Reel Action club focuses on real problems

While sitting back and taking big bites from slices of pizza with like-minded friends, Reel Action Club members last week relived the gruesome images of September 11, 2001 with the screening of ‘Hijacking Catastrophe.’ ‘Hijacking Catastrophe,’ an independent film about American foreign policy and mainstream news media in the aftermath of Sept. 11, was the first film screened this semester by the socially conscious club, which promotes social activism and awareness by showing monthly screenings of independent films that support the same agenda.

Reel Action Castleton is a local chapter of the Action Coalition For Media Education consisting of chapters in high schools, colleges and universities all over the nation

The club was started after its catalyst, Sanjukta Ghosh, professor of communications and women’s studies, attended an ACME conference at Green Mountain College. Also, during her time teaching at the University of Vermont, Ghosh said she was amazed by the involvement of students in their local ACME chapter.

“They were feisty, full of energy and their fire inside was infectious,” she said. “I want CSC to be a campus where learning and social activism and political engagement is fashionable.”

The club initially began in fall of 2005 by students from Ghosh’s International Communication class and quickly grew in popularity. At the end of its first year as a club, it was awarded Best New Club 2006 and Best Club 2006 by the Student Association.

First-year member member Eric Kapitan believes the club is an ideal group for his views.

“I have an interest in social issues and I try to respect everybody’s opinion, but I’m not radical,” said Kapitan. “The club should have a culmination of all opinions and it shouldn’t be biased.”

A misconception of the club, according to Ghosh, is that it just shows films about politics and government. She said the club has shown films like Supersize Me, which is about fast food, and End Of Suburbia, a critical look at American Suburbs.

Current Club President Catalina Alcaraz, a junior at Castleton, says she hopes the club will show that “being socially committed is not a bad thing.” She said she believes the club offers an alternative to the massive influence of mainstream films.

“I didn’t like the movies that the Student Association was showing. They only had mainstream films and no independent ones,” said Alcaraz. “Plus we always make sure there is good food.”

Future plans for the club include hosting a film festival showing students’ activism films and getting voter registration booths at film screenings. Alcaraz is very optimistic about future screenings for the club and said she believes in diversity.

“The spectrum is real big and we can talk about anything,” said Alcaraz.