The idea for the podcast started last spring when Julien Suaudeau, director of Bryn Mawr's film studies program and senior lecturer in the French and Francophone Studies department, was looking for ways to expand the College’s institutional partnership with BMFI. With the goal of giving students maximum agency in content creation, he had the idea of creating a film podcast that would be entirely produced and hosted by students.
The four students you’ll hear on the podcast are Judie Johnson ‘25, Juliana Vair ‘26, Sankeerthna Vedamtam ‘24, and History of Art graduate student Hilde Nelson. After submitting applications showcasing their passion and talent for film analysis, the students were selected by a hiring committee made up of Suaudeau, Chair of History of Art Homay King, and Assistant Professor of Literatures in English Pardis Dabashi.
Each Mawrters at the Movies episode centers on a current release at BMFI or another noteworthy film that’s piqued the interest of the hosts. Their inaugural episode breaks down Martin Scorsese's new film, Killers of the Flower Moon.
“We’ve discussed, among other things, our admiration for Lily Gladstone and Naomi Yang, our thoughts about Leonardo DiCaprio’s heartthrob status, our awe of the massive, expressionist sets in The Scarlet Empress, and our fascination with mediation, screens, title cards, doubles, and all manner of ways that cinema thinks about cinema,” explains Nelson.
Each of the hosts bring their unique academic backgrounds and viewpoints into the conversation, helping them uncover new insights into the films they study.
“Because our personal backgrounds and scholarly focuses are varied, my co-hosts always have something to point out about a film that would have gone over my head without their insight. Our conversations are a delightful reminder of the limits of my isolated perspective,” says Johnson, who majors in Literatures in English and minors in visual studies.
For all of the hosts, the collaborative production and learning process is the most rewarding part of their experience.
“The podcast and my fellow hosts have been introducing me to some great perspectives, terminology, and content that I wouldn't get the pleasure of encountering without them. We're a very academically diverse group brought together by our love of film. It's great hearing how people from those different circles talk about the same movies,” echoes Vair, a math and comparative literature major.
Listeners of the podcast will hear thoughtful discussions and analyses of film, but they will also feel the hosts’ palpable enthusiasm for cinema.
Vedamtam, who is studying languages and psychology, describes the group as a “movie-loving diamond,” feeding each other's excitement. “This podcast has provided me with an outlet to embrace and discuss my first love for the movies, with three amazing people who share the same passion.”
Now that the podcast is in production, Suaudeau supports the group as their first listener and supervisor.
“My favorite part of the work is to listen to the rough cut of the episodes, be amazed by the quality, the depth, and the wittiness of the conversation, and to give feedback for the final cut or future reference. It is just a joy to work with the Mawrters at the Movies,” says Suaudeau.