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Film Co-op opens for students

by Laren Rusin

A new Film Co-op is being initiated to meet the needs of all those starving artists in Oberlin who have no medium to express their angst. The co-op, the brainchild of college senior Christopher Zalla, is creating the co-op as a way to allow students easier access to filming materials and information.

Film making is an expensive undertaking for individual students to tackle. Nick Wauters, OC '96, spent about $20,000 on his film last year and had over 300 people help him. And the necessary resources aren't available at Oberlin.

The co-op is intended to help people who are interested in film making get a start, and to make it a more accessible medium to those who aren't aware that it is available at Oberlin. Senior Avi Brisman, one of the co-founders of the co-op, said that although people are afraid they don't have the experience to become a member, part of the point of the co-op is to educate. There will be sessions on the actual process of filming, editing and production.

Zalla did some work last year trying to get his idea up and running, but ran into "road blocks" along the way. The audio-visual department head, Fred Zwegat, tried to help, but the lack of quality, functional equipment made it hard to impossible for students who were interested in film to get started.

Zalla got the charter last summer to begin work on the co-op, and college senior Avi Brisman was interested in helping out, and became the "vice president" of the operation. In addition to using old equipment from the Communications Department, which was disbanded about 13 years ago, they hope to get funding from the Student Finance Committee so they can purchase new, state-of-the-art equipment. They would also be able to fix up some of the older equipment and make it functional again.

Both are confident there is enough interest in the project to keep it afloat. "The co-op idea started because there's a major need [for it] in this school," said Zalla. They expect about 100 to 150 members, which will fuel excitement as well as make it less expensive to join. The more members, the easier it is to rent supplies and obtain inexpensive film. "It's going to be a pretty formidable operation," Zalla said.

The co-op is intended for all levels of students. There are people with 16 mm experience who are doing their theses or private readings on film, and they can teach newcomers the basics while getting help making their own films. Less experienced people will still get the chance to use 8 mm cameras and film to work on their own ideas.

"They'll get inspiration from each other," Brisman said. "It's that balance that will hopefully attract people and keep them interested."

"Hopefully," Brisman said, "students will get enough experience to go out and do it on their own."

"If such an organization had existed when we came in as freshmen," Brisman said, "we could potentially be going to graduate school. This was founded out of the desire to help Oberlin students go to the next level."


Copyright © 1996, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 125, Number 2; September 13, 1996

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