Under the direction of Aditya Tarle, the Filmmakers Club at Michigan State University is fostering the creative growth of young cinematic artists and technicians with hands-on experience.
Founded in the early 1980s by now famous filmmakers and brothers Sam and Ivan Raimi, the Filmmakers Club has spent the last 40 years facilitating the production of student films at MSU. It connects students with different filmmaking specialties to each other to help produce films.
At the beginning of the fall 2022 semester, Tarle became the president of the Filmmakers Club. As a mechanical engineering major with no minor in film, or any academic focus on film whatsoever, he seems an unlikely candidate for president of a club that centers around the filmmaking process.
Tarle does not view that as a problem. In fact, he does not see the job of president of the Filmmakers Club as one that requires hands-on experience.
“I see it less as a filmmaking job and more of a management job,” Tarle said. “I found that filmmaking has a lot of things where you need the right people and the right things at the right place at the right time. I saw that even if I couldn’t do the creative things I could help out with organizing, and I got better at it.”
Tarle has a list of goals he wants to accomplish as president of Filmmakers Club. One of them was to increase membership with the club and, more importantly, retain that membership.
“At the first meeting we had 60 or 70 people there. Naturally some people leave throughout the semester, but I feel like we were able to retain a lot of them,” he said.
By increasing club members, he has widened the pool of talent to allow multiple projects to be in production at once. Ethan Seelig is a filmmaker and a junior at MSU. He has been with the Filmmakers Club for just under a year.
“It used to be a club where we would talk about making movies as one big group,” Seelig said. “But that was sort of a turn off because everyone’s schedules can’t line up and we didn’t do much. This semester has been much better, there’s been more club attendance and more encouragement of getting people in the club together in smaller groups to make their own movies.”
The increased membership of the club is a significant step up from last year in terms of productivity as well. There are currently two films well into production whereas last semester there was only focus on one project that was never finished.
Brendan Conant is a sophomore at MSU and is currently directing a short film with the Filmmakers Club. He finds the club and its expanded membership to be invaluable as a young filmmaker.
“It takes a lot of people and resources to make movies. You’re going to have to pay out of pocket and do a lot of heavy work,” Conant said. “At the end of the day, if you can find a good community of people then you’ll never have to do it alone. That’s the biggest resource that filmmakers club can provide.”