Film Appreciation Club: A New Student Organization 

Discover the brand-new film appreciation club where students openly share opinions and thoughts on cinematography. 


By Ella Stillion Southard & Film Appreciation Club / Matthew staff || Edited by Eleonora Prior

Enter from offscreen JCU’s new club, Film Appreciation Club. A community that welcomes all, from cinephiles to those who prefer casual viewings. Founded and led by JCU Senior Catharine Jacobs, alongside Vice-President Hedda Bonesmo, the Film Appreciation Club was established with the intention of creating “a space for people to come together and share ideas and create connection through movies,” according to Catharine.  

The club convenes on Tuesdays at 3:30 in the Club Room (on the second floor of Tiber Campus) for an hour or two of easygoing conversation about the film for the week. Club members watch the film at home prior to the meeting, leaving more time for everyone to gather their thoughts and prepare to chat. There is no set structure for the discussion, so don’t be afraid to come and share your opinions. Everything from the movie’s impact to a certain genre, the actors, the soundtrack, its relation to films from a different era, the cinematography, and more is discussed. So there is plenty of surface area to contribute your thoughts to. 

Hedda encourages students to join simply because it’s a fun time. “It just feels like hanging out with friends…only we’re allowed to talk as much about movies as we want, without it annoying anyone,” she said. Hedda also adds that the group jokes around a lot; sometimes the discussion gets into the philosophical implications of the film, but most times the conversations are void of pretension and “a pressure to say something smart or profound.”  

If students choose to join this club, President Catharine Jacobs hopes members “feel inspired to think critically of the media they consume,” and Vice President Hedda wishes people can expand their taste in film and get a whole new perspective on several eras and sub-cultures of film, by listening to other people’s subjective experience. The club discusses films from 1920s silent movies to “bro-movies,” as Hedda states, so there are plenty of opportunities for people to expand their understanding of cinema! Catharine and Hedda reassure club members and interested students that if there are film discussions you would prefer to skip out on, for any reason, there is no pressure to attend the meetings every week. For our first two meetings, the club discussed two distinctly different films. To give students who are possibly interested in joining the club, here’s a glimpse into one of our discussions thus far. 

Spiderman Into the Spider Verse and Donnie Darko – what could they possibly have in common? One is a feat of the modern “stepped” animation style and mesmerizingly bold cinematography, and the other an early 2000s avant-garde, yet foundational, psychological thriller cult classic. Leave it to JCU’s film appreciation club to bridge the gaps between the two in a lively discussion on a Tuesday afternoon.  

Despite their clear differences in genre and plot, the discussion on Donnie Darko begins with its parallels to Spiderman Into the Spider Verse. Everyone agrees that both films achieve a successful genre balance, which is not a simple task. Not only do both sustain a genre duality, but they do so with seemingly polar genres. Spiderman is immersed in the Marvel Universe and the comic book genesis, but centers around a young man’s relatable coming-of-age story. Miles Morales, the new Spiderman in this world’s scene, experiences the typical teenage conundrums: the relationship with parents, how to navigate a new school and academic rigor, embarrassing situations, and feeling isolated and misunderstood. Miles experiences an uphill battle when tasked with learning how to navigate the new identity of Spiderman, and ultimately save his fellow intergalactic friends and the entire world. Similarly, Donnie Darko is predisposed to its psychological thriller genre, with Donnie experiencing schizophrenia, and consequently hallucinations of a creepy bunny haunting him with the world ending. However, the film manages to also include a plot bolstered by Donnie’s coming-of-age experience; he feels alienated and alone, he’s wrestling with his future, and navigating a young romantic relationship. 

Although our two protagonists come from drastically different cinematic contexts, one club member makes the connection in discussion that Donnie and Miles have the weight of the world on their shoulders — not metaphorically, literally. As a result, they are forced to look within and overcome their personal difficulties, and ultimately make a moral choice on behalf of the rest of the world. The audience is continuously reminded that the respective protagonists are not ideal heroic figures, but rather antiheroes, which makes their hero arcs even more relatable.  

If discussions like these compel readers at all, feel free to stop by for a meeting or two on a Tuesday afternoon. Coming up for the month of October, the club will be discussing some horror movies, like Nosferatu, alongside a Young Frankenstein screening on October 27th from 5-7 PM in the Clubs Room. The Film Appreciation Club is also collaborating with The Black and African Student Alliance club for a screening of Shaft, with a subsequent discussion on the Blacksploitation genre.

Details on events and upcoming movies will be posted on the club’s Instagram, @filmgroupjcu, so stay tuned for more there!