Most college students would jump at the chance to join a club based around watching and discussing movies. Add a dozen other students who are well-versed in the world of film, and you have something truly special.
That’s the opportunity that professor Jack Lugar saw in creating a cinema club. Each week, Lugar is working to create that culture more and more.
The club began in 2016 but didn’t really take off until this school year. It is designed to be a place where AU students who share a love for film can gather in community and expand on their understanding of the industry. In the club’s third official year on campus, Lugar thinks that it is beginning to grow.
“Cinema Club is a destination for those who have interest in film and television, really media in general,” said Lugar. “It’s a gathering place for everyone with an interest, whether they are a cinema and media arts major or not. Everyone is welcome.”
Every other Tuesday, the club gathers to watch and discuss a new movie. So far this semester, they have shown “The Godfather,” “Ghostbusters” and others.
Mac Mullins, president of Cinema Club, enjoys the community that comes from gathering with peers surrounded by a common interest.
“I got started with the club earlier this semester when approached by Professor Lugar,” said Mullins. “I was asked to be the president and to bring more people outside of the major into the club. What I do is try and be a communicator to other people about what the club is, which is a safe place to watch movies and think of creative ideas.”
While watching movies might be a point of interest for some in the club, Lugar and Mullins hope that one day the club can be more than that for students.
“Right now a typical meeting is really focused on watching films,” said Lugar. “We’re really trying to get on the same page and have some common films that we’ve all seen so we can have good discussion about those films. Ideally the club will expand beyond there and be intricately involved in the Blackbird Film Festival. We also hope to create an environment where freshmen and sophomores can spend time working together with juniors and seniors to make their own films.”
Lugar knows firsthand what it takes to be successful in the world of film, having spent over a decade as a writer and producer in Los Angeles. In his time there, he worked on a variety of projects. Now, Lugar looks to develop this club into a place where he can share what he knows with students who have similar aspirations.
“The club serves as a resource for those interested in the industry to make their own films,” added Lugar. “It’s really good experience for people to be working on projects not only in class, but also out of class. We believe that if we can get this club in the right spot, students will be able to make their own films that could eventually become portfolio pieces.”
Cinema club is for all students, whether they are majoring in cinema and media arts or not.
This year at homecoming, a group of AU alumni gathered together to write, produce, direct and act in a film to be shown on campus. Of the group, most of them majored in things other than film during their time at AU. These people—the ones who are majoring in other fields but still have an interest in film—are the ones that Cinema Club looks to attract.
Above all else, the club aims to be a place where people can come together over a common interest.
“I’d personlly like it to be a strong place where students gather and provide a resource for them to make long-term friendships,” said Lugar. “I’d love Cinema Club to be the resource where some of our graduates can make connections and eventually get together and make films out in Hollywood or New York.”
As the club develops over time, they hope to submit content into the Blackbird Film Festival, a national short film festival for students and first-time filmmakers. Mullins believes that in a short time, students from AU will be ready to submit content.
“We try to have an open mind to any and all ideas in terms of film,” said Mullins. “We hope to be creating a lot of films to be shown off at the Blackbird Film Festival in the spring.”
Cinema club will continue showing films every other Tuesday. All students are invited to join.