The International Film Series at CU Boulder
CU Boulder is always filled to the brim with things to do and see. I may have my own criticisms about the university, but I can honestly say that there is a plethora of activities to participate in. One of my favorite programs at CU Boulder is IFS, or the International Film Series. However, it also seems to be a hidden gem within the college. As someone who has attended CU Boulder’s IFS multiple times, each time I go, there always seem to be far fewer people than I would have anticipated. And yes, I am fully aware that the types of films offered at IFS are not for everyone, but I would love to make an argument for my fellow students to attend. From what I have heard around campus, a significant reason that many of my fellow students choose not to participate in the International Film Series is that they are not film students themselves, and as such will not gain anything from the movies. However, I would beg to differ. Even for my fellow peers who are not film students, IFS offers many films which one might not have the opportunity to see elsewhere.
A question which I had before being introduced to the International Film Series was, “what kind of films are screened?”. That is truly what makes up the program. For the most part, the types of films offered are not what you will find at the Century Theatre. These films are, typically, more independently oriented and, as one would guess, international. For example, on October 16th, “Djam,” the French film directed by Tony Gatlif, was screened. On October 19th and 20th, “Studio 54,” an English language documentary, was shown. There is very clearly a wide variety of movies being shown. Depending on what a person is looking for, they can find a vast number of films offered. The
entire schedule of IFS is available through the program’s website. I also imagine that cost is another major concern for my fellow students. As such, perhaps the best news that I can give to my peers is that CU Film Students get into these films for free. However, if you are not a student, the price is $8 for general admission, you can also purchase a $50 punch card which is good for ten films. The rate is lowered to $7 for those with a UCB student ID and senior citizens. This discount also extends for those with a bike helmet. As an added bonus, the film series is free to get in if it is one’s birthday.
When I first looked at the films being offered through this program, even I was skeptical about if I would enjoy attending. So, perhaps I can appeal to my fellow reluctant students by discussing my personal experience going to IFS. The first time I went, it was for a class. It was also a relatively long film and the start time was quite late at night. For any of those who might be interested, it was “The Right Stuff,” which clocks in at just over three hours. You can imagine that this might be a reason for a loss of excitement. However, it did not take long for me to be sucked into the magic of collectively watching a film with other people in a large, dark theatre. Everyone in the auditorium was so involved in the film, and even for someone who is not typically drawn to that type of movie, everyone else’s attitude created an atmosphere. Not only was the enjoyment of the audience palpable, but the
film itself was screened in incredibly quality; this extends for many of the films being shown at IFS, as the program is quite proud that a number of their films are screened in 35-millimeter.
We are in an age where many of the films we watch are on small screens and devices, such as computers, tablets, and phones. I cannot deny that I greatly enjoy viewing movies in this way; it is so much more private than being in a loud, crowded, noisy, and possibly even messy theater. However, there is a genuine benefit to going to view films in a collective setting. Some would argue that this is how movies are meant to be seen. I would also like to add that the Muenzinger Auditorium, where nearly all of these films are screened, is not gross, nor it is loud or crowded. This program, in my opinion, is one of the best things to come out of CU Boulder, and I would hate to think that it could disappear due to lack of interest. There are so many films and, indeed, ideas, that I would never have been introduced to if not for IFS. For my fellow students, I would implore you to give these films a chance. You never know what kind of knowledge you can gain from something like this.