Bend Student Film Club

Where young film enthusiasts thrive

Once a month at the Tin Pan Theater in downtown Bend, a group of students gather to watch a movie. The small and cozy venue is the perfect place for movie viewing. As simple as it may sound, the Bend Student Film Club has acted as a haven for teens who enjoy movies, analyzing them and learning about the behind-the-scenes process. 

Film Club meetings usually consist of showing a film, a discussion and then ending the night with a trivia competition. The movies shown range from horror to comedy, coming-of-age to romantic comedies. There is something for everyone. 

In a world of effortlessly made blockbusters, Film Club concentrates on smaller indie films—the kind of movie that changes the way you view life. The kind of movie that you finish watching, and become obsessed with afterwards because it was just that good. Whether it be the plot, cinematography or themes, it sticks with you. That’s Film Club’s goal every single time. 

“When I watched ‘La La Land’ for the first time, I really began to appreciate cinematography and symbolism in movies. It gave me a feeling I’ll never forget,” said Azure Neubauer, a Film Club member. “Then I found Film Club and that was the place to achieve that feeling again and again.”

The club’s president, 16-year-old Madelyn Walsh, was appointed at the beginning of summer. 

“Betsy Stonich [former Film Club president] asked me to be the next Film Club president, and at first I was shocked, but then I took the opportunity with full stride,” said Walsh. “Film Club to me is not only a fun and safe space to express your interest in film, but it’s also a place to make friends and get that spark of passion for film back.”

The Tin Pan Theater sponsors Film Club and tickets are free, but supporting the concession stand is always encouraged.

“I like that Film Club gives me a community to share my interest in films with others,” said Neubauer.

Film Club provides a unique opportunity for students to become more involved in movies. Members watch movies they might have never watched on their own, therefore expanding their film palette. The discussions go beyond surface level observations, and members expand on the themes of the film. Film Club members explore the true meaning behind the film and share their thoughts with others in the group discussion. It helps adapt analytical skills while also allowing members to view the creativity of the movie.

The future of Film Club is promising. Walsh intends to continue the monthly movie-watching meetings, but also shift the focus of Film Club to the production process and the art of cinematography, encouraging young filmmakers to join as well. 

“I thought it would be super rad activity to work on a short film as a club,” said Walsh. 

Even though the current members of Film Club, it lacks the members it needs to fully succeed. Any middle-schooler or high-schooler in Central Oregon is welcome to join. Walsh is trying to extend her advertising to social media, specifically Instagram (@bendstudentfilmclub), to hopefully recruit more film-enthusiasts to attend meetings. She is also aiming to hold the meetings more frequently.

“I saw the ad on Instagram, and I thought it looked fun, so I’m here,” said club member Andres Bahns.

Although Film Club’s numbers are small, it is a thriving community of aspiring film enthusiasts that puts emphasis on the importance of entertainment.