Among the things we can all agree upon are good company, fun clubs, and movie screenings. I learned that you can find all of these in one place when I sat down with Janina Malapitan and Andriana Ozymtchak, President and Vice President of UTM’s Cinema Studies Association.

Starting in the 2017/2018 school year, the association included just four members. “It was among friends, so it felt like it wasn’t too much of a work thing. It was getting together but also having other people get together with us to talk and watch movies,” says Malapitan.

Although the association is one of the newer ones on campus, the board members are passionate about the direction it is heading in. Besides screenings of movies every month, they are collaborating with the English and Drama Student Society on a big writer’s panel—one with exciting guests and career prospects. “The EDSS is pulling an author for the panel, and we contacted a screenwriter for the film studies aspect of it. There will be a linguist, a journalist, [and a] magazine editor as well. It’s a career-oriented event for students who are interested in a writing career field.”

This isn’t the first time the association has collaborated with other clubs on campus. They’ve initiated events on their own but have found it helpful to connect with associations that have similar goals and interests as they do. Malapitan draws on the great experiences they’ve had doing so, and what it means to them as an association. “We were so relatively new that we didn’t know how to connect with the larger student body. Entering the second year, we just reached out to a lot of people we knew who also ran clubs, so then instead of having these sole CSA screenings, we’ve also aimed to try and expand our scope a bit more in terms of the people we’re pulling for these screenings.”

Malapitan grew up in the U.S. and was surrounded by a very multi-cultural community. When she was exposed to world cinema, it spoke to her in ways that mainstream cinema could not have. “I went through a lot of phases in terms of what I wanted to pursue career wise. It went from art to music to strictly journalism. But when it came to movies and my exploration of them in high school, it became a priority.”

When I ask them how they feel about streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, and CraveTV, Malapitan and Ozymtchak have contrasting answers but come to the same conclusion: films are a whole experience. But at the same time, they might not always be accessible to people without money or time.

Ozymtchak says, “My parents and I would go to Blockbuster, rent a movie, and watch it so I grew up with a lot of hits. And then I think in high school, I started to branch out a little more and research into different types of films. Coming to university and taking CIN101, [I realized] that there’s world cinema and that film itself is always changing.”

She tells me that she does, however, still enjoy going to the theatres and seeing a movie on the big screen. “I think TIFF is really great as they bring back films that are not so new, and they bring them back to the big screen. A lot of us didn’t get to see these growing up. I think that’s what’s so great about our club—we get to bring films to students and put it on a bigger screen and have people watch as if they were in the theatre.”

The Cinema Studies Association is co-hosting the Writer’s Career Panel on November 16.