FAU Film Stop: Building Community and Fostering Creativity at Florida Atlantic University

by Abi Lambert | Wednesday, Oct 18, 2023



My time here at Florida Atlantic University has been an exciting journey. Since my freshman year, I’ve had the opportunity of forging meaningful connections with like-minded peers. However, there was a separation within our school. We all wanted to create projects, films, and other forms of art but didn’t know how to outside of the classroom. The resounding question remained, “How do we make this into a community? How do we bring everyone together? Would this even be possible? Where do we even start?”

It wasn’t until my junior year, following many conversations with friends about this lack of community within the school of Multimedia, that we finally got the push and inspiration needed to start this amazing club.

At the inception of what would later become the FAU Film Stop here at FAU, a small group of dedicated students emerged, including myself (Abi Lambert), Grace Burns, Matthew Pilla, My-Yor Corely, Nicole Bailey, Danielle Safra, and our very supportive professor, Lorenzo Ponce De Leon M.F.A. Without Lorenzo, we wouldn’t have had the push to start this club. His overwhelming support and genuine hope for our success gave us the encouragement we needed. I asked Lorenzo what motivated him to be part of this and he said, “I met the Film Stop’s original founders as students in one of the classes I was teaching. They all shared the commonality of being highly motivated in their academic and creative work, exhibited fantastic leadership qualities, and, most of all, they shared the desire to help others make the most out of their academic studies. It was an easy decision.”  Lorenzo recognized something special in our small group and knew we were capable of starting something here at FAU that would not only benefit us, but also benefit everyone.

Our club initially started from a film festival that we hosted in the early summer of 2023. Initially uncertain about the response it would receive, we were pleasantly surprised. Once again, Lorenzo really helped us spread the word and get students excited about this opportunity. Nicole Bailey, Film Stop Treasurer and Founder, recalls, “I wasn’t expecting everyone to take it so seriously, but I’m happy that they did, or else I don’t think we’d be where we are today.” I think what really struck those students was that we were in the same position as them. But also, that we created the festival ourselves. It demonstrated that big, impactful things could emerge from a simple idea.

At the first meeting, our founders mostly talked about the foundation of the club, what is lacking in our community, and how we can improve it. Nicole Bailey says, “It was an after-class meeting, so it was very laidback. But we were also able to get to business, such as deciding how we could create a film club that doesn’t mimic the other one at FAU. We wanted something FAU hasn’t seen before, and with the number of members we have, 86 and counting, it looks like we have achieved that!” Not only did this come from a place of passion for creating but to collaborate with others, however, we did not have a way of communicating or networking with others in our school.

Hence, the primary goal of our club became clear: networking. We created the FAU Film Stop with the mission statement of networking and connecting students at FAU with an eye for filmmaking, producing, and the performing arts. Furthermore, we welcome to anyone within the community who has an interest in the arts. Our vision aimed to elevate FAU's creative landscape and uplift one another and future students.

I asked Grace Burns, current President and founder of the Film Stop, about her experiences with the club. She shared, “Through this club, I have met some of the most amazing people and gained amazing opportunities that I never would have had without it.”

Being part of this club not only brought me immense joy but also introduced me to a community of intelligent, creative, and kind friends. Serving as Vice President of this club has been an amazing experience, and I'm so grateful for the opportunity.If you are a student here at FAU and are interested in joining our club, feel free to reach out to us on Instagram: faufilmstop.

Current Film Stop Board:

President: Grace Burns

Vice President: Abi Lambert

Secretary: Matthew Pilla

Treasurer: Nicole Bailey

Advisor: Prof. Carolina Estrada-Gustache