Nathan Smith has spent the past year watching about 160 movies, organizing a pop-up movie event in Knoxville, writing for his own entertainment blog, and becoming director of hip hop programming for WUTK.
“I think I stayed in my dorm room too much last semester,” says the freshman, who is a Provost’s Scholar, a National Merit Scholar, and a member of the Chancellor’s Honors Program.
Smith’s enthusiasm for movies is not just for their entertainment value. He dissects and studies movies with a keen critical and analytical eye.
“Film has the ability to engage us on a serious level,” he says. “Most don’t see the real value, but films can reveal a lot about us as a people.”
Smith recently began sharing his love of nonmainstream films with a pop-up theater event he calls the Scruffy City Cinema Club. The club had one screening in the fall, and Smith plans to do more showings this year.
The American Studies major hopes to parlay his love of film analysis into a future career, though he’s undecided about whether he wants to go into the media or an academic setting.
For now, Smith will hold onto his day job as director of hip hop programming and co-hosting duties on the Sunday evening Gold Standard Hip Hop Show.
Smith’s Smash Cut Magazine (smashcutmag.com), however, is about more than hip hop and movies. Smith and his contributors write about a wide range of topics, including the new studio system in Hollywood, meta music videos, television shows, and video games.
Don’t expect to agree with (or have even heard of) everything in Smash Cut; after all, the site’s tagline reads “Disagreeing with you about pop culture and entertainment since 2012.”
Smith realizes that organizing a cinema club and writing an online magazine are unexpected of one so young, but when asked why he does these things he simply replies, “Why not? Why should age have to limit anyone?
Photo by Dustin Brown