By Beth Casteel
Film is an industry that has the potential of bringing people together and establishing a community. For many, the prospect of joining a community of like-minded individuals can be a big factor into pursuing a career in film.
An organized and welcoming community was something that Najada Davis wanted while attending Cleveland State. After getting an Associates in video production at Lakeland Community College, Davis transferred to Cleveland State with an initial reception that wasn’t expected.
After noticing that many of his new peers were quiet and tended to stick with only a small group of people, merging into this new environment proved to be difficult. Feeling like there was negativity in the air, Davis wanted to find a way into making the atmosphere more welcoming. In order to achieve this goal, he decided to create a film club.
“The reason I wanted to start the group is because when I first got here, there wasn’t really much of an organized community,” Davis said. “I wanted to get the community organized and I wanted to make it so that people who first arrived whether you were a transfer or a freshman, you could just flow right into a community where people were active and were doing things that you do.”
While the film club is still in it’s beginning stages, Davis believes that this new group will help create a stronger community not only in the film department, but in the university as a whole. With flyers posted around campus, he wanted to make sure that everyone knew that the positions for the executive board would be open to students of any major.
For Davis, getting the right people to help him create the club and get it fully ready for the move to the new film school is a nonstop process. He is currently working side by side with friend and colleague, Marty Barnard, to set up interviews for director level and Cinematic Student Ambassador positions. So far, everything has been moving smoothly and they have accepted six applicants.
Once he gets his executive board set and the club further established, Davis plans on recruiting members beginning next semester. With the backing of Frederic Lahey, the head of the film school, Davis is confident that the club will help students gain a better working environment.
In order to create an environment for students to better understand and learn the craft of filmmaking, Davis wanted to make sure the club would help establish connections. To ensure this, he plans on making sure that the club is a gateway between planning and action. So, when a production is getting ready to happen, members will be in the know ahead of time.
Besides the networking opportunities the club can bring within the university, he hopes that students will build bonds with alumni and members outside of the university. For Davis, he feels that there’s a whole world of filmmakers and sets outside of the university that are waiting to be discovered in the Cleveland area. By having this club, he hopes a fraternal bond between members will come from being a part of the organization.
The bond, he hopes will also make alumni want to come back to help younger students with their first projects. Davis feels that learning from somebody who has experience with production can have a positive effect on anyone willing to learn, especially students still learning how to produce their first films.
Having a bond with the outside community and alumni is something incredibly important to Davis. Wanting to wipe away any uncertainties students may have while being new to the major, he wants to create an environment where students don’t have to worry about being alone and can be given the tools necessary to connect to the industry.
Davis, a firm believer that connections are everything, hopes that getting students involved in the organization will create opportunities. For students who want to go further than being a member in the club, Davis encourages them to sign up for a Cinematic Student Ambassador position.
The CSA’s are the hardcore volunteers in the organization that will be the most involved in the group. They will be the ones participating in other organizations, going to events and getting more students to join.
While it’s still a work in progress, Davis is confident for the future in the club and he looks forward to getting members and building a tight bond within the film community.
“I feel that film is one of the industries in the world that everybody can have a hand in,” Davis said. “There’s a lot of different things that I think we can benefit from by just having an organized community.”