Photo courtesy of The Chaparral. Owain Wilcox (left), Jordan Klotz, Asia Bridges-Aleman, Marvin Garcia and Jose Verdejo.
College of the Desert film students recently started a film club to complement the school’s expanding film and media program. In the upcoming spring 2019 semester, COD will have a fully-functioning film club. Students who are both studying film or just interested in expanding their creativity will soon have more opportunities.
Instructor Vincent Sassone, who teaches many of the film courses will serve as an adviser to the club. Sassone has developed curriculum and film certificates that will help students get jobs in the industry. COD student Asia Bridges-Aleman, will be president and leading mentor and co-founder of the club is Jose Verdejo.
The process of starting the club for COD was a two-way street between the students and Sassone. “Students were interested in starting a club; I was interested in helping them create one that would work at both extending their film production education outside of the classroom in more independent conditions and in producing public screenings, workshops, discussions and similar film oriented events,” said Sassone. He hopes the club will allow students to increase their appreciation of film, filmmaking and filmmakers and help generate more independent work and learning.
Leading mentor and acting president, Asia Bridges-Aleman, decided to join the club because of Sassone’s work ethic, “I was a crasher in the first course for the film program and I immediately admired the work ethic he aligned us with and how passionate he was about the filming process.” Some of her duties as acting president are to coordinate the film festival. “My job is to facilitate the lovely Film Festival Dec. 10, at the Pollock Theater for everyone here on campus. Second, which is my favorite, is to advise and mentor the students in the film program,” said Bridges-Aleman.
Jose Verdejo, the co-founder of the club, was very interested in expanding the program. “At the beginning of this semester, the idea of the film club went from having film screening sessions for students and talk about the film, to actually being involved in the filmmaking process,” said Verdejo. The students hope to create short promotional videos for the college and other businesses and organizations in the valley. “We want COD students to help by creating professional productions that they can use for that purpose,” Verdejo said. “I just wanted to be involved in creating something that I know is going to bring a lot of good to both sides, and I feel compelled to give back to this community that has given me so much in the few years that I’ve been living in this country.”
Verdejo and Bridges-Alema will also be in charge of organizing the teams that work on these projects. They will help with connecting students with working opportunities in local film festivals which include Palm Springs International Film Festival, PS Short Film Fest and American Documentary Film Festival. “Finally, and most importantly, we will organize our own Roadrunner Film Festival every semester to showcase the projects that Film students from COD have been working on throughout the semester,” Verdejo said.
The film program will hold its 2018 film festival Dec. 10 at the Pollock Theater. A red carpet event will start at 7:30 p.m. and the film showing begins at 8 p.m. The event will be broadcast live on Facebook @CODfilmgroup. The majority of the film classes will be held at the West Valley campus in Palm Spring in the spring 2019 semester. The film and media program will be one of the main pillars of the new campus when construction is complete.