Heard on Shirley Beth’s Way: Film Appreciation Program of Pace


The Film Appreciation Program at Pace meets every Friday at 8 p.m. to watch and discuss movies. The club tries to mix up the types of movies by selecting movies people haven’t seen or didn’t consider watching. Photo by James Miranda/The Pace Chronicle.

James Miranda, Sports Editor

The room was lit only by the 60-inch screen, the tables were lined with the vernacular of movie snacks like popcorn and Doritos, and rows of people were piled next to one another battling for arm room like a movie theater.

It wasn’t a movie theater; however, it was Pace’s Alumni Hall Classroom that was—and is for two hours every Friday night—transformed into a theater room for the Film Appreciation Program of Pace (FAPP).

The club began last semester, but its inception sprouted in Editing I of spring 2016 when President Eric Alonzo and Vice President Nick Aquilino bounced around the idea of a having a film club.

“I talked to Nick and because Nick is so passionate that he was down to [startup film club], but then he was like we need to find more individuals [who want to join],” said Alonzo, who got involved with filmmaking at 12-years-old when he used the iMovie app to make films of his family. ”I looked at individuals who were in my class and looked to people who were just interested in film in general, not having to be a film major, but maybe like communications or finance major. If you like doing films, so why not? Access to film is what I’m all about and if it literally changes your life, that’s what I like to advocate for.”

Most of summer was spent finding people who wanted to make the club happen, they filled up the required five E-Board members and eight-man roster, and began having meetings and movie screenings in fall 2016.

The club’s purpose isn’t just to watch films; rather, it’s to facilitate film discussions, the creative process of filmmaking, and expose audiences to films that they never thought of watching before such as Kiss Kiss Bang Bang or Spirited Away.

VP Nick Aquilino (left),  Alex Coma (center), and Senator Joseph Gonzalez (right) led a discussion on Fri., Feb. 24 before their screening of Spirited Away. Photo by James Miranda/The Pace Chronicle.

E-Board meetings are on Wednesdays where they plan out the upcoming Friday night and create a list of films they’ll have students vote on watching the succeeding week.

On Friday nights, the E-Board leads a discussion about the movie they will watch, but they have to vote on next week’s movie by showing three-to-four trailers of movies for students to blindly vote on.

“We try to pick movies that people either haven’t seen that are really fun and good; we try to pick stuff people really like,” said Aquilino, who used films as an escape growing up when his mother was sick. “Every once in a while, we’ll pick something weird or exotic, but for the most part, we try to cater to a large group of people.”

The formula is simple; perhaps too simple, however.

FAPP didn’t just want to watch movies, but produce and assist student-made films. Thus, spawning the idea of being more of a film production company that would provide students with a resource either for class or recreational films.

Aquilino and Alonzo both expressed that they wanted to do field trips to Jacob Burns and do more interactive events/projects early on, but they didn’t have the funding. Their budget for next semester was approved, however, and becoming more of a “production company” is their first expansive step.

“After I joined halfway through the first semester, we were like, ‘we can do something more,’” Senator Joseph Gonzalez said. “We want to get a bunch of people together to make a student film because a student film isn’t just one person with an idea, it’s one person with an idea being a leader to a huge group of people. If we can just help someone make that dream of their student film, whether it be the idea technique kind of thing or a full featured movie, we would love to help that.”

There are four student-made films in development through FAPP, which are scheduled to be complete and debut sometime this semester.

“I’m like really surprised, looking back, [being a production company] wasn’t our original goal, but now our goal is to give anybody access to film and educating them on certain aspects of film and certain types of film,” Alonzo said.