Student Spotlight: Kenneth Zacher 

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Kenneth Zacher (Ken or Kenneth preferred)
Junior, just transferred from North Seattle last quarter
Favorite Movie: Climax (2019) by Gaspar Noe

How did you know you wanted to major in CMS?
I first found out about CMS while I was working on my transfer degree at North Seattle. I'd been kinda skeptical about really looking into film as a career path because I was always worrying about the money back then. Anyone can be a creator these days, you know? And as a filmmaker, or as an artist in general, you have to carry this ego that whatever you have to say is worth saying, or that you're entertaining enough to draw in an audience. It's a mindset that I've never really cared for myself. I believe there are so many talented artists out there that already say so much but seem to fall through the cracks, and that's where CMS really clicked for me. How do people consume media? What makes a film worth watching?

What do you like most about the major?
I feel like the easy answer is that I get to watch movies as a job. It's definitely a big part of it. I think that I really get the most out of CMS when I'm discussing these movies with likeminded people who are just as passionate about film as I am, if not moreso. Sometimes I'll bring in my projector to one of the research rooms in Allen (library) and do screenings of some of the required films for the classes I'm taking. I feel like inviting people to these spaces only enriches my understanding of the films I'm watching too.

Film restoration isn't an area people tend to think of when imagining CMS. How did you get interested in the field?
I think there wasn't one seminal moment that made me think "I need to restore film". It was a small trend of things that bothered me about the industry that I felt compelled to rebel against. HBO was recently bought out by Time Warner within the last couple of years, and one of the first things they did was cancel and remove so many of their series from streaming platforms to earn a quick tax write-off on the "projected value" of their works. It's unfair to the many people that worked to make these projects happen, so I think it's partially a response to that and also an admiration for the processes that companies like Criterion go through to restore films like Citizen Kane or The Man Who Knew Too Much. I feel like the magic that goes into saving these historic works is just a process that I want to be a part of.

Can you share any sort of work you've done in film restoration so far, or any projects you want to undertake in the future?
At the moment, this quarter has really been my first foray into the field of film restoration. I think when I first got into the major I really wanted to look into companies like Criterion or Arrow Media as potential career paths, but I really believe my goal now is to someday work with the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress. The preservation efforts the Library goes through to maintain a catalogue of American film history is really noble, I'd say. It'd allow me to be a part of something bigger than myself, which really drives me.

What kind of activities are you involved with outside your classes?
I am proud to say that I directed the film that took last place at LUX60 this year. I mean that genuinely, I'm extremely proud of the work my teammates and I did to pull together a fun little short about bank-robbery and boba. Aside from that, if I'm not in class you can usually find me working at the chemistry front office in Bagley Hall.

Any advice for prospective majors?
The reality is that unless you're getting into a very specific job that requires a very specific degree, like, unless you're going to become a doctor of chemistry where you'll need a bachelor's of something chemistry adjacent, it doesn't really matter what major you go for in college. My dad has an English degree and works for the SSA. My mom got a degree in Marine Biology and now she's doing national HR work. What I'm saying is that while you're in college you have the opportunity to study what interests you, and whether that pans out to what you want in a career is up in the air. Do what interests you while you're in college. Don't worry about having a plan from the very beginning. There are always opportunities to change course.