Filmmakers find outlet in Media Center

The Williams College Media Center is hard at work planning an exciting spring schedule for both Williams students and area residents.

The Media Center was founded last year to provide student access to film editing machines and a wide range of video equipment from camcorders to VCRs. Located on the third floor of Jesup Hall, the WCMC’s current mission is to train students to use their cache of new equipment. Soon the center will have many different programs and workshops to build interest and attract new filmmakers.

Their first event is a general interest meeting on Mar. 1, at 6:30p.m. for Willinet, the public access television. The meeting will address televsion filming and production. Willinet is looking for college students to develop fresh, new material from the youth perspective for production in their well-equipped but under-utilized studios.

The WCMC is planning to hold many more workshops over the first two weeks after spring break to train aspiring filmmakers. Eager to share their wealth of knowledge and break in their wares, WCMC staffers will be giving Ephs a chance to film their own brief movies and then edit and develop the film. Without charge, students will be able to get a breadth of experience using a variety of machines.

After all future Martin Scorseses will be introduced to the craft, the center plans a filmmaking festival. For the competition, contestants will be given filming and editing parameters within which they are to make the most entertaining short flick, as judged by both critics and a student audience.

The Media Center is also building awareness of film production in general by bringing celebrity speakers from the media and broadcasting fields to address general audiences. Their last speaker was renowned actor, writer and filmmaker George Plimpton, who spoke about documentaries and his role in When We Were Kings. A Sports Illustrated boxing writer at the time, Plimpton played a large part in creating the content of the Oscar-winning documentary about “The Rumble in the Jungle” between George Foreman and Mohammed Ali.

According to WCMC Executive Director James Kossuth, “Plimpton was a great speaker due to his wide range of works and many fields of expertise.” Fresh off this success, Kossuth says the center intends to “bring in more speakers from all aspects of media.” A lecture subcommittee has been formed to handle the task, and hopes to attract James L. Brooks from the cult Fox cartoon series The Simpsons in the near future to speak about life in television.

Another of the WCMC’s projects is the taping of campus events for broadcast throughout the area on Willinet so that anyone unable to attend an event in person will be able to watch the taped version at a later date. Most recently the Media Center taped the Plimpton speech and the Mar. 2 debate on the nation’s commitment to public education, featuring former White House Chief of Staff John Sununu and longtime Executive Director of the NAACP Dr. Benjamin Hooks.

Though the schedule for the Media Center’s future workshops is still tentative as logistics are worked out, their goal is to be open and available for anyone with an interest in film.