On Sunday, the Yale Film Alliance will host this semester’s Film Forum for students interested in film to foster and develop a stronger film community at Yale.
The Yale Film Alliance serves as the umbrella organization for various film groups on campus, bringing in speakers, hosting job trainings and planning various events in collaboration with the smaller film organizations at Yale. At Sunday’s event, those interested in making films will have the chance to present ideas, receive feedback from fellow filmmakers and meet possible crew members. Those without a particular idea can join projects or learn more about upcoming events hosted by Bulldog Productions — Yale’s undergraduate film production club.
“We were getting a lot of emails and Facebook messages that were saying, ‘I’m interested in film and I haven’t gotten involved yet — how do I get involved?’” said TJ Noel-Sullivan ’20, the president of the Yale Film Alliance.
A collaborative process, filmmaking requires the help of other people. But many Yale students encounter difficulties in finding a consolidated group of collaborators.
“You sort of have to come onto campus and find your own way and meet people through your own means by developing your own network and working on other people’s films,” said Ryan Zhou ’22, who resorted to random call lists, emails and posts to learn about film projects happening on campus. “The film community is there, but it’s hard to locate sometimes.”
This semester, Zhou has a plan for his own film and will seek members to join his production team at the Film Forum.
Clark Burnett ’19 will also look for support crew members for his thesis film. A sociology major, Burnett hopes to create a fictional story based on his studies on the mental health of black middle-class suburbanites. At the Film Forum, he will seek feedback about the direction of his story.
“It’s really impossible to make these films alone, and that’s why I think Film Forum is just a great idea,” Burnett said.
Burnett, who said he has had a somewhat “unorthodox” experience with the film community at Yale, has never been formally a part of any film organizations on campus. His experience comes from working on different sets and productions and meeting collaborators. Still, he has noticed an increase in formal opportunities to engage in film projects over his years at Yale and credits Noel-Sullivan for developing a close-knit film community.
Last semester, Bulldog Productions offered a crash course on filmmaking through various training workshops. Now that its members have developed foundational skills in filmmaking, the organization will produce a series of short films this semester and will solicit collaborators this Sunday at the Film Forum.
“Everyone wants to create the best film as possible, and we all do, too,” said Serena Michaels ’21, the current president of Bulldog Productions. “We want to try to create an opportunity for people to refine their skills in whatever area they want to pursue in film production so that they can reach that level and find their own brand of excellence.”
If attendance at this Sunday’s Film Forum is substantial, the Yale Film Alliance hopes to hold similar events at the beginning of every semester.
The Yale Film Forum will run from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Center for Collaborative Arts and Media and is open to all Yalies.
Joyce Wu | firstname.lastname@example.org