Student filmmakers on campus have united to create a website for members of the Yale community to stay on top of the undergraduate film scene.
Since the beginning of the semester, the Yale Film Alliance, a group with the mission of supporting and providing opportunities to students interested in cinematography and the film industry, has been building a website that will allow students to be aware of ongoing developments and long-term film projects. Members of the group said they plan to launch the website in February and that the developers are currently on schedule. Yale Film Alliance President Dara Eliacin ’15 said the group decided to create the website because there is currently no centralized location that students can use to keep track of happenings within the film community.
“Right now, filmmaking at Yale is a very word of mouth endeavor,” Eliacin said. “There’s no one place where you can find out who’s filming what when, how to audition for a film or even when student films are screening.”
Associate Dean of the Arts Susan Cahan said she thinks that the website will be a “game-changer” for how film is viewed and experienced on campus, adding that formation of the alliance last spring was “one of the most exciting developments in the arts in the last few years.”
Derek Webster ’99, an administrative coordinator for the arts dean’s office, said the web developer is currently working with the alliance to code the different pages and regions within the site. Three board members — Eliacin, web designer Iason Togias ’16 and Katrina Ungewitter ’16 — have been particularly involved with the development of the website. They are working with the developer as well as with Webster, who spent a decade working in the Hollywood film industry before coming back to Yale in 2010. Webster noted that the team is hiring professionals to help build the website because the site could potentially be used by hundreds of Yalies — perhaps even the entire student body.
The site will also include pages containing a list of ongoing productions, a list of available positions on campus or for film-related jobs and internships, a calendar similar to the Yale College Arts Calendar and guides to filmmaking techniques, existing film organizations and the film studies program.
In addition to the informational pages, the website will contain information about the Yale College Film Festival, another project that the Alliance is undertaking. The annual festival, which will show a series of films produced by members of the Yale community, is scheduled for spring 2015 and will be held every year.
Major film organizations on campus include the Yale Film Society, Bulldog Productions and Project Lens, a new student filmmaking group. All seven of the YFA’s board members are involved with independent filmmaking, and most of them hold leadership positions in these three groups.
Eliacin compared the Alliance and its website to the Yale Drama Coalition, adding that it will provide a connecting thread for each of the film-based groups as well as for individual students interested in film.
“Many students do theater productions as individuals, not as a club, and film has a similar dimension,” Cahan said.
Webster emphasized the Alliance’s ability to unite film appreciation with film production, a crossover that he said does not currently exist in any other student organization at Yale.
Board members said they hoped that the Alliance would draw more attention to filmmaking at Yale.
“As the film community at Yale becomes more organized and visible, I’m excited to see us grow,” Eliacin said. “This is something the Yale filmmaking community has truly needed for a long time.”
Yale currently offers two types of film-related majors — a film studies major and a film concentration in the art major.