‘Pretentious Favorites’ builds community around niche films

Cale Hawkins and Cameron Wilhite run a weekly podcast centered around exploring and analyzing lesser-known movies.

Emily Coffey, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Pretentious Favorites” is one of the Torch’s up and coming podcasts, pioneered by freshman cinema and media arts major Cale Hawkins, a lifelong film enthusiast. In partnership with his close friend, freshman cinema and media arts major Cameron Wilhite, the pair explore the deeper aspects of films using their knowledge of the art medium. 


Hawkins wanted to start a podcast in Fall 2021 but was not ready to fully commit until this semester. Even though he had the concept for the podcast fully fleshed out, Hawkins lacked equipment, a co-star and a platform.

The Torch provided a platform and equipment, and a close friend and CMA classmate became his co-star, laying the groundwork for the chemistry displayed on the weekly podcast. 

We were on a short film set at the end of last semester and I was helping [Hawkins] as a cinematographer,” Wilhite said. “He brought up the idea of doing a podcast where we talked about movies that are lesser known, but are still really high quality.” 

The podcast is one of four shows the Torch puts out as part of the resurrection of the radio center that was left destitute during the pandemic. 

The beginning of this podcast goes back to Hawkin’s family culture, where he grew up critiquing films with his family, all of whom enjoy the art form. Hawkin’s mother brought him to a film festival as a child, which changed his life aspirations from becoming a firefighter to becoming a storyteller. 

“Around 12 years old, my mom bought me tickets to go with her and my cousin to a horror film festival in my hometown,” Hawkins said. “We went and I talked with this producer, Marian Madalina, who was the producer of many of Wes Craven’s films such as ‘The Scream’ series … And I was like wow, this is amazing.” 


The podcast is in its early stages, and the Instagram account dedicated to the podcast has only one hundred followers. However, according to Wilhite, the podcast is fulfilling in light of the surrounding community. As a part of the preparation for the podcast, the co-stars host an open movie night the day before they review it. This builds a sense of community and allows the ideas to be fresh in their minds before recording. 

“You can get raw reactions right afterwards and when we actually record the podcast, not only will you have already seen the movie, but you were there you were part of the experience,” Wilhite said. “It is sort of like you are a part of the team.” 

The goal of the podcast is to help people understand the importance of the lesser-known films, while helping audiences see the depth beneath plotlines. Check out the bi-weekly podcast here

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