Reels on Wheels: Creating a New Scene for Film Students

The 2016 Reelies. Courtesy of Sarah Lawrence College 

The 2016 Reelies. Courtesy of Sarah Lawrence College 

Many Sarah Lawrence film students imagine and create projects that expand beyond the school campus. Until two years ago, however, students did not have easy access to free, reliable transportation to facilitate their on-screen aspirations. This all changed when senior Nick Ransom ‘17 decided to start the club Reels on Wheels, which now provides film students with school vans to transport them to and from shoots. 

For most of last year, Reels on Wheels was solely focused on the van service. Then the film department announced that they would no longer be putting on the Sarah Lawrence Film Festival, so the club decided to take that on as well. They created The Reelies, a dinner, film festival, and awards show celebrating student work at Sarah Lawrence. The first Reelies festival was held in April.

“We realized that we could do a lot with this club, so we decided to kind of up it a little bit,” Ransom said. “We still [did] the vans but we also started doing little panels with alumni and professors.” Addressing the club’s success, Ransom said, “[The Reelies] had a huge impact on the school, I think, and they talk about it in the [campus] tours now. It’s like a selling point to come to Sarah Lawrence.”.

The club is going to continue everything they did last year, including The Reelies, but their organization has been restructured to make it possible for them to accomplish more. Ransom and Darcy Thompson ‘19  are the co-chairs, but a council of core members has been added to help make decisions about projects they would like to do. When they do decide on a possible project, they’re hoping to have town halls, possibly one each month, with other students who want to be involved in the club. Their idea is to let those students decide whether or not they actually move forward on the project. 

Reels on Wheels’ new council is still deciding what they want their first big project to be. The co-chairs know, for one thing, that they’ll be focusing on diversity in both Sarah Lawrence’s film department and the film industry as a whole. 

“One of the biggest problems we have in the film department, and at Sarah Lawrence in general, is that the amount of people of color at our college is ridiculously small,” Thompson said. “And so one of the things we’re pushing for is trying to get more and more of the people of color who are here and are interested in film to become more involved in film.”Alisha Brabham ‘19 has been put in charge of leading the club to reach their diversity-related goals. 

Emma Garcia '20

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