Club Spotlight: Hofstra Filmmakers Club
Hofstra Filmmakers Club (HFC) is led entirely by women this year, a first for the club. The current e-board includes President Cassie Passantino, a junior film major; Vice President Nina Bangalore, a senior film major; Treasurer Sabrina Zapata, a senior film major; and Secretary Victoria Mickens, a senior journalism major.
“[It] wasn’t intentionally designed to be an all-female e-board,” Passantino, the club’s second female president, said. “I nominated both guys and girls for positions; it just fell this way. It didn’t even dawn on me right away that we had an all-female e-board until someone said it.”
Passantino added that they try not to draw attention to the fact. “If we were like, ‘We’re an all-women e-board,’ we [would] end up ostracizing other people,” she said.
The film industry is notorious for being dominated by men. According to the annual Celluloid Ceiling Report put out by San Diego State University, which tracks women’s employment in top-grossing films, only 18 percent of women made up all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors and cinematographers working on the top 250 domestic grossing films.
The e-board agrees that women need to make inroads in the industry. “We want to make it a normal thing,” Passantino said. “It’s not a completely obscure concept to have four women in charge of a film club. We’re a group of girls, all different years, all different backgrounds from all over the place; it’s a very well-rounded team.”
HFC has a 12-person e-board made up of the four SGA-recognized positions that are voted on each year, as well as eight other positions that are passed down at the end of the spring semester including pre-production, production, post-production positions, fun police and festival coordinators.
Most of the club is made up of film majors, but that’s not a requirement to join.
“We’re trying to make it more diverse in an attempt to make a more comfortable environment for people to come in and feel like they’re welcome and [that they’re] capable of doing things in the club and outside of the club,” Zapata said.
“[The members] don’t have to be just directors or screenwriters, if you want to act you can come, if you watch Netflix you can come, if you appreciate film in any way you can come,” Mickens said.
This semester, HFC is focused on maintaining membership retention and looking to freshmen for new blood. The board members hand out name tags at every Thursday meeting to encourage people to get to know one another and make friends.
“Freshman are always so ambitious, where they want to get involved right off the bat,” Passantino said. “Especially when you come into a major like film, we’re making connections, making friends, getting on shoots and helping people out.”
“I joined a couple weeks ago. I enjoy the different activities we get to do including the 10-minute screenplays, getting into groups and making two-minute short films. Also, having people who share the same interests and have different ideas, we can collaborate together on productions,” said Matthew Mayer, a freshman film major
Furthermore, the club has expanded its opportunities outside of the film department. HFC has been tasked with filming the Hofstra fashion show and has a partnership with the basketball team to create all new video board content.
“The [Lawrence Herbert] School of Communication is a community in itself, but we really want to bring together the Hofstra community as well,” Bangalore said.
Passantino is optimistic about the club’s future. “We had a rough year last year,” she said. “We started out with no real members, no updated constitution and no budget, so we’re starting from the ground up right now and rebuilding.”