By Drew Stuart
Since the student filmmaking program KVIK ended last year, student filmmakers continue to pursue their passion, even with the absence of a film major.
In spring 2017, the student filmmaking program KVIK was cut from the Associated Students budget. KVIK was restructured, and the two paid student positions were reincorporated into the AS Communications Office in fall 2017. Now, in 2018, there is no more KVIK.
KVIK’s end was not well received by Western’s student body. An article announcing the end of KVIK in The Western Front sparked several Western alumni and former KVIK members to express their frustrations on Facebook, sharing the article over 80 times.
Jeff Bates, publicity center coordinator for the AS, said in a recent email that the decision was a practical move.
“The work KVIK produced during their last couple years was not receiving strong attendance, and matched AS Club activities more than an AS Program,” Bates said
KVIK’s focus had shifted to independent student projects, and as such, should be reorganized into a club, he said.
Bates explained the AS used the KVIK funding for AS Communications, supporting several programs there instead of KVIK. The students involved in KVIK productions then could organize themselves into clubs.
That’s what happened. The sketch comedy group “SHOW! The Show,” formerly produced through KVIK, exists today as an AS Club. However, productions like “The Mix,” a show that documented live music, no longer exists.
For those interested in film, the WWU Film Production Club is their only outlet for collaborative filmmaking.
Rory Reshovsky, a leading member of the club, shed light on the differences between KVIK and the club.
“As far as projects go, this club is a networking opportunity, and that’s it,” Reshovsky said.
Reshovsky said the Film Production Club doesn’t produce any films for the club itself. Rather, it’s a way to meet people who share a passion for film, and need fellow film enthusiasts to help with their projects.
While the club is certainly a networking opportunity, the actual meetings themselves focus on educational topics related to film, and hands-on demonstrations of equipments, techniques and shots. Reshovsky himself has a hand in lecturing to club members about different filmmaking techniques.
Things have changed since KVIK ended. Many of the privileges that came with KVIK, such as preference from ATUS for film equipment, are gone. However, many club members have their own personal equipment, and are willing share what they have with others.
“So far, it hasn’t been a problem,” Reshovsky said.
However, the stylings of a club aren’t well suited to filmmaking itself, according to Reshovsky.
“For most clubs, it’s fine to schedule an hour long meeting every week,” Reshovsky said. “But for making a film, you can’t do that. You have to have people commit to a whole evening.”
The Film Production Club allows students to pursue their own film projects, but with less official support from the AS. The shift in focus away from AS produced shows is one of the reasons that KVIK was ended.
“Participation was waning when the AS Board voted to close the program, and interest in self-directed personal projects was growing,” Bates said.
Nevertheless, student passion for film is still visible at Western, and not just through the film club. Last October, a Western student started a Change.org petition for a film major, gaining over 400 signatures total.
Luke Vigil, president of the WWU Film Production Club, said that a full-blown film major would be a welcome addition to Western.
“It’s something I would be interested in,” Vigil said.
Western currently offers a film studies minor, but the program has more to do with teaching film history than filmmaking. If a student wants to study filmmaking at Western, they’d need to design their major through the Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies.
Bates said he would love to see a film major at Western, but it’d be difficult to get one.
“That’s a difficult ask, particularly when there are a number of important academic programs all competing for a limited amount of funding,” Bates said.
Still, the pieces already seem to be in place. Reshovsky said Western already has a strong interest in liberal studies like theater and writing, and a film major would allow for overlap between different fields of study.
“The only thing missing from the film program is the actual hands-on instruction,” Vigil said.
The WWU Film Production Club meets every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in Bond Hall 110.
Updated March 8 to reflect that KVIK was cut from the AS budget in spring, instead of just in 2017.