Films bring us together. My fondest memories of childhood involve sitting on my couch, sandwiched between my mother and my grandmother watching old MGM musicals, stylized horror films, romantic comedies from the ‘50s and big budget studio fare.
When I talk to my mother about her early experiences with film, a dreamy look comes across her face as she describes her father letting her skip school to see a new film just out, her high school dates taking her to the drive-in, her big brother teasing her with monster movie figurines and images.
Films punctuate our lives. They allow us to relive the past, to escape into the future, to live our dreams and chase the stars. Films bring the impossible to life.
We here at the Trent Film Society want to take you on a journey every Wednesday. We carefully choose films to screen; our favourite films that have touched our lives, forgotten treasures that history left behind and independent productions ignored by mainstream audiences. Films that are relevant to our experiences as students, as educators, as dreamers, as lovers, as activists, as rebels, as cinephiles. Films tell our stories and together, we are writing the greatest tale ever told.
Tumelo Drametu, co-director of the Trent Film Society, on why movies are important:
Movies are like magic. The ways in which they are able to elicit such strong reactions out of their audience and immerse them in whatever world that they are creating is like the work of magicians in my mind.
It may sound childish, but much of the amazement and wonder that I got out of watching films as a child, I still get to this day, as an adult.
As a kid, what amazed me about films was the ability to be able to represent whatever the imagination of the filmmaker was wild enough to come up with. Whether it was seeing the X-wings dogfight their way through tie-fighters in a valiant attempt to destroy the malevolent Death Star, or having Spider-Man deter the colossal strength of an oncoming subway train with nothing but his webs and sheer might.
To me, movies represented the idea that no matter what wild idea I thought of in my head, it could be put on a screen for people to see.
It wasn’t only the idea that you could project your wildest fantasies onto a visual medium, but it was also the fact that people would wilfully join, watch and enjoy being immersed in a storyteller’s imagination.
The connectivity between the audiences, and of the filmmaker, cast and crew as well, that film created was beautiful and it made me love going to film screenings whenever I could.
However, as I have aged I have found that I have begun to gain awe from the ways in which films are also able to show us a perspective of the world which we’ve never experienced.
While I still have immense love for the imaginative aspects of film storytelling, I have found that my love for the medium has broadened and I have become much more appreciative of its more grounded abilities in providing voices for those who may feel marginalized or disregarded.
I find amazement in the way people are able to share the same cinematic language, regardless of cultural background, and use that language to tell their own stories with their own un-bastardized perspectives.
While it may seem that my focus on different aspects of film may change over the years, the main aspect of why I love cinema, has always, and will always, stayed the same: it gives one the ability to have their voice heard.
This, to me and to TFS, is why cinema is important.
It helps us understand the different lives other people live, the different forms of humour they may have, or the different modes of storytelling they may utilize to express themselves, and we at TFS acknowledge that aspect and celebrate it through our catalogue of films that we screen.
As long as cinema gives a voice to people to tell their stories, TFS will continue to find diverse selections of films that may educate, entertain and maybe even inspire those who join us in our viewings.
Alex Karas, co-director of the Trent Film Society, on why movies are important:
Film has always been an important part of my life.
Although I’ve never considered a career in the visual arts or formally studied it, film has always been one of my favourite hobbies from an early age and some of my fondest memories from childhood are of watching movies (VHS, in the good old days) with my brothers and parents.
My father routinely took us to the video store back when those still existed and allowed my brothers and I to rent pretty much anything we wanted that wasn’t R-rated (although we still got to watch a few of those at home anyway)!
Although his tastes were more on the action-packed end of things, the one film that I can really credit for inspiring a lifelong love of cinema in me is one that’s suddenly become cool again – Star Wars.
It might be a cliché, but one campy science fiction movie from the 1970s made largely in some guy’s basement in California first introduced me to the idea of the archetypes that permeate all of fiction and was a gateway to numerous other genres including science fiction, fantasy, war, Westerns and martial arts movies.
The work that Trent Film Society does has always been important to me.
Although we have a fairly spiffy cinema in downtown Peterborough, the selection there is not the best and many great films that other cities get to see are never screened here.
In my teenage years, there was Cinema 375 on Hunter Street, but it always struggled to stay afloat and eventually closed. Since then, TFS has largely been the only organization in the city that routinely shows lesser-known movies.
In my years before coming to Trent and my first year there, I was a regular attendee of TFS screenings, and my friends and I always enjoyed the chance to see legendary and original films that wouldn’t be shown on television.
Since starting at TFS in April 2014, I’ve had the chance to show several of my own favourites and greatly enjoyed the discussion from the audience afterward. Not everyone likes everything that we do, but there are a lot of people and you can’t please everyone.
What we try to do is provide a diverse selection so that there is hopefully something for everyone.