New film course features IU Cinema

Laurel Demkovich • Sept. 6, 2017
Stephanie DeBoer, associate professor, introduced art curator Isaac Leung. (Emma Knutson | The Media School)
Media School associate professor Stephanie DeBoer will teach COLL-X101: The IU Film Experience. (Emma Knutson | The Media School)

Do you love when your professor decides to show a movie for a class instead of lecturing? With a new course taught by a Media School professor, you could have the opportunity to watch a movie every week.

The College of Arts and Sciences, in a partnership with the IU Cinema, is offering a new second-eight week class, COLL-X101: The IU Film Experience. Students enrolled will attend weekly viewings at the IU Cinema, which will guide the course readings and discussions.

The course will focus on the contemporary film experience. Where does the cinema fit in with a wide array of viewing screens, such as laptops and cell phones?

Media School associate professor Stephanie DeBoer will teach the class. One of her main goals for the course is bringing awareness to the Cinema.

“It’s an amazing resource on campus, and many people don’t know it exists,” DeBoer said. “Once they go in and see a movie, they appreciate it so much more.”

In the current media context, people can watch movies everywhere, from their phone to their laptop to movie theaters, DeBoer said. The course will focus on what cinema means in today’s society.

“What is cinema at a moment like this?” DeBoer said. “It still holds a valuable place, but what is it?”

DeBoer said she also wants students to gain an appreciation for the range of film expression.

We hope that students will learn the value of taking a chance on something unknown. When they do, they experience something pretty powerful.
Jon Vickers, founding director of the IU Cinema

Film is not just one thing, DeBoer said. It’s a range of things, and the Cinema is an important resource for seeing that range. The Cinema shows everything from independent films to foreign language films to Hollywood films.

The class will meet from 4:40-5:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays every week. After class on Thursdays, the students will then head to the Cinema for their weekly screenings. Students will complete short readings to provide better context for the viewings and the class discussions.

The films will range from everything from Mudbound, a contemporary independent film that is receiving Oscar buzz, and Dirty Dancing, the 1980s classic that is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. For many viewings, a filmmaker will be present to talk with students.

Jon Vickers, founding director of the IU Cinema, said he programmed the class just as he normally programs any series.

“Faculty at The Media School trust in the programming at the IU Cinema, and we’re really honored about that,” Vickers said. “They didn’t guide any programming for this class.”

Vickers said he hopes students will put their trust in the curator and gain a willingness to try something new, even if they don’t know much about it.

“We hope that students will learn the value of taking a chance on something unknown,” Vickers said. “When they do, they experience something pretty powerful.”

This is the first time a course syllabus is completely based on what the Cinema is screening, Vickers said. It’s an experiment, and he hopes to be able to continue the class in the future.

Currently, there are 13 students enrolled in the class, but DeBoer said there’s room for many more. Students don’t have to be Media School students. Anyone on campus who’s interested in film can take it.

DeBoer said she is excited to get started and to get more students into the Cinema.

“I’ve seen people amazingly impressed by the IU Cinema,” DeBoer said. “It’s the best campus venue I know of anywhere.”