By Ryan Jordan, contributing writer —
A group of self-described misfits stands outside a classroom door at 7:45 p.m. on a Thursday night, waiting. Nearby students attempting to study are visibly annoyed with the decibel at which the group is speaking; the group is so excited about the upcoming event that they forget it is taking place in the library.
Finally, the door to room 131 of the UTC library opens and the last class of the evening lets out.
“Guys, we are going in now,” announces a student with dark violet hair. She is Ashlyn Pack, president of the UTC Film Club, or “El Presidente’ Conquistador General,” as the group prefers to call her.
The film club students have been anticipating this moment. They quickly enter the classroom to begin their weekly ritual: watching a film and discussing it. When the anxiously-awaited film finally begins, the previously rambunctious students fall completely silent, preparing to be mesmerized by what they are about to witness.
UTC’s film club has been around since 2009, and although it has had its twists and turns along the way, it still stands by the same principles on which it was founded.
According to the club’s constitution, the club seeks to provide a welcoming place for the misfits of UTC to gather to watch and discuss films, while remaining inclusive. The club defines a misfit as “a person who often has difficulties fitting in with organizations because they wish to maintain their individuality within the group.”
Jason, creator of the group, was a misfit who had time and money to invest in a club. However, he did not want that club to become a clique; he wanted it to appeal to students who felt like outsiders. He felt that nobody could be terrible at watching a movie, so a film club would be perfect as an all-inclusive group.
After the club began, it was brought to light that Jason had a fair bit of money, and when prompted, he did not reveal how it was acquired. This caused some students to speculate that the club was a cult, a rumor that is unfortunately still perpetuated. Although the club is not a cult, its website humors the notion, using illusory language to emphasize the absurdity of the claim.
Ashlyn Pack, the aforementioned president, hopes to grow the club’s membership.
“We’ve altered our power structure,” she said. “Now we have [our treasurer] Caleb running our social image. With his help, we are hoping to increase advertising through posters on campus.”
She also wants the club to attend campus events such as OrgFest to raise awareness, since the club’s participation has slumped compared to previous years.
“We are somewhat grasping at ways to improve our image and keep everything running smoothly,” she said.
The club currently has between 10 and 15 devoted members who show up to the weekly meetings, which happen at 7:30 p.m. every Thursday in room 205 of Brock Hall, though the location does change on rare occasions.
According to the club’s website, films are chosen “in a similar manner of an intelligent serial killer,” as there is no rhyme or reason to which films are viewed.
In previous years, films were chosen purely by the president, but Pack changed that tradition when she became president.
“We pool suggestions at the end of the semester,” she explained. “Then we use the break to go through and pick the best quality or most interesting from the pool.”
While the UTC Film Club may have a small following, it’s a club that achieves its goal; the diverse mix of members interact with one another as if they are family, and they welcome newcomers with open arms.
Most of all, the club succeeds in showing films that can render a seemingly obnoxious group completely silent.
This goes to show that, as the website suggests, the films chosen for viewing surely do achieve “the ultimate goal of pleasing your eyes, ears and collective mouth.”