#StudentProfileWeek: Michael Kamel, HBIC of Global Film Club

Kamel Brings International Film to iWeek

Patriot Post | Al Raines | April 11, 2016

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One of the newest additions to iWeek is the GMU Global Film Club’s International Film Festival, and the man behind it all? Michael Kamel.

April 8, 2016, marked the first day of GMU’s International Week 2016, and iWeek has so much in store this year. Featuring a Philippine Culture Night, a Cricket Championship Match, a K-Pop Trivia Tournament, a Cultural Couture Fashion Show, and tons of other events, International Week has it all. Click here for the full calendar of events.

michael kamelMichael is the president and founder of GFC at Mason, and he worked hard to make an International Film Festival happen this year during iWeek, from April 11 through 13. In fact, the Mason International Film Festival by GFC has been a dream for the club from the very beginning.

“This is something that we’ve been wanting to do since our conception,” says Michael. “It’s a long time coming, and with an organization that focuses on international film, it’s important to have a film festival. Global Film Club needs to have a major event once or twice a year because it’s something people can look forward to, and the Mason International Film Festival during iWeek is the perfect opportunity.”

In addition to Global Film Club, Kamel is a film and video studies student as well as a Head Resident Advisor for Housing & Residence Life at Whitetop.

It didn’t take long for international film to become one of his greatest passions.

“My freshman year of college, I volunteered with the DC Independent Film Festival,” Michael says. “The films there, especially the international films, inspired me to create this club at Mason because I knew we could bring films to campus. With GFC, not only can we have discussions about the films themselves, but also the culture behind the films.”

Michael saw an opportunity to share these films with students during iWeek, and he seized it. The Global Film Club collaborated with GMU Film and Media Studies, Off-Campus Student Programs and Services, University Libraries, and GMU chapter of Delta Kappa Alpha, the event’s respective co-sponsors, to make the Mason International Film Festival happen.

“We have films from Spain, India, Italy, and Iran,” says Michael. “‘Travel the world in three days through film’ was our thought process in organizing the festival. Since we only have four films, we wanted to make sure each film had very different cultural backgrounds.

michael kamel
Photo by Al Raines

“On The Bride’s Side is a very serious yet educational film,” he continues, “and there will be a discussion afterwards on the refugee crisis. Bollywood films are critically acclaimed by audiences across the board, so we chose English Vinglish for our Bollywood feature film. There will be a reception beforehand with food from Bollywood Bistro.”

When asked about the differences between American film and foreign film, Michael believed there were certainly significant differences that can’t be overlooked.

“A lot of international cinema industries don’t have to follow the formulas that are set in Hollywood,” Michael claims. “The standards in international cinema are not as defined as the standards in Hollywood. Filmmakers have a lot more freedom to stretch their creative imagination.”

So when you explore the events that iWeek offers this year, stop by the JC Cinema (Monday and Wednesday) and the JC Gold Room (Tuesday) to watch incredible films like Pan’s LabyrinthOn the Bride’s SideAbout Elly, and English Vinglish.

Global Film Club guarantees you won’t be disappointed.

“I think it’s important for people to seek out alternative cinemas compared to American cinema because you’ll be open to a whole new intellectual world,” Michael notes. And that’s all the more reason to go out and see a global film during iWeek.


I would like to thank Michael Kamel and the Global Film Club for allowing me to conduct this interview for The Rival Student Profile Week. Happy International Week!

michael kamel