A Film Group and a Family (Feature Article #1 Rough Draft)

Aside from a few of your close-knit sports teams, one would not refer their recreational group as a family, but for a certain Sioux City based film group called Fatal Nostalgia, the word “family” is very well fitting. “Fatal Nostalgia isn’t like a family to me; It is a family. We are always growing in numbers and in ideas. [I] Love this group to death,” says Kelsey Dill, one of the original members of the film group.

Fatal Nostalgia started out as an improvisational film group attempting to show their versatility with filming. It began with three members, including Kelsey, her friend Ben, and a buddy of his from high school. Initially, the trio intended to do a different genre for each “Film Improv” that they released every other week, attempting to cover a wide array of story lines, characters, and settings. But as membership and ideas grew, the group began to broaden its horizons beyond their original specifications.

“It’s filmmaking for the sake of filmmaking,” Ben Catus explains. There are no set rules on what sort of film that this group is supposed to make; sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s scary, sometimes it’s planned out and scripted, sometimes it’s completely on the spot. After watching a few videos, one could say that it is obvious that this group tends to favor random comedy with what has been called a “unique” sense of humor.

More often than not, harsh language is avoided in videos and any sort of extensive gore or sexual innuendos are absent from these videos. This is not due to any censorship stipulations or intended audience, but rather simply the flow of the unusual humor that comes from these young film-makers. One could say that not only is Fatal Nostalgia a family, but it is inadvertently a family friendly film group.

The term “family” also applies to Fatal Nostalgia in a literal sense. Two sets of brothers: Ben and Matt Catus, plus Garth and Max Servis, are four of the core acting troupe within the group. Believe it or not, it isn’t actually nepotism that brings these brothers together in the group, but rather, past experience with each other.

Most of the members of this film group didn’t actually start here; many of them had worked with either each other and often non-members before the start of this group. The brothers’ Catus began with stop-motion animation videos with legos in their parents basement. Other antics they had filmed were posted onto a channel Ben had set up, the channel that the film group no uses. Sam Foo, another main member, was an avid filmmaker with his friends when he lived in Indiana. Mason Bakker, one of the main actors and idea-pitchers, had acted in videos for a friend from school several years prior.

Needless to say, these young filmmakers have worked hard to get to where they are now. “We’re definitely at a start; Our video quality right now is about the same as other famous YouTubers when they started out,” Sam expresses as he absentmindedly scrolls through old videos of some of his favorite YouTube stars. He’s not too far off when he says that they’re at a start. It has only been since November of 2013 since the first video by this film group had been posted, and only since July of this year that the “core” group was established.

The distinction between core members and regular members was established in order to maintain more organization within Fatal Nostalgia. The group is very open with whom they let star in their videos, with 26 different people showing up and playing important roles in their videos. The core group are the people who have ultimate say in what direction the group goes creatively as well as contribute the most to projects. This methodology of distinction forms a loose hierarchy within the group, but altogether act as a family would in making sure everyone is happy.