Movie Camera Movement elects first female president

By Tahereh Rahimi, Staff Reporter

The first female president has been elected to Movie Camera Movement Organization since its formation almost a decade ago.

Victoria Kuball, a senior double majoring in Cinema and Photography and Radio, Television and Digital Media, was elected as the new president of MCM in May.

Antonio Martinez, the faculty advisor of the organization and an associate professor of cinema and photography,  said before the election, each candidate gives a speech and emphasizes what they value, what they would like to see as a change, how they can improve MCM and what they are going to offer to the organization.

Advertisement

“One of Victoria’s major priorities was women empowerment within the organization,” Martinez said.

Kuball said her goal as the first female president is to inspire other women at SIU when it comes to being a female filmmaker.

“I hope I can bring comfort and confidence to not only the women in the group,” she said, “but every member as well.”

The election of Kuball has been a change, not only in the official position of the organization, but as Martinez said, a sign of a change in the minds of members, especially the female ones.

He said there was always female presence in the organization like Shaheen Shorish, the female founding member who was a veteran as well. At the time, the organization was still known as Movie Camera Militia.

“At the time I joined the organization, there was a strong female vice president, officers and board members,” he said. “However, there was a reputation that this organization was just a boys club, specifically a white male club.”

Martinez said this comes from both some demographic and cultural reasons within the organization, cinema industry and society.

He said if you consider the demographic of SIU, it was heavily Caucasian and the field of cinema traditionally has been male dominated.

Kuball said the filmmaking industry, in general, is a pretty male-dominated industry.

“I believe women are intimidated to run for senior positions because often times, we see males in their position,” she said. “If we don’t see other women in senior positions, I believe it turns us away and discourages us not to run because we can’t relate or connect.”

Martinez said the reason why MCM was perceived as a boys club is possibly because of the type of movies the organization produced.

“If we look at the screenplay, the writings were typically from a narrow demographic,” he said.

He said it doesn’t go to say that the organization didn’t try encouraging the female members to write. Martinez said he and the presidents at the meetings openly invite anyone to submit scripts.

“In some cases, I would speak with some of our female members in meetings that I have in my classes,” he said. 

Martinez said when he asked his female students why they did not submit the script they wrote for his class, their responses were always “I don’t know!” 

“There is an uncertainty, which I don’t know is because of lack of confidence or something else,” he said.

According to Martinez, this is something that has been gradually changing and the ‘Me Too’ movement definitely played a pivotal role.

“I think it just opened the eyes of many of the members. They understood the gravity of the situation,” he said. “With the ‘Me Too’ movement and other advancement progressive causes, in recent years, female and minority voices have popped up.” 

Kuball said women need to see other females in a higher position in order to inspire them and to prove that women can do it too, if not better. It is extremely important for MCM to have a female president.

“I believe me being the first female president is the first step to a bigger change for both Movie Camera Movement, and SIU, in the right direction,” she said. “Therefore, the upcoming generations that come to SIU can look at us. ”

Martinez, who has taught at MCMA since 2005, said there is more confidence in the new upcoming generation of students, and they are more likely to lay claim to express their voice.

“It didn’t start that way,” he said. “Each year, you start to see females take on more above the line crew member positions.” 

He said their roles weren’t always limited to scene design or customs of art departments, as common criticism to MCM, but more women are taking on roles from producer to director, and cinematographer.

“These changes are wonderful,” he said. “That means we are going to see different stories, audiences are able to understand and empathize with others who don’t share the same background.”

Female empowerment is not the only concern of Kuball as president of MCM. 

“I have a lot of new things planned for MCM,” she said. “From things such as fundraisers, back-to-school barbeques and overall a lot of networking, learning and connection opportunities for the RSO and its members.”

Kuball said she and her vice president, Deion Smith, hope to spread MCM’s name to make it well known on campus, and overall add more diversity and members to grow the group to where it has the potential to be.

“MCM really broke me out of my shell,” she said. “I built around myself as a freshman in a new environment. It helped me find myself, along with the passion I have for filmmaking. MCM is going to be revamped this year and see the change it has been needing for years.”

She said the feeling of being the president of MCM has still yet to hit her.

“Looking back at my freshman self,” she said, “I would have never guessed that I would be where I am today. I would ask me again in six months to see how I’m doing.”

 Staff Reporter Tahereh Rahimi can be reached at [email protected]

To stay up to date with all your southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

Advertisement