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Davis, California

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Lights, Camera, Action! The Davis Filmmaking Society allows film lovers and filmmakers to express themselves

Students at UC Davis draw from various inspirations to make films and tell stories in different genres


By FAITH DEMEULENAERE — features@theaggie.org

Lea este artículo en español.


The Davis Filmmaking Society (DFS) is a student-run organization that has been making waves on campus and beyond. Club President Sophie Martinez, a fifth-year design major, said students find friends and creative outlets through DFS.

“Everyone is looking for ways to help each other’s personal projects and are extremely passionate filmmakers,” Martinez said. “I think DFS is all about learning new filmmaking skills and developing great stories together.”

According to Martinez, this club, which focuses on bringing together students who share a passion for filmmaking, has become a hub for creative expression and collaboration. Over the years, the Davis Filmmaking Society has brought together multitudes of filmmakers and film lovers.

“I write scripts that always reflect things happening to me but translated into much more interesting characters,” Martinez said. “I am always inspired by my friends and family, as well, who have a huge impact on my life and therefore my stories. I don’t like confining my writing into one specific genre, but I always add comedy into them.”

Every film enthusiast gains inspiration from some of their favorite films. Martinez favors “Memento,” “Lady Bird,” “Spirited Away” and “Mulan.” 

“My favorite films are always rotating, but these four are really the ones that made me fall in love with filmmaking,” Martinez said. “‘Mulan’ and ‘Spirited Away’ are beautifully animated and are very nostalgic, as I grew up watching them every summer with my family. […] ‘Lady Bird’ was a film that resonated with me because I watched it during a time [when I] was so similar to the protagonist and ‘Memento’ was the first film that showed me that stories can be weird, challenging and still compelling.”

Alec Gossage, a third-year cinema and digital media and communication double major and vice president of the Davis Filmmaking Society, said that most of the movies that inspire him are lighthearted.

“I love fun films,” Gossage said. “‘Zoolander,’ ‘Cars 2’ and ‘Shrek 2’ are definitely some of my top ones.” 

Gossage mainly produces documentaries, but according to the Davis Filmmaking Society’s Discord, there are multitudes of opportunities on campus for filmmakers to express their creativity, including in sports broadcasting for the UC Davis Athletics Department, creative directing for graduate projects in dramatic art and filming advertisements for local businesses. 

Some students choose to develop their own short films independently, such as Brian Kim, a fourth-year cinema and digital media and communication double major. Kim said he has directed a few thriller films, claiming that although they are difficult to produce, the end product is always worth it. 

Sumeer Malik, a fourth-year student double majoring in psychology and cinema and digital media, said his love for movies extends beyond just being a part of the club. He cites films like “Jaws,” “GoodFellas,” “Memories of Murder” and “Seven Samurai” as some of his all-time favorites, each of which has left a significant impact on him as a filmmaker. 

“I think these films exemplify what cinema is capable of eliciting,” Malik said. “These films have inspired me with their filmmaking and shaped my voice as a storyteller.”

Malik said one of his favorite things about movies is their power to bring people together. 

“Movies unite people,” Malik said. “It’s only in those two hours in a dark room where we forget our race and ethnicity, and we’re in a shared communal experience — that gives me hope.”

The Davis Filmmaking Society will showcase its work at its annual film festival on June 2 at the Manetti Shrem Museum. 

Written by: Faith DeMeulenaere — features@theaggie.org