Madison Welborn ’24

Madison Welborn, a freshman film production major here at Chapman recently founded a new student organization called the “Black Film Society.” We had the opportunity to hear from Madison about this new organization, as well as her personal goals as an aspiring filmmaker: 

Can you tell us why you chose the degree you are currently pursuing at Dodge?
I chose the degree of film production because I realized early on that change doesn’t always happen when you want it to, but rather in doses. The way people connect with a film depends on the way you may listen, write, or learn or just the way your brain processes information augmented by the way you may view the world. The way things you see on the screen resonates with you depends on how you view the world. So I love the fact that no matter what your life experience may be, you may not view a film or TV production the same as another person. And that’s all contingent on how the story is edited in my perspective. Each production can be viewed and presented in multiple ways and to have that power to create something that can be interpreted in different ways depending on a person’s upbringing or their life experiences is an amazing feeling. 

What motivated you to start the Black Film Society?
I wanted to create a safe space where Black film students could discuss their concerns, questions, successes while learning how to navigate the film industry both behind and in front of the camera. I want to provide opportunities to connect with successful Blacks in the business while giving others opportunities to learn more about the industry as a whole, while providing film showcases, workshops and seminars  as well as networking events. just to name a few. Meetings will be different, sometimes they will be structured with a full agenda, and other times we may just have a roundtable discussion, or we may have development sessions where we learn how to refine a skill or how to pitch your film, how to get an internship, or a job in the industry. It really depends, I am going to listen to the members and make sure that I give them the type of information and content that they want and need to enhance their lives and future film careers.

What are your plans/goals for the organization? What are the meetings going to be like?
My plans for the organization are robust. I want to host events with big name celebrities or industry executives that can share their real life experiences, I want to provide workshops that have real takeaways that will allow Black students to ask questions and discuss issues that they may not feel comfortable asking in front of their non-Black peers. I want to give Black students a space where they can get honest feedback on their work as well as host film festivals for up and coming filmmakers, editors, etc. all while building relationships with one another that will last a lifetime.

What are your personal goals and how do you think will this new student organization will help you achieve them?
As a Black female, I want to help create opportunities and open the door for more Black females as it relates to editing in the film world. My personal goals are to learn how to edit all genres of films and to be the most effective and efficient editor that I can be. I want to learn how to tell powerful stories through editing and I really want to be an editor on an Oscar award winning film. I really admire Joi McMillion, an American film editor, known for her work on the Academy Award-winning film Moonlight.

Anything else we should know about the Black Film Society?
What you should know about the Black Film Society is that we are just getting started. Although it’s been a little challenging starting the organization in the middle of a pandemic, we are going to make a name for ourselves by supporting, encouraging, empowering, as well as educating not only Black students but all students about the Black experience as it relates to navigating the film industry. I want to make Dodge College of Film and Media Arts as well as Dean Galloway proud of what we’re doing. I want people to know we’re not competing with anyone. I want everyone to be successful and to win.  I am going to do my best to create a space within the university as well as in Dodge that will allow Black students to do just that – Win and be successful.