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UCLA student film buff builds community on campus

Graduating student Bryce Busch poses beside a sculpture on a sunny day. Busch reflects on his time involved within the film community at UCLA. (Aidan Sun/Assistant Photo editor)

By Avery Poznanski

June 10, 2024 3:38 p.m.

Bryce Busch is graduating with silver-screen dreams.

The fourth-year history student said he got his start in the UCLA film scene in typical Bruin fashion: through the Enormous Activities Fair, where he spotted the Bruin Film Society booth. Three years later, Busch now serves as the vice president of BFS and as the programming chair of the UCLA chapter of Delta Kappa Alpha, a professional cinema fraternity. Reflecting on the beginning of his UCLA career, Busch said his innate passion for film was his instinctive way of connecting to campus culture.

“My freshman year (2020) was a little bit nonexistent,” Busch said. “But when I got to UCLA, the first thing I wanted to do was join a film club because I really do love film so much.”

Becoming the new member outreach chair of BFS his sophomore year, Busch organized communication with current and potential members through GroupMe messages and Instagram content, he said. While trying to regain membership post-pandemic, Busch said he and the board stayed positive by celebrating small victories. But by the time he began serving as vice president in his third year, the club’s attendance and energy had soared, he said.

“My sophomore year, … it would be ten people showing up to screenings,” Busch said. “Last year, we did ‘Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,’ and we had to kick people out of the room. … Seeing the change in that short amount of time has been so cool.”

[Related: Alex Henry’s horror-comedy ‘Goin’ Green’ refreshes coming-of-age genre]

For fourth-year English student Devin Bosley, Busch’s kind and personable demeanor has been an instrumental part of Bruin Film Society’s transformation. Having worked alongside Busch in her roles as president of BFS and chaplain of Delta Kappa Alpha, Bosley said Busch helped her achieve her goal of making people comfortable attending and participating in BFS activities. By interacting directly with members while running weekly meetings, Bosley said Busch became the friendly and familiar face that kept people coming back week after week.

Upon first meeting Busch, friend and collaborator Khaleesa Alexander said she was struck by his enthusiasm, sociability and humor. The fourth-year English student who came to UCLA as a transfer said they were nervous about talking to new people but felt welcomed into conversation by Busch, who they described as an encyclopedia of film knowledge. As the president of Delta Kappa Alpha, Alexander said Busch excelled at the complicated task of planning the annual chapter retreat, as well as organizing traditional events like new member initiation and senior celebrations.

Whether catching movies together on the weekends or working alongside each other on a film set, Alexander said Busch’s genuine positivity never wavers. For Bosley’s first short film through Delta Kappa Alpha, Busch took on the role of assistant director for the first time, Alexander said. While she expected tensions to be high, Alexander said she felt right at home. Working on the set as a new sound mixer themself, Alexander said they were inspired by the joyful environment Busch helped create.

“Everything just fell into place because we were able to communicate and work so seamlessly together,” Alexander said. “Seeing him handling set and leading that front so Devin could focus on her vision was so beautiful to witness.”

As Busch’s friend and roommate, Bosley said their close relationship uplifted the environment on her film set. Busch was not only supportive, Bosley said, but kept the production process running by keeping track of time and concentrating everyone’s focus. While voices can tend to clash on the tight timeline of a film shoot, Bosley said Busch fought for her vision while making every person on set feel comfortable.

“As first assistant director, a lot of your job is to kind of fight with the director, but we didn’t really fight,” Bosley said. “It’s a learning environment. I wanted it to feel really collaborative, and I think Bryce really understood that and wanted to support me in that.”

[Related: Theater student Kimmy Miller spreads joy, educational messages through puppetry]

As he looks forward to graduating, Busch said he’s grateful for the people who have shaped his experience at UCLA, such as former Delta Kappa Alpha president Elizabeth Johnson and collaborators Bosley and Alexander. Beyond the opportunities available at UCLA, Busch said he’s inspired by the unique film screenings, events and history in the city of Los Angeles. While maintaining an academic love for history, Busch said his ultimate goal is to be a part of the behind-the-scenes film magic.

“I do want to work in the film industry ideally, but it’s very competitive,” Busch said. “But if I don’t chase what I want to do now, when’s a better time?”

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Avery Poznanski
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