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Film Groups and Societies

Student Film and Media Groups at Southampton
Whether you're interested in writing, filmmaking, TV or just watching films, there's a society at Southampton for you to get involved with. Many of our Film students are taking the lead in these groups, and as these four profiles they have written indicate, they offer great opportunities to socialise as you learn and develop new skills, enhancing both your University experience and your employability.

The Edge
The Edge is an entertainment magazine written by and for students. It functions both as a print publication and an online website and provides its readers with informed and opinionated reviews, news articles and comment pieces on cinema, music, television, books, live events (both local and national) and comedy. It was originally published as a supplement of the Wessex Scene, the University of Southampton's student newspaper, but in the autumn of 2011 it became a separate publication in its own right. It can be found in various places around campus, such as the Student Union.

I am the Film Editor of The Edge, and part of my job is to encourage students to write reviews and articles about film for both the website and the magazine. We publish reviews of both new cinema releases (although competition for big-name releases can be fierce!) and films from past years, which are published under our ‘Archive' section. Sometimes our reviews can be controversial (my 2 star rating of Avengers Assemble caused a bit of a stir), but we see the resulting discussions as positive, and welcome different opinions to be shared in our reader's comments.

I have recently launched a new article series called ‘Film Comment' which is designed to inspire writers to write interesting and critical pieces that address topical debates that are currently being held in the world of film. Recent articles have included a piece on Batman villains, and another on the subject of the use of violence towards children in horror movies.

The Edge has also established relationships with major film companies, such as Universal Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros. Pictures, and Lionsgate.

I would advise anyone who would like to pursue a career in entertainment journalism to get involved. Experience is one of the key things employers look for in aspiring critics, and The Edge offers a professional environment for young journalists to develop their skills. We welcome new writers and are in particular need of film reviewers, so do join our Facebook writers' group if you are interested.

To find out more, visit The Edge or click on the logo.

Writers' Group: http://www.facebook.com/groups/263972663715974/

Barnaby Walter, BA Film and English (2010-13) 

SUSUtv
SUSUtv is one of four media departments within the Students' Union, and has been something of an undiscovered gem for humanities students since its beginnings in 2006. The station is free to join, and offers members the chance to produce, direct, edit, and even star in their own original programming. Covering genres such as news, sport, comedy and drama, as well as the annual Live Elections Broadcast, which in 2011 hit 10,000 online viewers, SUSUtv is the perfect place to experience the excitement of working in the media industry.

Over recent years, SUSUtv have picked up four National Student Television Association Awards and three high commendations, and were nominated for a Guardian Student Media Award for 'Best Website'. In 2012, dozens of Humanities students helped create 'A Game Of Sport', an ambitious period drama filmed on location in Hampshire and Bath. The project was written by Jamie Chadd, Film & English student and SUSUtv Assistant Manager, highlighting the possibilities for budding screenwriters within the station.

I feel it is absolutely vital to seek involvement in extra-curricular activities whilst at university, and SUSUtv provides the perfect compliment to a film degree. On graduating this year, I left Southampton with a respected Humanities degree, combined with a host of skills and experiences taken from my time in student television. I met many of my best friends within the station, and was able to encourage people from Film to get involved as well. The best thing about SUSUtv is that it is a place for all ability levels. No matter what experience you may or may not have, within just a year at SUSUtv you will have a wealth of experience that will open doors to an incredible industry.

To find out more, visit SUSUtv or click on the logo.

Dom was SUSUtv Station Manager 2011-12, Head of Production 2010-11. He is now a Graduate Producer at Perform Group.

Union Films
If you are reading this, I think it is fair to assume that film is your ‘bag' and that you are seriously considering studying film at degree level at Southampton. Although it may appear to be something of a busman's holiday, Union Films offers students of all disciplines the unique opportunity to run SUSU's on-campus 300 seat cinema. As a student volunteer, you could be involved in every aspect of the day to day running of a busy cinema, from promotion and marketing, to film projection, alongside front of house duties such as ticket sales and retailing popcorn and drinks.

For the Film student, there are the obvious benefits of experiencing the practical aspects of cinema exhibition, not least of which is the unique opportunity to learn the art of classic 35mm film projection. Union Films also has a weekly slot on Surge radio, so you could well end up hosting your own radio show! Although we specialise in the latest Hollywood blockbusters, Union Films also hosts weekly screenings of foreign language and art-house films through the Phoenix Society, and has also hosted the world premiere of the Gemma Arterton thriller The Disappearance of Alice Creed (2009). As a volunteer, you will get the chance to oversee what is in effect a small business venture, and in an increasingly competitive jobs market, the business skills you acquire will greatly enhance your employment opportunities.

Union Films is not all hard work, and having spent three years as part of this energetic band of volunteers, both as Treasurer and Deputy Front of House Manager, I can safely say that the experience is every Film students' dream come true. We get to select the films we show, organise special events (including Halloween themed all-nighters and outdoor screenings), and there is a real camaraderie among the volunteers. Our office is always a hub of activity, and we enjoy frequent pub nights, when we talk film and much more!

To find out more visit the Union Films website or click on the logo.

Ben Desmond, BA Film and History (2008-11),
and MA in Film and Cultural Management (2011-12).

Wessex Films
Wessex Films is a society dedicated to promoting an active filmmaking culture in Southampton. Our primary goal is to facilitate the production of short films, providing students with the opportunity, equipment and education to produce their own projects. On a weekly basis we function as a film school, hosting theoretical lessons and practical workshops throughout the academic year.
 
Wessex Films serves as the perfect complement to one of the best academic film courses in the country, Southampton's Film Studies. Students are able to pursue their practical desires outside the confines of set modular requirements that restrict other University courses.
 
In 2011 we won our first international award, winning ‘Best British Student Film' at a film festival in California. That same year we won a National Student Television Award for Best Drama - for a film we made in conjunction with Southampton's SUSU.TV - and received our first credit as a producer on www.imdb.com. In 2012 a second joint effort with SUSU.TV won an Excellence in Volunteering Award for ‘Best Collaboration'.
 
Students with a love of film production can gain practical experience, network and build up their own portfolio to help them pursue a job in the industry. Our equipment is free to borrow and some students have even been able to help pay for their degrees by doing freelance videography in their spare time.
 
Wessex Films gives you the opportunity to make Southampton a real stepping-stone into the Film and Television industries. One Wessex Films alumna, Emma Kinni, has recently finished production on her first feature film whilst myself, Dominic Ellis, and William Kee (a Philosophy student) have gone on to start our own production company, Soho Video, recently working with Brit Award winning ‘Blake' and Festival Republic's Reading and Leeds festivals.
 
If you're just looking for something fun to pass the time, it's equally a great place to expand your social circle, learn something new and have a go at making your own films.
 
To find out more visit the Wessex films website or click on the logo.

www.facebook.com/groups/soton.filmmakers

Dominic Ellis, Film and English (2009-12).
Dominic was the Wessex Films President for two years.

The Edge SUSU
Union Films
SUSU TV
Wessex Films
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