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Meet Jeanzelle Soliven: President of BU’s Professional Film Fraternity

Jeanzelle (Jean) Soliven is a junior at Boston University studying Film and Television. She is also President of BU’s National Professional Gender Inclusive Film Fraternity, Delta Kappa Alpha (DKA). I asked her a bit about what her role of President is like during the pandemic, as well as general life as a film student at BU. 

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Emily Candal: What is Delta Kappa Alpha all about and why did you decide to join?

Jeanzelle Soliven: Delta Kappa Alpha is a professional cinematic film fraternity that is gender-inclusive and nationally recognized. One of the main things the organization strives to do is build character and artistry between a collective group of individuals that all share the same passion for storytelling and filmmaking. Since I got admitted to BU through the CGS program, I started a semester late. I was looking forward to getting involved in either Greek life or a film organization. When I asked my orientation leader for recommendations, they mentioned DKA which was a perfect combination of both. So, I rushed and I guess the rest is history!

EC: As the new President, have you found it difficult to transition this semester to an online environment?

JS: Definitely. As I’m sure other on-campus organizations can relate to this experience, having to completely restructure important events and meetings to be fully virtual within a short amount of time is extremely challenging! Within the first couple weeks of being initiated into new leadership positions over Zoom, we had to begin our roles and prepare for the upcoming semester. It was stressful and so much was uncertain about the future, so it was difficult to make definitive plans. My Executive Council and I were constantly making decisions on a moment-to-moment basis, only to completely start from scratch when another unprecedented event would occur. It was overwhelming, tiring, and disheartening at times being in such a state of limbo. However, the one thing that kept me going was the fact that I was working alongside an amazing group of individuals that shared the same concern and passion as I did for the organization and its members. Our number one priority was (and still is) the overall safety and wellbeing of every individual in the chapter. Having a strong executive council to depend on and work with reminds me that even in the midst of hardship and seemingly unsolvable situations, I’m not alone in trying to find a solution. 

EC: What is your favorite memory while being a member of DKA?

JS: It would have to be when I attended a bonding event to go apple picking. It was the first time I had ever gone apple picking and I had so much fun singing in the car with my fellow DKA members, taking pictures at the orchard, eating apple cider donuts for the first time while trying to swipe away giant wasps, and last but not least convincing an unsuspecting group of civilians that one of the DKA members was such a famous international actor that starred in a recent blockbuster film. That event was definitely a good time that I hold dear to my heart. 

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EC: As a film major, what advice would you give to incoming freshmen looking to study film?

JS: Don’t compare yourself and don’t wait for opportunities to come to you, either seek them out or make opportunities for yourself. Everyone is coming from different backgrounds and life experiences and getting caught up in everyone else’s abilities makes you lose focus on your potential as a filmmaker and a creative. Everyone has to start somewhere so rather than mulling over qualities you might not have or knowledge you might not know, educate yourself, learn a new skill, and hone in on your strengths! That’s what film school is all about, so don’t feel inferior if you’re not at someone else’s level. Just focus on your own path as an individual and work hard to be the best filmmaker that you can be. Also, something I really wish that I did was just to start creating sooner. Rather than waiting for a moment to make a short film or write a script, just do it now while you have the time (especially in quarantine!). Get involved in projects or on set (safely of course) if you can, rather than wishing you had more experience because you can’t expect people to just hand positions or opportunities to you. You have to work for it.

EC: What has been your favorite class at BU so far?

JS: FT250, Understanding Film, with the iconic Professor Decker. Each film that we were required to watch tied so perfectly with the discussions that we would have in class, so not only was it easy to understand the material, but it was entertaining and engaging. The films were also highly educational in terms of learning about specific film concepts or terms. Professor Decker is an amazing teacher and I also had a very helpful discussion leader who taught me so much and really left a positive impact on the way I viewed film. With every paper that I submitted, I could tell that through their guidance I improved not only my ability to analyze and break down certain aspects of film, but also my overall understanding and appreciation for movies and the cinematic techniques used to create them. 

EC: What is your favorite movie and why? 

A: Ugh, the question every film student dreads. I’m super indecisive so I’ll have to say it would be a tie between 500 Days of Summer and [Spider-Man:] Into the Spiderverse. The screenplay for 500 Days is my holy grail. I love how the film was able to reinvent the typical romcom by showcasing the realism of the romanticized concept of having a soulmate/meeting “the one.” And for [Spider-Man:] Into the Spiderverse, what’s not to like? Multiple spider people, diverse characters, amazing animation, and an even better story. My opinion may be biased as Spider-man is my favorite superhero, however the story is so good that anyone would be able to appreciate the film. 

Follow Jean and the BU chapter of the Delta Kappa Alpha fraternity on Instagram! 

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Originally from CT, Emily is a junior at Boston University studying Film and Television with a minor in Psychology. Her hobbies include drinking too many vanilla lattes, reading, writing, and watching movies.
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