Society diversity

Film Society rebuilds after pandemic inactivity

The Wellesley Film Society has re-established its presence on campus this semester thanks to the efforts of its new e-board members. According to co-chair Breanna White ’22, the Film Society has a long history on campus dating back to the 1950s and 60s. Before the pandemic, they held screenings at the Collins Cinema every weekend. During the 2020-2021 academic year, they were unable to hold in-person screenings, former e-board members graduated, and the society became inactive. White was a member before the pandemic, and when campus restrictions eased, she wanted to bring the society back.

“I reenacted it because I wanted to rekindle the fun I had found when I was an underclass,” White said. “I [was] thinking about how these screenings have united so many people.

Co-president Demeter Appel-Riehle ’25 contacted White, and together they got the company active again and scheduled film screenings. Their highest-attended screening so far has been “10 Things I Hate About You.” Last Friday, they screened “Titanium” and “Portrait of a Woman on Fire” for a double feature on foreign films.

“[The society is] certainly much more underground than before. I have the impression that before, it was an institution where it was sort of taken for granted that there would be screenings at [7 p.m.] every weekend,” White said. “We are trying to gain the notoriety that we had before.”

While White and Appel-Riehle hope to regain the popularity the company had before the pandemic, they also want to make changes to the organization.

“We try to increase the amount of diversity in programming because we want to reflect the student body,” White said.

To broaden the scope of films screened by the company, Appel-Riehle created a sub-group within the company called Film Cult, which is dedicated to “independent, foreign and obscure film” according to the group’s Instagram. Film Cult started out as an occasional group of Appel-Riehle and his movie-going friends, but once they started inviting others to join, they realized it would be a good idea to make the more formal group. Recently, Film Cult screened three films directed by Gregg Araki, a Japanese-American filmmaker whose work was instrumental in the New Queer Cinema movement of the 90s.

“Our plan for the next semester is to have Film Cult programming once a month through the Film Society,” Appel-Riehle said. “[We are] taking an inside look at the directors we screen who are the main actors in these films…The Film Cult is a way for us to…give people…the opportunity to see something they would never encounter otherwise.

The company decides which films to screen next year during the previous spring, as it must obtain legal access to screen the films. The company is currently in the final stages of voting for next year’s films, a process in which all members have a say.

“A lot of our submissions were quite unique,” said projectionist president Magdalena Manrique ’25. “We have a lot of very specific genres [of] double features we’re going to do. I think it’s a fun way to introduce someone to a genre they may not have seen before.

The society’s e-board encourages anyone interested to contact them, as their main goal is to get more members and more people to attend the screenings.

“Obviously we’re getting back on our feet,” Manrique said. “So if anyone is interested in joining us, now is the time to come join us to be a part of what you want them to be.”