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A place for academics

This January Indiana University students will have the opportunity to travel the world, go back in time, hurtle through space and watch a lion stalk her prey — all without ever leaving campus.

Students in Lecture

Photo by Kevin O. Mooney

The IU Cinema will provide not only a venue for watching film, it will offer an academic home for undergraduate and graduate students and visiting scholars to pursue the study of film.

Projecting chalkboard lessons onto the silver screen can bring any study to life, said Indiana University Cinema Director Jon Vickers.

"We're dedicated to the scholarly study of film," he said. "Using cinema as a tool for learning only widens our repertoire."

Rather than focusing on pure entertainment, the IU Cinema will dedicate up to 40 percent of its schedule to academic initiatives and partnerships, Vickers said. Interdisciplinary collaboration will benefit campus cohesiveness and increase the cinema's relevance in the IU community.

That doesn't mean learning won't be entertaining, he said.

"With the total number of films released theatrically in the U.S. each year and the tens of thousands of classic titles to choose from, choosing programming to academically relevant themes for IU Cinema is a rewarding challenge," Vickers said.

Programs focusing on all areas of study will increase the IU Cinema's potential to reach a broader range of students, he said. Additional funding resources also are available with academic partnerships, often allowing for the expansion of programs and funding guest speakers who are experts in film studies.

In November IU Cinema will release its first full schedule of programs for the 2011 spring semester. Students, professors and members of the Bloomington community will have viewing access to a wide selection of films covering an array of topics, Vickers said.

A partnership with the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction and the IU Underground Film Series will bring legendary avant-garde filmmaker Kenneth Anger to campus for an evening of film and discussion, while a collaboration with the Jacobs School of Music will feature the 1927 silent film Metropolis accompanied by a live student orchestra.

With the Department of Communication and Culture, the IU Cinema will work with the French Embassy to procure five French films that support a series of films titled "Women of International Cinema."

No subject is off limits, Vickers said.

"We have the opportunity to screen over 300 screenings per year, with an additional 60 schedule blocks held for guest lectures," he said. "Of these 360 opportunities, we are comfortable sharing the curatorial control for a percentage of these programs with our university partners."

IU Bloomington Provost and Executive Vice President Karen Hanson emphasized the interdisciplinary nature of film studies and the importance of the IU Cinema to campus academic initiatives in remarks at the groundbreaking ceremony for the facility.

"I want to underscore how widespread the serious study of film is in our campus curriculum," Hanson said. "Virtually all of our many language and literature departments include the study of film in some of their classes. Even in a department such as my academic home, philosophy, that might seem focused on perennial problems going back to the ancients, we have faculty, including me, who study and publish on this relatively new art.

"Film is an integral part of our culture," Hanson added. "The Indiana University Cinema will be a magnificent venue, appropriately housed in a space with strong ties to the world of film. This venue will allow our faculty, students — indeed, all of us — to examine how films are constructed, how they affect us, and what they can teach us about our society and the world around us."

A place for film

The majestic building that once housed the University Theatre will reopen in January 2011 as the new Indiana University Cinema, a world-class space for the scholarly study of film and the highest standards of exhibition of film in its traditional and modern forms.

The recently updated space seamlessly blends the building's classic 1930s architecture with modern lines, featuring several panels of the historic Indiana Murals painted by Thomas Hart Benton for the 1933 Chicago World's Fair. One of just 10 THX-certified university cinemas across the country, IU Cinema offers the highest quality motion picture experience available, with the best in 16mm and 35mm film projectors, as well as 2K and 4K digital cinema equipment, all of which were expertly installed by Sony.

IU Cinema will host film premieres and rare archival screenings, film festivals, conferences, filmmaker retrospectives and silent films accompanied by live music. Space will also be available for lectures, visiting film scholars and screening of materials from the IU Archives, including the Black Film Center Archive, the David Bradley Collection and the Peter Bogdanovich Collection.

The IU Cinema will strive to become one of the best public screening rooms in the country — eventually, with a film program to match — offering patrons an unforgettable, unparalleled service experience. Along with outstanding programming and exhibitions, the IU Cinema will develop touring film programs, commission new silent film scores, initiate restorations and partner with established cinemas across the U.S. to build exceptional intercollegiate programs.

For more information about IU Cinema, see http://www.indiana.edu/~iucinema/.