Staying inspired through film


The board members of Scene One Film Club, a club that provides El Camino College students an introduction to networking and the film industry meet during a zoom meeting. From top row left, Martin Gonzalez, Director of Tech, Keala Fitisemanu, Treasurer and bottom row from left, Michael Prieto, President and Hailee Pitschke, ICC Rep. Prieto and the other board members of the film club including Martin Gonzalez encourage students who are interested in filmmaking to join their club and keep their club open to students of all majors. Photo by Safia Ahmed/The Union Photo credit: Safia Ahmed

Scene One Film Club is a club designed for students, filmmakers and people who enjoy film. The club saw the pandemic as an opportunity to create more films to help aid the world’s recovery from COVID-19.

Michael Prieto, a 21-year-old ECC student residing in Lennox, works as a production assistant and is the president of Scene One Film Club.

“As of right now, I am required to get the meetings organizing and leading the meetings. There’s not really much else I had to do extensive wise,” Prieto said.

Prieto and the other board members of the film club, including Martin Gonzalez, encourage students who are interested in filmmaking to join their club and keep their club open to students of all majors.

Gonzalez, an ECC student who resides in Los Angeles, is the director of technology for the club, overseeing film club equipment made available to rent out for club members.

“One of the best options the schools offer for students is the ability to jump in and learn how to make films and get involved in the process,” Gonzales said.

Another ECC student, Keala Fitisemanu, resides in Torrance and is the club’s treasurer, requiring her to be in charge of the budget list and monitoring where club funds go. Fitisemanu is also influential in encouraging students to join.

“We all contribute to the club meetings and making a fun safe environment for students to learn and have a group of friends to go to,” Fitisemanu said.

The pandemic has affected various responsibilities for the Scene One Film Club, including networking and the careful considerations taken for filmmaking.

“Scene One Film Club is a hub for students that offers a kickstart for networking. When people join our club on Discord, we offer roles that people would like to put themselves in,” Prieto said. “Things have gotten back to normal in terms of filmmaking. There definitely is a huge checkpoint you have to go to including vaccination checking or COVID tests.”

Gonzalez said it’s necessary to take precautions when making short films.

“You got to make sure everyone is tested negative, wearing masks and social distancing,” Gonzalez said.

Fitisemanu says that the pandemic has forced filmmakers to balance safety with artistry.

“The pandemic has allowed people to come together in a way and build a community through social media and films,” says Fitisemanu. “We can find common ground through stories which are really awesome.”

When discussing the roles that films play, Prieto said that films serve as a distraction for people to forget about what’s going on in the world around them.

“Films can also serve as a reminder that we can move past these [unprecedented] times,” Prieto said.

Gonzalez agrees with Prietos’ point of view, saying that the pandemic has made accessing movies more easy and simple.

“Nowadays, movies can be streamed online. Through streaming movies, we can save lives,” Gonzalez said.

Due to the pandemic, some of the board members weren’t met with the opportunity to meet club members and host in-person events.

“Films would bring people together and form a community once things go back to normal. We’d be able to come back in person and films would help the flow of being comfortable around people and being face to face rather than the online setting,” Fitisemanu said.

Although not in person, the Film Club officers believe being involved in the film industry as an actor, producer or director is essential.

“Film itself is a perfect platform for these roles to shine. For directional work and actor work, they really bring those stories to life. Film is a really good platform to share stories about people who have been marginalized in the past and the daily struggles we face,” Gonzalez said.

Fitisemanu said that these roles play a crucial role in storytelling and uplifting voices. She says films have led to learning opportunities in a variety of ways.

“It’s a privilege to be able to share lessons and stories with everyone visually and it’s interesting to see how people interpret it. It gives people to talk about taboos or things that make people uncomfortable. I think that’s what keeps the world going around and builds unity,” Fitisemanu said.

The club aims to tell a number of stories through its films and makes an effort to avoid repeating themes.

“I really like to hold my inspiration to my sleeves. I am a huge fan of music and satire so I try to incorporate that in my films,” Prieto said.

Each member of the club’s board has a unique viewpoint on what they would want to see reflected in their films.

“Tackling stories on the personal level and showing what struggles people go through is something I am very interested in producing,” Gonzalez said.

Fitisemanu hopes to add perspective through her films and encourage others to help people who are struggling.

“My passion behind making films is to make people feel that they’re not alone in what they are going through and help people understand and be grateful to their lives,” says Fitisemanu. “Being a part of thought-provoking films that inspire people to make positive changes in the world.”

The club attracts a wide array of people, such as Hailee Pitschke, a 19-year-old student and an ICC Representative of the Scene One Film Club. Pitschke is not a filmmaker nor has she made films, however, Pitschke finds films interesting to analyze.

“Media literacy is so important and is something that is so underrated. I like looking at projects that have the nuance that takes on worldwide issues and I think that films have a good take on that,” Pitschke said.

Scene One Film Club’s board members strive to advance their professions by utilizing the resources provided by the club.

The club is planning on hosting a film festival that will be taking place on Friday, May 29, 2022. More information regarding the film festival will be posted on the Scene One Film Club’s Instagram page.