In the last year, have you found yourself at a screening of Pan’s Labyrinth on campus? How about Saving Private Ryan? Pulp Fiction? All of those screenings, along with countless others over the years, have been brought to you by The Film Initiative: Underground. The club has been around since 2011, hosting a wide array of film screenings around campus and promoting student filmmaking through various means such as filmmaking workshops and by orchestrating the FIU Student Film Festival. They are very much the real deal and if you’re reading this newsletter and haven’t heard about them yet, you’ll probably want to start paying attention.
Throughout their six years, the Film Initiative: Underground’s proverbial baton has been passed on a few times, but always to worthy successors who are eager to continue sharing the club’s fundamental love of film with FIU. Their current president, Jose Gil, says that people should be on the lookout for changes in the way the club operates. In terms of the filmmaking aspect, Jose says they are “beginning a sort of revamp…we want to motivate students to start making films regardless of their knowledge.” As part of these changes, Jose notes that students seeking to learn about anything from editing to acting will be able to meet with current members of the club and learn from some veterans that currently make up the Film Initiative, all of whom are eager to share their knowledge with newcomers and rookie filmmakers.
At their core, though, the Film Initiative: Underground has always been about bringing lovers of film together. Jose himself is a Biology major, which might not fit the stereotypical mold people have in mind when considering what a film student looks like. Like so many other FIU students from varying fields of study, Jose has grown up loving films and seeks to further cultivate a strong film presence on campus during his tenure. “I think that cinema has this grand power to transport viewers to another world, to make them laugh and smile, and most importantly to inspire them. To have that power at FIU, I feel is necessary and I’m glad that the Film Initiative: Underground is a portal into that world.”
Sometimes work, school, and other responsibilities can weigh heavily on us all. Jose wants the student body to know that the Film Initiative: Underground is here for everyone, whether they’d like to just unwind and enjoy a classic flick among friends or sit down with other student filmmakers and make their own. The Film Initiative kicks off this Fall semester by celebrating everyone’s favorite symmetrical filmmaker, Wes Anderson, and plan on screening a different one of his films each week in September, starting with The Grand Budapest Hotel the week of September 4th-8th. As of right now, times and locations are still TBA, but if you join their group on OrgSync, you’ll be among the first to know about all of their events as times and dates are hammered out. You can also check out their tentative schedule for the entire Fall semester here.
Mario Avalos is a senior at Florida International University, pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature, along with certificates in Film Studies and Professional and Public Writing.