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That’s a Wrap! CofC Film Club, 2022-2023

With the Spring academic semester coming to a close, Film Club wraps up another successful year! Over the course of the 2022-2023 school year, we watched 26 films as a club. Some of the biggest highlights from our most recent semester include: watching the German expressionism classic Metropolis (1927), which turned out to be a surprise hit with members; Mission Blue as a collaboration with with CofC Women in STEM; the 1973 animated film Fantastic Planet for a member’s choice vote won by member Matthew Norton-Baker; watching Chef (2014) with the CofC Cheese Club, all while serving grilled cheese during the screening; and closing out the year with the 1990 film The Freshman, which saw Matthew Broderick getting wrapped up in a NYC mob headed by Marlon Brando—essentially playing the Godfather once more!

Our most notable event outside of our screenings was the 18th Annual Student Film Festival! Click here to read more about it, but it was certainly a success and an unforgettable night. We premiered Roses, CofC Film Club’s official submission to the festival, written and directed by freshman Film Club member Natalie Dixon! Production for Roses took place in late February, and numerous film club members volunteered to produce this short film.

Additionally, a few Film Club officers were invited by the Gibbes Museum of Art to participate in the museum’s annual Film in Focus movie series. President Max Meyers, Vice President Bristol Barnes, and Treasurer Keller Holllingsworth helped lead a talkback at the series screening of Princess Mononoke (1997). Princess Mononoke was one of three films included in this year’s Film in Focus series (titled “Forest Gods”), which centered around themes of environmentalism as inspired by the Gibbes’ art exhibit, “Un/Natural Selections: Wildlife in Contemporary Art.”

Film Club hosted a variety of events for members this year, most notably our camera workshops, Trident Tech filmmaking workshop, and Oscars Watch party! Celebrating all of the fantastic wins and crazy moments of the 25th Academy Awards was such a great time. We also  held two fundraisers this month, both of which raised money for FilmClub short film budgets and for our members to use in their own future projects! The most recent fundraiser was Film Club merch; we’re super proud to be able to offer merch to students again, so plan on more merch drops with a variety of other items in the upcoming school year!

Overall, it was yet another fantastic year, with so much more in store for the future. Stay up to date with Film Club by following the instagram @cofc.filmclub! We’re so excited to return and do great things next year!


Article by Film Club President Max Meyers

18th Annual Student Film Festival Recap

Thank you to all who attended the 18th Annual Student Film Festival! The night was an incredible success and we are so proud of all who submitted short films. Five of the eleven filmmakers to submit films this year were from The College of Charleston and we would like to briefly highlight their work. 

Writer/Director Natalie Dixon (left) and Acrtess Priscilla Vanartsdalen (right) of “Roses”

Noah Futch wrote and directed his immensely creative horror short “Shudder” about a college student and her haunted camera. Bristol Barnes directed and co-starred in “Crash [Cymbal]”, a film with impressive improvised acting about two band members on their way to sell a drum set. Keller Hollingsworth directed “Hung by a Rubbish Hangman”, a scene from Martin McDonagh’s Hangmen where a man on death row protests his innocence. Max Meyers directed an abstract short capturing the beautiful atmosphere at the Battery one early spring evening titled, “Stories from the Pink Pier”. Natalie Dixon wrote and directed “Roses”, a breathtaking story about accepting fate and dealing with difficult decisions. Natalie’s screenplay won the Fall Screenwriting Contest and was produced by Anna Deason, Thea Eiland, Caroline Drinnon, and the other Film Club Officers.

Film Club Officer Caroline Drinnon (left) discussing the film “Manic Love” with director Raquel Doubal (right)

Following the film screenings, Dr. Colleen Glenn and Dr. John Bruns of the Film Studies Department honored all of the graduating students within the department.

This year’s panel of judges consisted of Dr. Jeffery Youn, Dr. Garret Davidson, Dr. Colleen Glenn, and Professor Perrin Moore. Awards were given to first, second, and third place winners in addition to an honorable mention and, for the first time, an audience’s choice award.

1st Place Winner – “Hung by a Rubbish Hangman” dir. Keller Hollingsworth

2nd Place Winner – “Anthony Damir” dir. Ally Suyat

3rd Place Winner – “This Too Shall Pass” dir. Corey Connor

Honorable Mention – “What’s Left at the End of the World” dir. Connor Kelly & Charlie Parker

Audience’s Choice – “This Too Shall Pass” – dir. Corey Connor

Congratulations to all of the talented filmmakers and thank you again to all who attended! Special thanks to James Seezen, Kate Stribling, and Matthew Norton-Baker for volunteering their time. Thanks to Brian Porter and the Queen Street Playhouse for allowing us to use their fantastic space. Lastly, thanks to Claire Oliver, Kate Culpepper, and Ethan Cole from CisternYard Video for photography of the event and conducting interviews with filmmakers. We’re already excited for next year’s festival!

Film Club Officers presenting President Max Meyers with flowers. From left to right: Keller Hollingsworth, Thea Eiland, Bristol Barnes, Madison Berry, Max Meyers, Caroline Drinnon

Guest Lecture: Film Scholar David Greven (Professor, USC Columbia), 5:00pm, Monday, April 3

The Film Studies program is delighted to announce that Dr. David Greven, Professor of English Language and Literature, University of South Carolina, will present a lecture, entitled “‘She Isn’t Quite Herself Today’: Psycho Before and After Queer Theory.” In addition to being a scholar of 19th-century American Literature (particularly the work of Hawthorne and Melville), Dr. Greven is a scholar of film, television, and popular culture—specifically of the work of Alfred Hitchcock—as well as of Psychoanalytic Theory and Queer Theory. In the area of Hitchcock Studies, Dr. Greven has published two books, Intimate Violence: Hitchcock, Sex, and Queer Theory (Oxford University Press, 2017) and Psycho-Sexual: Male Desire in Hitchcock, De Palma, Scorsese, and Friedkin (University of Texas Press, 2013), as well as articles in Hitchcock AnnualScreen, and Studies in Gender and Sexuality. Outside the area of Hitchcock studies, he has published several books on gender and sexuality, including Queering the Terminator: Sexuality and Cyborg Cinema (Bloomsbury, 2017) and Ghost Faces: Hollywood and Post-Millennial Masculinity (SUNY Press, 2016).

The talk will be at 5:00pm on Monday, April 3, in Addlestone Library, room 227. The talk is free and open to all faculty, students, staff, and public. The talk is co-sponsored by the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, the School of Humanities & Social Sciences, and the Nuovo Cinema Italiano Film Festival.

Fall 2023 Film Courses

ENGL 212-01*

The Cinema: History & Criticism

Dr. Glenn



ENGL 212-02*

The Cinema: History & Criticism

Dr. John Bruns

TR 10:50-12:05


ENGL 212-03*

The Cinema: History & Criticism

Dr. John Bruns

TR 12:15-1:30


ENGL 351-01*

Studies in American Film: Hollywood Genres

Dr. John Bruns

TR 1:40-2:55

LTIT 370-01**

Studies in Italian Cinema: Mafia in the Movies

Dr. Giovanna De Luca

TR  1:40-2:55


JWST 300-01***

Jews and Comedy

Dr. Ezra Cappell

W 4-6:45

Literature and TV/film content


LTRS 270-01**

Studies in Russian Film

Dr. Irina Erman



ARTH 294-01***

The City & Cinema

Dr. Jeffrey Youn

TR 2:10-3:25


THTR 488-01***

Screenwriting II

Michael Smallwood

TR 10:50-12:05

Note that this course meets concurrently with Playwriting II

* meets the requirement for Cluster 1 of the FMST minor
** meets the requirement for Cluster 2 of the FMST minor
*** meets the requirement for Cluster 3 of the FMST minor

Summer 2023 Film Courses

ENGL 212-01*

The Cinema: History & Criticism

Dr. Glenn



CLAS 270-01**

The Classics in Cinema

Dr. Noelle Zeiner-Carmichael



ARST 240-01**

Arab Cinema

Dr. Garrett Davidson

Summer 1. 6/5-6/30/23.


LTRS 270-01**

Studies in Russian Film

Dr. Irina Erman



HIST 210-01***

Horror Films: Terror in the Aisles

Dr. Scott Poole


TR 8:30 am.- 12 p.m.

* meets the requirement for Cluster 1 of the FMST minor
** meets the requirement for Cluster 2 of the FMST minor
*** meets the requirement for Cluster 3 of the FMST minor

Blockbusters of 2022: A Year in Review

By Keller Hollingsworth


After a long, pandemic-induced period of halted productions, the movies are back in 2022! Audiences were excited to return to theaters and found no shortage of exhilarating set pieces to entertain them. Superhero movies seem to be pulling the largest crowds, so let’s take a look at all of the superhero titles from the year:

  • The Batman
  • Morbius
  • Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness
  • Thor: Love and Thunder
  • DC League of Superpets
  • Black Adam
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

That’s a lot, but it felt like there were even more this year. Let’s throw in all of the other blockbusters from 2022:

  • Top Gun: Maverick
  • Jurassic World Dominion
  • The Gray Man
  • Turning Red
  • Fantastic Beasts: Secrets of Dumbledore
  • Lightyear
  • Uncharted
  • Minions: Rise of Gru
  • Moonfall
  • Strange World
  • RRR
  • The Bad Guys
  • Avatar: Way of Water

All together, these movies run for 43 hours and 1 minute, have an estimated collective budget of $3,303,058,120, and made a staggering $11,022,279,885 at the box office (IMDb).

As if the fact even needed to be explained, this proves how strongly this modern form of blockbuster is dominating the film industry. Some would say it has defined the previous decade, but it will most certainly define the 2020s. The nail in this coffin being that these movies (and their respective franchises) bore the weight of pandemic closures and helped both theaters and the industry stay afloat amid such turmoil. 

This year’s award nominations seem to reflect this as well. The Golden Globes nominated Avatar: Way of Water and Top Gun: Maverick for best drama picture of the year, on top of Top Gun already winning the same award from The National Board of Review. India’s RRR has been gaining accolades across the globe. Even the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have given twenty nominations to films on our blockbuster list, including two Best Picture nominations. But in a year ripe with great dramas, are we really valuing the coolest spectacle over the most touching stories? Does awarding these films signal a degradation of film as an art form? 

Much has already been written on the mind-numbing “amusement park” tendencies of these kinds of movies and their need to please over their need for storytelling. Many of the above listed movies are so obsessed with providing what audiences ravenously demand that they wouldn’t be able to piece together a compelling theme even if they wanted to. Others are so muddled by studio interference that anything resembling an original idea was cut to pieces in the editing room or stamped out entirely.

And yet, despite the merit in this cynicism, these critiques do not apply to all the blockbusters of 2022. Sure, there is some pretty hot garbage in that list, but since blockbuster movies are such an important financial pillar for the industry, we need to champion the ones that are well made. 

Marvel Studios, for example, took the time to create a meaningful sequel in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever; seemingly giving director Ryan Coogler more artistic freedom than any of their other directors since Thor Ragnarok and Coogler’s first Black Panther. Unfortunately, when the superhero studio titan made their other 2022 films, they did so with significantly less care. Both Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness and Thor Love and Thunder had the incredible creativity of their directors stifled by studio heads.  It shouldn’t come as a surprise that audiences felt those two films had inconsistent pacing and messy, half-baked ideas. 

The other superhero studio on the block experienced the exact same phenomenon with their films. DC’s The Batman was an incredibly unique and expressive film about class and the nature of law enforcement. The film is riddled with gorgeous sets and locations with carefully planned effects, both practical and digital. Black Adam was flashy, hollow, studio fodder that will be forgotten by most before the next release in the franchise. The most notable aspect of The Rock’s new film are his social media manifestations that the film is a hit. According to IMDb estimations, The Batman made roughly $700 million with a budget of $200 million while Black Adam only grossed $392 million with a nearly identical budget of $195 million, exemplifying that careful artistry can in fact pay off. 

Film has always been the most accessible art form, and that is an element of the medium that should be cherished. Audiences clearly enjoy the blockbuster, and filmmakers who are able to innovate within their genre and tell their stories in a framework that appeals to the masses should be celebrated. If we don’t take the time to separate the wheat from the chaff, then the industry might really be at risk of degradation.

Purists can expel limitless energy trying to prevent or minimize the blockbuster’s hold on the film industry, but they will never convince most moviegoers. Their efforts would be better spent convincing studios to make the sorts of blockbusters that might win awards, even if an auteur’s latest tear jerker might be more deserving of the accolade. 

Ultimately, neither Avatar: Way of Water nor Top Gun: Maverick took home the Golden Globe for best drama film of the year, but the Hollywood Foreign Press Association saw what the films represent within the context of the broader industry. The Academy’s final verdict will be known soon, but either way, it’s an honor just to be nominated. Anything that can be done to influence studios to create more work like that of Joseph Kosinski and James Cameron are steps toward a brighter future for film.


Article by Film Club officer Keller Hollingsworth

Local Screening Opportunity: Gibbes Museum of Art

The Gibbes Museum of Art is hosting a screening of Studio Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke (1997) this Sunday, March 12th at 1:30pm as a part of their Film in Focus series on environmentalism. Following the screening will be a discussion led by Film Club officers Max Meyers, Bristol Barnes, and Keller Hollingsworth. The screening is in tandem with their Un/Natural Selections: Wildlife in Contemporary Art exhibit, which will be on display until April 16th. 

$5 Student Tickets can be reserved here!


Celebrating Black History in Film

To commemorate Black History Month, on February 1, the CofC Film Club hosted a screening of the 1996 film The Watermelon Woman written by, directed, edited by, and starring Cheryl Dunye. The Watermelon Woman was the first feature-length film directed by a black lesbian woman and is an important piece of film history. The film follows Cheryl, a video store clerk who becomes infatuated with a black actress from the 1930s and 40s, who was typecasted as a “mammy.” This infatuation leads Cheryl to film a documentary attempting to discover as much as possible about this actress credited only as “The Watermelon Woman.” The film blurs the line between fiction and reality, incorporating scenes shot both on tape and on film to visually represent the documentary efforts and the narrative moments, respectively. In this groundbreaking film, Dunye indicts the film industry’s exploitation of black artists and its revisionist attempts to force individuals into discriminatory boxes.

The thoroughly unique film can be streamed on Kanopy.

Article by Film Club officer Keller Hollingsworth