The Convening of Viewing Selected Filmed Works for Immense Pleasure During an After School Setting (aka Film Club)


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I’m not sure about you, but I’m personally a pretty big fan of movies. Films, television, features, I love them all. However, there’s just one problem. I have no place to watch them in a school setting! Sure, I can watch The Minions Movie (™) on Netflix during Health class, but where’s the fun in that? No, we should have a club for this. Some sort of…. film club. And if I could come up with a name for this hypothetical club I would call it something like… film club. Yeah, that would be great. Oh, what’s that? There is a film club? And it’s also called film club? That’s great! 

Yes, it is true. We do in fact have a film club now. But, where did it start? Who started it? Do the creators of this club have questionable morals that we should discuss? Let’s find out. I personally have been with the club ever since its humble beginnings. Watching various movies out of Mr. Vona’s class, it was clear that he had a true passion for films. His immense respect for the genre translates through his commentary on the movies, as well as his refusal to pirate anything. Him, along with Samuel Rodriguez and Mihir Hingorani are the driving forces behind what we know as film club. I managed to sit down with these three and asked them some questions about the club. Here’s what they said;

What inspired you to start film club?

Sam: Well, what inspired me to start film club was the discussions I would have with my friends after watching movies during COVID. We would have this thing where we would watch a movie every Friday and then we would talk about it. And I had such a good time in those discussions that I wanted to bring into school and share with people.

Mihir: I didn’t start it, actually, Sam started it. But what inspired me was just how much I love movies and I wanted to share that with other people. That’s what inspired me to join the club and to spread it all right now.

Mr. Vona: So we started Film Club in 2015. It wasn’t really my own original idea. Like, I had been having some conversations with some students in my AP literature class about reading movies as literature. And so we had a short film series, like several movies that we ran in the classroom after school that year. And then one of my students, Harsha Nandawata was his name, was interested in kind of like, institutionalizing that and having more freeform discussions about film. So at that point, then, it’s kind of like his idea we should have a film club. We just started running it and a lot of people have a lot of interest in film. So it sort of took on then.


How does it feel to have film club finally be official?

Sam: It’s a lot of fun. It’s really relaxing just to go during lunch, just to sit down and watch the movies with some really cool people.

Mihir: Feels good. Just being able to show everyone movies, discuss the movies with a lot of my peers, I like it because it allows me to allow us to share movies with people who maybe haven’t seen them.

Mr Vona: It feels good. Again, Film Club had been kind of a thing that had run for a few years and then, unfortunately, because of COVID it kind of took a back seat and I wasn’t sure if we’d be, like, up and running again at any point soon. But again, I think the students are so interested in the medium and so interested in film that the thing kind of takes on a life of its own.


Was it hard to make film club official?

Sam: Well, first it was asking Mr. Vona if we can even have film club. And then it was finding people who would be interested in joining and actually getting them to show up. And then from there it’s been making sure there’s regular maintainable attendance and making sure that we stay within the boundaries of what we can and cannot watch.

Mihir: It was weird. It was like we had it be sort of an unofficial thing for a while because we would just watch movies in Mr. Vona’s room and then we made it official. I got all the signatures because a lot of people like film club and so that was the process. And then Mr. Vona just went and used the signatures to make it an official club.

Mr. Vona: No. I mean, again, the whole thing that drives a club like this, I think, is if you have students who have a passion for it, who are interested in it. You can’t force something. I mean, again, if it were just me and I was like, hey, everybody, films are really interesting and they can be read on all kinds of levels. It could just be me in an empty room talking to myself. But as it happens, there always seems to be this little groundswell of students who have an interest in it. Like a small cohort of people who, regardless of what the movie is, they’ll always want to watch it. Regardless of whatever project the film club might be working on at the time, they’re always interested in doing it. And then there are other people who come just sort of informally, and we might be screening a movie that week that they’re really into and they want to see, and they’re always welcome to come on by and there’s no pressure. There’s nothing that says, like, you have to come to all of these meetings or you have to come during lunch or anything like that. You come whenever you want to. And I think that’s sort of the beauty of that kind of a club


What would you say to someone who wants to start a club? (What if someone wanted to start an equally successful film club that were to compete with yours)

Sam: Well, unfortunately, you would lose. What you would have to do is you would have to find a teacher who would want to stay after or maybe give up their lunch to host the meetings. Talk to them, see if you can get something going, and try to find at least ten people who are willing to show up to some of the meetings to at least get things started.

Mihir: I guess you’d also have to make another film club and watch and show different movies at the same time. But I don’t know if that’s really a competition or if it’s just like I don’t know.

Mr. Vona: I say the more the merrier. I think that we should have all the film clubs. Like, just nothing but films. A multiverse of film clubs, an extended film club universe.


What are your top 5 favorite films?

Sam: That’s a hard question. Let me see. Hold on, let me think. I think my top five favorite films….number one would have to be The End of Evangelion. Number two would have to be The Godfather Part Two. Number three would be Goodwill Hunting. Number four would be Ikiru. Number five, I don’t know number five is not really solid for me. This week, I’m feeling the French movie La haine.

Mihir: All right, five. My favorite movies. Pulp Fiction. Everything Everywhere All At Once. Interstellar. I’d go Inglorious Bastards. And Twelve Angry Men.

Mr. Vona: Okay, so this is a hard question. Because I don’t know. I mean, I think that asking somebody for five movies that you know are their favorite, that’s it’s a tough question because there are some movies that I think a person likes because you respect them, you respect their craft, you admire them, but you might not want to just watch them all the time. So I just recently rewatched 2001 a Space Odyssey. I would say that’s one of my favorite films. But it’s also a slow movie. It’s a slow burn. It’s not the type of movie that glues you to your seat every single time you’re watching it. It is something, though, where if you’re looking at it through the lens of how did you make this and how did you frame this and how did this work? It’s genius. Like a genius film. There are other things that just in terms of sheer entertainment value, like, you’ll watch it at the drop of a hat. So I’m a huge fan of the original Indiana Jones movies. So Raiders of the Lost Arc, you know, The Last Crusade especially. Like, those are two films that, like, doesn’t matter what else is going on. I’ll watch them. I’ll always watch them. I like crime films and thrillers of that type. I know that a lot of Michael Mann’s movies like Heat or Thief, are films that from a procedural level like you’re watching criminals plan a crime. And there are technical people who are really good at their job. And the way that Michael Mann can sometimes make you just watch people preparing for something, not even pulling off a caper, but, like, prepping for it is fascinating. Just fascinating. And just a moment ago, I was having a conversation with Mr. Dawson and Mr. Barra and we were talking about the films of Quentin Tarantino. And the thing that I think we really all kind of admire about Tarantino’s movies is that even in his movies that aren’t really, like, super action-oriented, you could watch the dialogue in the movies that he’s creating and just feel such intensity from them. Like, pick just a dialogue exchange between the characters in those movies. You’ll just be glued to it. So I don’t know if that’s five, but a lot of films that I think are good for different kinds of reasons.


Is Nicholas Cage good?

Sam: Nicholas Cage is an amazing actor and anyone who disagrees should watch Adaptation.

Mihir: He’s a very talented actor and his movies are either hit or miss, but even the miss movies are fun to watch.

Mr. Vona: Nicholas Cage is a national treasure. I think that’s it. No, Nicholas Cage is great. He’s somebody that you can watch for camp reasons and be like, oh, man, look at how whacked out that is. And then there are ways that you can just watch him. Like he turns it on and the man can act. So I mean, as much as people ironically enjoy Nicholas Cage, I think that there are many reasons to argue that he’s just good. I mean, he’s just good.


Would you rather have unlimited films but no clubs or unlimited clubs but no clubs?

Sam: That’s a hard one. I think I’m going to have to choose unlimited films.

Mihir: Unlimited films, because then I could watch anything at any time and it’s not stopping me from going with a bunch of friends.

Mr. Vona: Now, if we’re talking about club sandwiches, I would be unlimited films, right? Because I’m not a fan of club sandwiches. It’s not for me. A French dip. Unlimited French dips. Now that would be good.


Wow, fascinating. I’m sure after all of that you are all practically drooling at the mouth to join film club. Don’t fear, for the classroom code is K4OJZCF. Tell your friends, I think we’ll be watching Morbius next meeting.