.” The Film Board meets every Monday and is advised by Associate Professor in the Practice of Film Studies Marc Longenecker ’03. This year’s Film Board members are Hannah Carroll ’23, Danny DaCosta ’24, Audrey Mills ’23, Julie Wise ’24, Tracy Wu ’25, Nate Simon ’24, Cameron Scott ’24, Jolie Zhang ’23, and Sophie Gilbert ’23. So, as this first half of the Spring ’23 calendar inches closer to the end and we draw closer and closer to the new calendar, The Argus sat down to talk with some of the members of this year’s Film Board about movies they’d like to screen, their reasons for joining the board, and what they love about being an integral part of a time-honored Wesleyan tradition.

The Argus: What motivated you guys to join the Film Board? What did you want to accomplish by joining, and what’s your favorite part of being on the Film Board?

Jolie Zhang ’23: Well, I applied because I genuinely have seen some of the best films of my life at the film series. Especially my freshman year…. I feel like it’s just expanded my taste in films so much, and I just wanted to help continue that for the next set of Wesleyan kids because I feel like COVID-19 really messed things up for how they were screened here. I also took a year off, so I feel like I’ve been here a long time, and I just wanna bring back some of the movies I feel people have forgotten about over the past four years.

Hannah Carroll ’23: I was very lucky to get on [the board] as a freshman. It was really exciting to be a part of it, since it was such a huge part of my freshman year and creating a community for me…. I think the fun of discovering movies together and the way we would talk about it after made me want to be a part of making those experiences for the rest of the Wesleyan community…. I really love classic films, and I loved the classics that were up my freshman year in the fall, and I felt that there were so many ones that I would see… that would remind me of this movie and that movie, and I wanted to program them and have people react similarly…. For me, the movie I programmed last year that made me feel that way was “All That Jazz.” I love that movie, and I wrote it on my application as a movie I wanted to program…. And the fact that [it] ended up playing out, and getting to hear people in the hallways afterwards talking about how amazing it was, how they had never seen it before, was incredible.

Cameron Scott ’24: As a film student, I really wanted a space where I could just talk about film with other people, and learn about films I had never heard of before…. I’m really proud of “Dessert for Constance”…. What’s that Oscar Wilde quote? “You could say something stupid, and I’ll defend your right to say it?”…. I just really wanted to program it because no one could find it anywhere. That was just the craziest thing to me—this huge African director, and where are her movies?

Danny Dacosta ’24: The Film Series in general is one of the main things that attracted me to Wesleyan. I knew it was something I wanted to see regularly, and something that I wanted to either participate in or go to the screenings. I think that being able to go to a theater and watch a movie is something that we are very much losing right now with the rise of streamers…so I think that it is very important that we’re kinda striving to keep that.

TA: And going on from there, how do you feel about this past year’s programming of the film series? How do you feel about the past few years?

Sophie Gilbert ’23: I feel like the movies that we programmed in the last year…[are] these things that are not as widely seen, but this is a place where people can maybe discover these bits and pieces of what we love…. I think the movie I was happiest to see programmed, because I feel this was a long time coming, was “Tampopo”…. I love this movie, maybe people don’t necessarily see it, but there’s no reason why people shouldn’t see it and love it because there’s something for everybody walking into that theater.

Nate Simon ’24: So, this is my first year [on the board]. The COVID year happened, but that feels unfair—it just wasn’t the same experience…. It was fun, but I feel like it’s not comparable. But compared to last year? I feel very proud of what we’ve all accomplished. I feel like it’s much more fun, it’s much brighter…[and] it’s at least more diverse.

JZ: I feel like this year we’ve been seeing a lot more cult, campy taste than the past few years, and I’ve been very happy with that. I was really happy to get “Moonstruck”; I think we all were. I was really happy to get “Drunken Master” as well. I think that Jackie Chan fans are an endangered breed.

TA: Awesome! So, what’s your favorite movie that you guys have gotten programmed this past calendar, and what’s one movie you’d like to see programmed on a future calendar?

HC: I would say the Katharine Hepburn of it all [last year] was very true to me…. This calendar, “Dark Passage” is very exciting. That was on my application when I applied…. A movie I would like to program is another Katharine Hepburn movie, “Bringing Up Baby,” which we just cannot get the rights for. But Wesleyan [students] should go watch it on their own.

SG: There’s this Swedish director, Roy Andersson, who makes these super duper off-beat, very, very distinct looking comedies that are so deadpan in their delivery, that they’re just the most bizarre and surreal movies you’ll see. They’re hilarious…. I’d love to see one of those movies get programmed.

NS: One movie I’d like to see programmed—just because it’s a movie I love—is “The Apartment”…. But, one movie I love that we’d programmed was “Neptune Frost.” I wish more people came, that would’ve been cool, but it was a great movie…and I’m glad we gave more people the opportunity to see it on a bigger screen.

JZ: I think my favorite of this past year was “Carmen from Kawachi.” We were really lucky to get a print of that.

CS: One film that I would really love to see on the big screen—and I’ve made a Faustian pact with the rest of the board about it—is “Goodbye Dragon Inn.” I need to see that…. And, I would love to see “White Chicks.”

DD: That’s divisive.

TA: I would love to see the campus fallout from you guys screening “White Chicks.”

HC: You could run a poll under the article, and have people submit [opinions]. That would give us an idea.

TA: Maybe we will. But, my parting question: how do you guys feel about non-film majors, or pushing for non-film majors to get more involved with the Film Board and the Film Series?

SG: We will absolutely take non-film majors.

HC: It’s a big plus on your application. We love it.

CS: Love it. We need it, actually.

HC: I also just want to add—what we’re all sort of circling around in our answers about why we applied—is that it’s such a massive privilege to sit on the board and have your tastes dictate what campus watches, but also there’s a responsibility with that that I think we’re all really cognizant about in our programming…. I think that’s foremost in our mind; when we think about programming, we think about how we are serving the campus. It’s a privilege, and I don’t think any of us take it for granted.

Note: The Wesleyan Film Series holds screenings every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday starting at 8 p.m. Friday tickets cost $5, and are sold at the door. To learn more about upcoming Film Series programming, and to keep up to date with ongoing Film Series events, you can find the Film Board on Twitter and Instagram at @FilmSeries (Twitter) and @wesfilmseries (Instagram).

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Nicole Lee can be reached at nlee@wesleyan.edu

Comments are closed