Film club fosters cineliteracy in passionate youth


Molly Yuan

Film club members watch a clip from the 1980 action comedy movie “The Stunt Man.” The group meets every Tuesday to watch movies, share personal insights and learn about film.

cineliteracy /ˌsɪnɪˈlɪt(ə)rəsi / noun. 1. critical understanding and appreciation of cinema. 2. ability to analyze the art and grammar of film. 

For students who wish to sink their teeth into the art, history and complexity of film and cineliteracy, the film club answers the call. 

“Our mission is to allow any student that has an interest in film to join and communicate with other students with similar interests,” film club vice president Cooper Ford (12) said. “And if somebody is interested in doing [film] in the future as a pursuit, we’d definitely like to help them out as much as we can.” 

The group’s objectives go far beyond casual viewings of films; they seek to foster a deeper appreciation of the art through education, critical analysis and open discussion. Typically, club meetings open with a conversation about a particular film or aspect of film – previous topics have included history, special effects, camera angles and much more. While club sponsor Dwight Wade facilitates the discussion, students are invited to pose questions and share their own insights. 

“Whenever we watch a small clip or a film, the students talk about their insights about it,” film club president Liana Markos (9) said. “It’s very interesting to listen to how others feel … it can also change my perspective about it.” 

Whatever the passion, film club meets the demand. For Markos, the club fulfilled her initial curiosities about the behind-the-scenes work of directors, cameramen and editors.

“When I first joined the club, I wanted to learn about the filming and editing part of it,” Markos said. “[Mr. Wade] gave me the resources to learn more … It taught me the art behind it and … how people put everything together.” 

In Ford’s case, the lessons from film club act as fuel for his own creative projects. 

“My dream is to go into film school after high school, so a big part of that is making smaller projects to add to a portfolio of mine,” Ford said. “Using the lessons I’m learning from the club, I’m putting that towards projects I’m working on both presently and also in the summer.” 

Wade’s passion as the club sponsor originates from his high school film club – the movies, lessons and discussions from those days have changed him forever, a feeling he hopes to share with more students. 

“Those movies we watched shaped my life, but more important than anything, they generated this academic curiosity that affected me as a student,” Wade said. “I became interested in learning without trying.” 

Without a doubt, the expanding goals of the club open many opportunities for future growth. 

“This is the birth of a new direction for the club,” Wade said. “I think once people begin to see what’s possible here and begin to see movies in a different light, then this will have a contagious interest.”

Even with the small, intimate numbers the group currently has, the film club nonetheless remains a space of encouragement, welcoming to all. 

“Every time we sign into the meeting, we always felt like turning on our cameras, having a good time interacting, discussing stuff and really enjoying the club,” Ford said. “I feel like we’ve really grown as students and friends and we’ll continue to make each other’s day.