Under the Knife

Befitting his new venture as president of the Geneseo Film Society, junior Brent Singleton was, during our initial encounter, reading a biography of legendary silent film actor and director Charlie Chaplin – a man held in high esteem for his belief in the potential of others to achieve great things.

Singleton is the founder of the Film Society; the group's charter was recently approved by the college. Now president of his very own college-recognized organization, Singleton hasn't wasted any time seeking out members and working with vice president of the club, junior Brian Wenzler to debut the group at Wednesday's Student Organization Expo. The faculty adviser for the club is Jun Okada, head of the film studies minor at Geneseo.

In accordance with the society's relatively modest charter, Brent said that he hopes the group will "motivate its members to become better accustomed to film and its cultural impact." He intends to achieve this by hosting meetings focused on specific elements of film. Singleton said that this club will fill a void at Geneseo: "If Geneseo cannot offer film to students, students can offer film to Geneseo," he said.

Singleton described his vision of a typical meeting as starting with a discussion of general film topics followed by a screening that highlights a specific aspect of filmmaking. For example, titling might be demonstrated using a clip of Francis Ford Coppola's 2009 drama "Tetro" which would precede a discussion of how titling is effective within the film.

That might sound like a dry round-table affair, not out of place on a public broadcasting channel; Singleton, however, was very obviously passionate about the subject.

Singleton said that discussions could easily expand into other topics including acting and sound direction and he anticipates free-flowing discussions. He has organized a blog for use by club members; this will serve as a forum for further discussion, critique and suggestion for films.

Other goals of the club include inviting guest speakers from the film community and organizing trips to local film festivals, for example the Buffalo International Film Festival or the 360 | 365 George Eastman House Film Festival in Rochester.

Singleton hinted an even larger ambition: The Geneseo Film Society, he hopes, might begin to produce its own films under his direction and submit them to film festivals.

While funding from Student Association could make such an endeavor financially viable, Singleton said that careful coordination between Geneseo students and strategic planning by club members will be important to making this aspiration a reality.

The idea is grand, but not impractical. Students from Yale University created a popular YouTube series titled "College Musical" in early 2009 and are now selling a fully-produced film to distributors.

Students interested in this new group can indicate their interest in an e-mail to geneseofilm@geneseo.edu.