When Savannah Rodgers was 12 years old, she watched the movie “Chasing Amy” and immediately fell in love with film. In that moment, she realized she could turn her love of film into a career, and today, her goal is well within reach.

Rodgers, a sophomore from Olathe, recently restarted KU Filmworks, a student film organization at the University. Rodgers’ inspiration to restart the group came from her passions for producing film and helping others. Filmworks was originally created in 1999, but has been closed for the past two years due to a lack of membership. Recently, however, Rodgers has been able to revive the program with the help of Mason Kilpatrick, a junior from Hutchinson, and Becca Huerter, a junior from Chanute.

“When I was a freshman I had no idea where to go to get involved in film production,” Rodgers said. “I think bringing back Filmworks will be a great opportunity for students who are looking for a place to hone their craft.”

In past years, Filmworks has created multiple short films, a web series and a feature length movie. Rodgers said this year’s group hopes to follow in the footsteps of past groups by creating films that are interesting and enjoyable. Kilpatrick said the group is also planning on producing promotional videos for local businesses and University organizations.

“One of my goals before leaving school is to make KU better,” Rodgers said. “I want to leave the place better than I found it and I’m hoping to accomplish that with Filmworks.”

Rodgers said this group is important to her because it gives her a chance to step out of her comfort zone and participate in something she loves. She said Filmworks has created endless opportunities for her, and she wants to provide those same opportunities for other students.

One of the main semester goals for the group is to get as many students as possible involved in the organization. Jacobson said in past years, Filmworks has had as many has 100 members, but at the moment they have about 12.

Filmworks faculty advisor Matt Jacobson said the revamping of Filmworks has been a tiresome process, but once the group begins producing films, all the hard work will have paid off. Jacobson said the only reason the group is able to function is because of each member’s passion and dedication to film. 

“Filmmaking always works best when it is a collaborative project, and that is what Filmworks does best,” Jacobson said.

Jacobson said Filmworks allows students to gain real world experience in film writing and production, and it helps them prepare for a future in a difficult industry. One former member of Filmworks, Chris Martin, won an Emmy for his work on the television series “Heroes.”

Much like Rodgers, Kilpatrick’s love for film began at a young age. Kilpatrick said in grade school he took part in school plays and in middle school he decided he wanted to write and produce films for a career. He said Filmworks has allowed him to pursue his goals by providing him with the tools and resources he can’t get in the classroom.

“Not only is this my work, this is my passion and my hobby,” Kilpatrick said. “I feel like I am nowhere near where I can be in terms of potential and skill, and I want to strive for that through Filmworks.”

— Edited by Jordan Fox

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