The Mountain Hawk Film Productions club films a clip for one of their short films they make semesterly. The club is a Lehigh organization for students who love film and want to watch movies, as well as create their own. (Courtesy of Mountain Hawk Film Productions club)

Film club educates students on movies and production


The Mountain Hawk Film Productions club is an organization for film-lovers to share their passion for movies. 

The club features weekly movie screenings as well as a collaborative effort to produce a short film each semester. 

Students choose a film to watch each week and they pay close attention to the camera angles, film techniques and dialogue. The goal is for club members to learn from professional films and improve their own skills. 

Laura Ott, ‘21, the club’s president, said while film screenings are a way to relax and spend time with friends, members also take part in a post-movie discussion and share insights with each other. 

“The screenings are a source of inspiration and give us ideas for our own films,” Ott said. “We definitely watch the movies through a filmmaker’s lens.”

Ott said the film screenings put students in a shared headspace to think and reflect on their own work as writers, editors and videographers. The movie discussions spark creativity among the club’s members, she said. 

Ott said in addition to movie screenings, members work throughout the semester to produce a short film by brainstorming a plot, writing a screenplay and casting actors to bring ideas to life. 

Matthew McClain, ‘21, the vice president of the club, takes a leadership role in writing scripts. He said he integrates ideas from his peers along with his own and creates the backbone of the project. 

“The writing process sometimes takes months,” McClain said. “But it is worth it once we create a script we’re all proud of.”

Club members then hold acting auditions and scout out talent for each role. Actors are chosen and the filmmaking process begins, McClain said.

Ariel Ranker, ‘22, is an actress who has been cast in two of the club’s film productions. She starred in “Club Club,” a film about college students who start a fake club in order to collect funding from the school. 

Ranker said she made several friends in each production and that the environment was friendly and relaxed. She said the club keeps its group messages alive by sending memes back and forth. 

Another film, “Zolaf,” is a spoof that takes digs at Lafayette’s mediocrity compared to Lehigh. The film takes on an infographic style and cleverly mocks the Easton college, comparing the school to a prescription drug that causes a myriad of side effects, Ott said. 

McClain said their most recent film, “Please Hold,” is the one he is most proud of, as he saw a jump in his skills as both a writer and filmmaker. 

McClain said no prior experience is required in order to join. While it may help to have a background in videography or editing, it is not required for participation. Students from all different skill levels learn as they go. 

“We need people who are strong writers, filmmakers, editors or are just creative in general,” McClain said. “You don’t need to have any background knowledge, just have a passion for film.” 

While COVID-19 has been a hindrance to group activities, the members are still determined to keep the club running. Virtual movie screenings are being held, and the group is planning an outdoor socially distanced movie screening.

Ott said students are still aiming to produce a film this semester and members are writing the scripts in a way that eliminates big gatherings from the plotline. Students are filming scenes wherever they may be while editing the content in a way that flows with the storyline. 

All members of the club are eager to get back into the swing of things and hope other students who are passionate about film reach out and consider joining. 

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