Every Friday and Saturday night, The Wellesley College Film Society holds screenings of two films at Collins Cinema, and each weekend has a theme. Some of this semester’s themes included “Film in Drag,” “Women Kick Ass” and “Childhood Live Action Faves.” Although these screenings are free for Wellesley students, Film Society President Sophia Kornitsky ’19 stated that many students she has spoken to are unaware that they occur.
In order to attract more students to attend screenings, the Film Society is considering changing their film selection process. Currently, members of the organization propose films, and those who have screened films get to vote on the final lineup. Occasionally, the Film Society also collaborates with other organizations on campus to select certain films. However, Kornitsky explained that the organization is discussing other methods for selection of films.
“We’ve thought about maybe having the campus choose a film that they want to watch. We definitely take into account what the campus is interested in,” she said.
The problem with screening certain films, however, is that the Film Society must pay for every film that they show. Even with the money that they receive from the Student Organization Funding Committee (SOFC), this quickly becomes expensive.
“Generally we can only afford a couple big releases because they’re very expensive with distribution rights… Screening “Wonder Woman” was about $700. You have to pay for everything… Even if you have a copy from the library, you have to get the distribution rights for non-theatrical release,” Kornitsky explained.
The Film Society wants to become more representative of the campus as a whole and is currently in the process of redrafting its constitution, in part to address this issue.
“There’s no diversity clause in our constitution at the moment, so we’re working on changing that to make sure that the Film Society represents the values of the community more. Organizationally, we want to get enough representation of different types of films and filmmakers. It’s disappointingly harder than you’d think because you’re just not exposed to these filmmakers, so there’s really a need on campus to emphasize that,” she explained.
Despite these limitations, students are often pleased with the Film Society’s work and enjoy attending the screenings.
“I think that it’s a really cool service that we have and that they pick really cool movies to show. I remember seeing ‘Mad Max’ right after it came out! It’s also really fun to watch the movies with Wellesley students because of the running commentary,” said Colleen Larkin ’18.
While the Film Society has consistently screened films every weekend, its actual role on campus is somewhat independent. Kornitsky reports that the organization is always changing to reflect what its current members are looking for.
“I think each generation of the Film Society makes it what it wants it to be,” she stated.
One of the Film Society’s current purposes, Kornitsky said, is to be a place for cinephiles to come together and discuss films. Treasurer Ciara Wardlow ’19 echoed this sentiment.
“I joined film society because I wanted an opportunity to bond with other Wellesley students that love movies,” she explained.
In addition, Kornitsky would also like to focus on encouraging students to engage with film in a critical way and ask questions about what they’re watching.
“We want to focus on film as an educational resource… Having people think critically about film is so important. Wellesley is such a place about thinking critically, and we want to incorporate that through film,” she stated.
Kornitsky feels that their recent screening of “Wonder Woman” on Nov. 3, which included a post-screening discussion with Associate Professor of French Codruţa Morari, was especially successful. She intends to build upon the critical engagement she noticed there.
“You could see the audience start to think about films critically and ask questions that reflect that,” she said.
Wardlow is also looking forward to coming semesters and making the Film Society a more notable presence on campus.
“We’ve been trying to figure out how to best serve the Wellesley community in our film selections and events, and we’ve got some ideas to improve for next semester onwards that I’m pretty excited about,” she said.