For the fifteen students involved in the film club at St. John’s University, next Friday’s second annual Club Film Festival marks the culmination of months of hard work and the chance to showcase their talent on the big screen.
The festival, which will run from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. in Bent Hall 101A on May 2, will feature about 20 films, all of which were made in a team effort, with some students being involved in several projects. The festival was originally scheduled for the same night as the fashion club’s event, featuring guest speaker Mychael Knight, which prompted concerns about the festival’s attendance.
“We didn’t want to compete with them,” said Ronald J. Lewis, president and executive producer for Club Film. “We’re an independent club and people may not know about us.”
The club’s moderator, Professor Richard Rex Thomas, admires the students’ determination to stand apart.
“They really try to give the film club some presence,” said Thomas. “They didn’t want to play second fiddle on campus anymore, and I respect them for that.”
As their moderator, Thomas reads the scripts and mentors the students. “They’re a talented bunch of kids. They’re serious, and they love what they do,” said Thomas.
Lewis, a senior, feels that everything has come full circle in his time at St. John’s, as he compares his current work to the first film he made at St. John’s.
His first film was called “Hustle and Bustle,” and it was the story of a day in the life of two street hustlers.
“[‘Hustle and Bustle’] was funny because it was so bad,” Lewis said nostalgically. “I feel that I’ve really evolved as a filmmaker.” Lewis will be presenting his senior project, a twenty-five minute feature called “Direction,” as part of the film festival. This drama is a narrative of a teenaged film director leading a double life.
“He has issues between his dreams and his relationship with his girlfriend,” said Lewis.
The film, which Lewis wrote, directed, produced, edited, and even had a Hitchcock-like cameo in, took him three months to shoot and five days straight of editing. Though the plot is not entirely influenced by Lewis’ personal life, he considers it an artistic piece.
Lewis finds inspiration from filmmakers like Spike Lee. Films like “Mo’ Better Blues” and “He Got Game” were particularly moving. “He pushes the envelope and takes a lot of chances,” said Lewis.
“He gave me an idea for where I was going to go with my senior project. He has that emotional impact on you, with good character development and good messages.”
Junior Michael Shove, who will be showcasing his film “Keeper,” is excited about the possibilities of the film festival.
“I think having our own festival is a great way to show people how talented we are and that we can be just as good as the NYU or USC students. This festival should be good and I hope to take it next year and expand it even more,” said Shove.
Both Lewis and Shove encourage students with little to no film background to attend.
“When I see a film, I see it as a getaway. I’m free,” said Lewis. “If you have an interest, give it a shot because it’s definitely artistic.”
“It is going to be a really fun night with many varieties of films-and it’s free!” said Shove.
“We’ll have comedies, dramas, and thrillers. If you like going to the movies, why spend $10.50 to see one movie when you can see a whole bunch of them for free?”