Midnight movie date
Main Page Content
Between smart phones, tablets, televisions, and more, it seems that there are endless options for devices on which to watch a movie.
Artwork by Dustin Smart.
But film fanatics will tell you that nothing quite compares to going to the theater.
There’s the big screen. The surround sound. And the fellowship of fans.
“It’s just a different vibe when you see a movie in a theater,” says Christina Buckles, programming director for the Bijou Cinema, the University of Iowa’s student-run movie house. “For a lot of people, it’s about the shared experience of seeing a film with other people who love movies.”
That’s the experience that a local partnership has been bringing back to downtown Iowa City since August 2011 with the Midnight Movie Series.
April 7: Moulin Rouge
April 14: The Room
May 5: Memento
Admission is free for UI students with a valid University ID, and $3 for the general public.
A collaboration between the Bijou Cinema, the university’s student-run movie house; the Campus Activities Board, the university’s student programming group; and the historic Englert Theatre, the movie series brings cult classics and other popular movies back to the big screen as a late-night off-campus entertainment option for students and community members alike.
M.C. Ginsberg Jewelers also is a partner in the series, offering promotional and marketing support.
“The Englert enjoys the Midnight Movie Series because it reflects an earnest collaboration between the University of Iowa and downtown Iowa City to provide exciting weekend events for all types of people,” says Andre Perry, the Englert’s executive director. “We will always support events that bring different parts of our community together for a positive shared experience.”
And the students involved with CAB and the Bijou say they appreciate the opportunity to hold events off-campus, and to increase the number of alcohol-free late-night entertainment options downtown.
Movies are shown biweekly on Saturday nights (or, technically, very early on Sunday mornings) during the academic year as the Englert’s schedule allows. During the fall semester, nearly 800 people attended the movies.
The films are selected by students on the executive boards of CAB and the Bijou. Each group also brings movies to campus, each with a slightly different focus.
CAB typically books wide-release movies that were popular in theaters, and haven’t been released on DVD yet. They’re usually movies that students know about, but often haven’t had a chance to see, because the local multiplexes aren’t near campus.
The Bijou focuses on the other side of the silver screen: independent, art house, foreign, and classic cinema. The types of movies you might see playing in art houses in big cities, but probably wouldn’t find anywhere else in Iowa City.
“We have two slightly different perspectives, and that creates a nice balance,” Buckles says. “With this series, we’re all striving for a lineup of movies that’s going to draw a large audience.”
To do that, the organizers have found a niche: movies that have a devoted group of fans. Cult classics, for example, or films that may have been childhood favorites of today’s generation of college students.
This year’s Midnight Movies have ranged from Donnie Darko to Ghostbusters to Casablanca. The most popular so far? The Princess Bride.
“There were people in the audience who were calling out the lines,” Buckles says. “Because movies like The Princess Bride have a following and people watch them over and over, there’s really a community aspect to these showings. There’s a lot of interaction.”