Culture Shock Film Society loses its leader

President Hunter McArthur is looking to find someone to keep the group going.
GETTING READY — McArthur sets up a film for an audience attending the Culture Shock Film Society showing last Thursday.
GETTING READY — McArthur sets up a film for an audience attending the Culture Shock Film Society showing last Thursday.
Antonio Anderson

Waiting for a week, nearly 15 people gather in a small room under a humming projector as a night of entertainment starts with a simple click of a button.

Hunter McArthur, president of Culture Shock Film Society, has been providing Northern Michigan University with opportunities to watch movies for over four years. After showing more than 80 movies, he finally heads to graduation. McArthur is leaving his position and his club vacant of a president.

“Unfortunately, this is my last semester here, as I am graduating. So I am trying currently to find someone to take up the mantle. I really hope that I can find someone, this [club] is my baby. I’d hate to let my baby die, especially after I got her through COVID,” McArthur said.

This student organization has been passed through many hands and gone through a few iterations. It was once called Gonzo Media for several decades, at least since the early 1970s, according to 2014 Gonzo Media President and Senior Digital Cinema Major Allison Powell. She said Gonzo Media brought the best in alternative and artistic cinema to NMU students and Marquette residents.

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“This is kind of a revitalization of Gonzo Media, which ran till, I think, about 2015,” McArthur said. “Then a student named Eric Pitz picked it up for about half a semester in the fall of 2019 before handing it off to me in the spring of 2020.”

McArthur said this club has been around for just over 50 years and still has plenty of passion from the people in charge of it, and others who help keep it going. It brings students and community members movies they enjoy and that push diversity.

“This is my baby. I don’t want to say I’ve been the sole caretaker of this organization, but I have been pretty much with help from course administration. I put up all the posters, I curate all the showings with help from the community and the students that I work with,” McArthur said.

McArthur asks club members for input in which movies he should show.

“I kind of ask them, ‘Hey what kind of movies do you want to see?’ and if they don’t have a specific movie they can give me genres or even basic subject matters. We’ve shown everything from ‘Eraserhead’ to ‘Snakes on a Plane’ and ‘Pee-wee’s Big Adventure,’ which is showing later this semester.”

McArthur said that the group pushes to promote diversity through film and art, and by doing showings that relate to social events. This includes special showings for Black History Month, Gender Fair, Latinx History Month and foreign language films.

“There are some of these films that I bring in from my personal collection – if I can save the university a buck I’d like to, but also a lot of these are purchased through Student Finance Committee funds (SFC). I cannot say enough good things about the SFC, we love the SFC. After the showings with the movies purchased with SFC funds they are donated to the library so that anybody can see it. If they miss the showing they can go and watch it,” McArthur said.

McArthur is a member of the SFC, but explained that he does not participate in the meetings pertaining to the Culture Shock Film Society. With the money given by the SFC, the club provides the Wildcat community with the best movies available.

“I try and find the best quality Blu-rays with the most special features, the best transfer, just to ensure the library is getting, and the future students, are getting the best possible product out of this organization. I kind of want to leave a legacy of promoting the arts and promoting film,” McArthur said.

McArthur is excited to see the future of the long running club after he graduates, especially who “takes up the mantle” as president and what they do with it the club.

Showings are held every Thursday from 8:30 to 11 p.m.

Anyone interested in becoming the next Culture Shock Film Society president can contact McArthur through the Hub.

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