The University of Rhode Island Foreign Film Society is a new club on campus that professor Rob Cohen has partnered with students to create.

The club held their first event on Nov. 1, which was a screening of the biopic of Indian boxing champion Mary Kom, an uplifting if not routine sports movie titled simply as her name. Cohen and the club’s members were very excited to begin this exploration and dissection into foreign films with their first screening of “Mary Kom.” Around 11 people showed up to watch the film, which received applause after it finished.
Members expressed their enjoyment of the filmmaking their first screening appear to be successful. Cohen hopes to have larger screenings in the future and encourages more students to join.

After six months of work, Cohen created the club to strengthen cultural awareness on campus.

“[I created the club] to promote curiosity and cultural connection among URI students from around the world and the U.S.,” Cohen said. “The great connector among young people is that they are young and open to new things.”

Mason Martin, a founding member of Foreign Film Society, appreciates Cohen for bringing up the idea to start this club. Since hearing it, Martin has been on board and excited for it since he’s a film major.

“I can’t say that I have wanted this for a while because I didn’t really think about this club until Rob brought it up,” Martin said. “But I have been waiting to get the club going since he did bring it up.”

Although the club may seem like it’s catered to film majors, it’s open to and appeals to students of other majors as well. Psychology Major Beni Sele is also a founding member of Foreign Film Society.

“We have been developing this project since the first day of [media studies] class. I am very excited but also stressed,” Sele said.

Cohen’s involvement in teaching in the URI “ONCAMPUS” students program influenced the startup for the club. URI “ONCAMPUS” student program is a program that acclimates new foreign students to URI during their first year

“The students in these classes are funny, thoughtful, very different from their American counterparts and very much the same as their American counterparts,” Cohen said. “I strongly believe that the foreign films and music that these OnCampus students like would appeal to their fellow American students. Starting anything new always is…unsteady, but I’m excited for what this can be. I really would like [the club] to become a permanent part of the URI landscape.”

The club plans to hold screenings of a new foreign film every Thursday evening and expand the cultural horizons of its students. On Thursday, Nov. 8 they will be screening “Tropa De Elite” (Elite Squad) in Swan Hall Room 309 at 7:30 p.m.