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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Aggie SWAMP hosts annual festival, uses film for expression

Picture it – a line of well-dressed college women, standing as they giggle over a bachelor in a suit, rose in hand. Now, the image quickly cuts to the same girls, outfitted for battle and out for blood. “The Bachelor Games,” Aggie SWAMP Club’s recently released film, combines the hit television show “The Bachelor”and the popular book-turned-movie series “The Hunger Games” in a quirky piece that exemplifies the work of the club.
The Aggie SWAMP Club, or Screen Writing, Acting and Movie Producing Club, creates an average of five films every semester that are directly related to the club, with many more being made by affiliated members who are able to gain insight and assistance from the organization.
“That’s a big thing in our meetings,” said Melissa Neybert, junior telecommunication media studies major and vice president of the club. “Anyone who has a project can stand up and talk about it. They could just have an idea or a script, and just need actors or a crew, and that’s where SWAMP comes in.”
Neybert said the club meetings, which are open to the public, help educate aspiring filmmakers with information sessions from guest speakers and in workshops for anyone who cannot attend the meetings. SWAMP involves people interested in all aspects of film and with all levels of expertise.
SWAMP has worked hard to cross boundaries between the university and the surrounding community.
“You don’t necessarily have to be an Aggie to join,” said Martin Hinojosa, senior telecommunications media studies major. “So it’s more of a coalition or network of people interested in filmmaking.”
This Saturday, Aggie SWAMP will help coordinate the Texas Independent Film Festival, an annual student-run event held in College Station. The event will feature two days of viewings, including a feature length film and various shorts made by students and other filmmakers. The event will also include Q&A sessions with moviemakers.
“We really hope that it draws many different people,” said Hayley Ellisor, junior English literature major and president of the club. “We hope people come out to see the different stories from all the filmmakers.”
Ellisor said the club has worked hard the entire year to make the festival a possibility, beginning preparations in the fall.
She noted that the club serves an important role in members’ lives, creating an outlet for students to not only have fun, but to truly speak.
“I feel like it is quite serious sometimes with film, and how much film can do,” Ellisor said.
Members of the club have been able to build on their experiences in the club, and some members have gone on to work in the film industry independently, for festivals such as the Cannes Film Festival, and also for well-known corporations like Dreamworks.
In the end, Ellisor said the club is truly focused on developing the creative potential of members, whatever that looks like for them.
“I think it’s just great to hear people to tell their stories,” Neybert said.
Aggie SWAMP club will host their annual event, Texas Independent Film Festival, on April 19th and 20th in the Ray Auditorium at the Wehner Building. Costs vary based on day. More information can be found online at txfilmfest.com.

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