Female-focused film club hoping for charter

The Baylor University Women’s Film Club shows and discusses films that women wrote, directed, or produced. Claire Boston | Multimedia Journalist

By Maya Butler | Reporter

The founders of the Baylor Women of Film Club are currently undergoing the chartering process to be considered an official organization.

The idea for the club sparked when film majors Grace Wall, Lena Lee, Katie Nowak and Kat Cansler noticed the lack of an organization for film majors. College Station sophomore Grace Wall explained how she and the other co-founders came up with the idea to form a film club that focused on women.

“When we came together as freshmen, we looked around at all the clubs they had to offer, and there was nothing that was a fit for us,” Wall said. “We were all women in film, and we all wanted to support women in film, and so that’s just kind of what we ended up creating.”

According to an article from the Waco Tribune-Herald, the last time the campus saw an officially chartered film club was the Baylor Film Society, before its removal in 1985 for showing “If,” a movie that contained partial nudity and scenes that mocked religion. Afterward, there were attempts by other students at reviving the club or starting a similar one, but they had no success. Back in 2015, film student Ben Goff temporarily brought back the Baylor Film Society, but the organization was never reinstated officially.

Unlike the Baylor Film Society, the Baylor Women of Film Club will mostly screen films in which women have more leadership positions behind the camera.

Austin sophomore and co-founder Lena Lee acknowledged the lack of recognition female filmmakers receive in the industry.

“We were trying to focus on movies that women had big roles in,” Lee said. “I kind of noticed that when we were talking about those list of movies, even I didn’t know any because most directors that I like or know of are just guys.”

According to the most recent report by San Diego State University’s Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, women account for 16 percent of all directors, writers, executive producers, producers, editors and cinematographers working on the top 100 films.

College Station sophomore and co-founder Katie Nowak, shared her opinion on a reason for the low percentage of employed women in the film industry compared to their male counterparts.

“Women are kind of given a place of vulnerability and inferiority on and off the camera,” Nowak said. “I think that as long as that’s the case, it’s going to be hard for women to really have a place in the industry, especially with men like Harvey Weinstein and Quentin Tarantino, who are coming out recently sexually assaulting, harassing their coworkers and their peers.”

Brian Elliott, who serves as faculty sponsor for the club and senior lecturer for the film and digital media department, mentioned the possibility of a more female-inclusive work environment.

“I I think with the #MeToo movement, people are much more aware of a male-dominated industry thus far,” Elliott said. “I think they’re ready to try to make some shift on the women coming into the field.”

National organizations like Women In Film, which advocates for and advances the careers of women working in the screen industries, actively seek to reduce the gender disparity commonly found in the industry.

Dallas sophomore and co-founder Kat Cansler agreed with the benefits of organizations like Women In Film.

“It creates a good safe space for women to create things and branch out to other things beyond that group of women, [to] feel confident enough to keep going,” Cansler said.

The club accepts anyone interested in joining as a member, men and non-film majors included, and will function as both a networking and collaborative opportunity for students.

“I want them to feel like they have a safe place to create and just be encouraged in what they’re making,” Nowak said. “To be able to meet other people who are passionate about the same things they are, so they can collaborate and know that they have people who are behind them and helping them.”