by Victoria Ungvarsky
It’s hard to see a good movie during the school year.
Every cinephile at Kenyon knows the struggles of figuring out the shuttle schedule and dealing with the limited selection at the Mount Vernon Premiere Theatre.
Even then, it is difficult to get access to many films, both new and old. But new student group Cinearts wants to make movies — mainstream and indie — an active part of campus culture.
“We’re filling this void on campus of being able to see movies and talk about film and have film be part of student life,” Cinearts President-elect Eileen Cartter ’16, who is also the Collegian’s associate copy editor, said. “Young people are interested in film. It’s good to be able to have a place to watch movies and talk about them.” Cartter is one of the founding members of Cinearts and will serve as its president next year.
The idea for a film organization began with Natasha Ritsma, the Gund Gallery’s curator of academic programs, who sought to bring movies to students through the Gallery. After putting out fliers during the activities fair, Ritsma amassed 14 interested students for Cinearts, a student-run organization to create a film community on campus through collaboration with the Gund Gallery.
“We represent the tastes of the campus. We’re not just a high-brow film group that only shows French New Wave films,” Lauren Berke ’14 said. Berke is the current president of Cinearts. Their movie choices have run the gamut from edgy documentaries like The Act of Killing to student favorites like The Royal Tenenbaums, which will play in the Community Foundation Theater this Friday at 7 p.m.
The close relationship with the Gund Gallery provides Cinearts rare opportunities to showcase different films. Typically, the group looks ahead to upcoming exhibits at the Gallery, and plans movies that thematically fit with ideas from the show.
One of the Gallery’s most recent shows, “Color: Theories and Structures,” inspired the screenings for Tenenbaums and A Single Man. By linking the two organizations together, Cinearts invites students to experience an overarching theme through different media.
Although obtaining the rights for the less-recent films, such as Before Sunset, has been relatively easy, it has proved more costly to get the rights for recent, Oscar-nominated movies, such as 12 Years a Slave and Her. The rights for the cheapest films are about $250, but a new release can run triple that amount. The money for the bigger-name films has come from Social Board, of which Berke is also the president.
“We’re [at Kenyon] during the year, but we also want to be able to see the movies that are shown in other places,” Cartter said about the availability of films.
Besides showing films, Cinearts is searching for more avenues to share their members’ passion for film. During Oscar season, the organization hosted a lunch discussion with Professor of Drama Jon Tazewell about the nature of awards shows within Hollywood and for moviegoers.
“He was asking us, ‘What do the Oscars mean for movies?’” Cartter said. “‘Is it a valid way of judging a film? What do we associate with the value of Oscars? Why do we get excited about it every year?’”
For a new organization, Cinearts has already accomplished an impressive amount. “I like being a part of a film community,” Berke said. “I just really like talking about movies and it’s really cool to have a group where we talk about movies every week, and we can transform that into a group for the whole campus so everyone can participate in that community.”
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