Campus cinema

University offers great opportunities to see, make movies

By Emerald Gao

Got free time? (Well, not likely now that you’re at the U of C, but let’s just say for the sake of argument…) Want to watch a movie, but AMC River East seems farther than Mordor or Oz? Fear not, intrepid film fan, for there are solutions close to home.

One of the oldest and best resources is located right on campus. Doc Films

(, the longest running student film society in America, shows films every single day of the academic school year at the Max Palevsky Cinema in Ida Noyes Hall for only $5 per ticket. It’s not just students who appreciate this convenience, though; film lovers come from all over the Chicago area because Doc has long been committed to showing culturally relevant and socially aware films using cutting-edge technology and meeting the highest standard of digital sound.

Doc’s film calendar is arranged into series of films, with a different focus for every night of the week. William Hart westerns find their place alongside Mormonsploitation, and Akira Kurosawa mingles with Ousmane Sembène, just to give you an idea of last fall quarter’s offerings. Fridays and Saturdays are reserved for fresh-from-the-theater releases—second-run films from the past season shown twice or three times each night because of the high demand.

Film students interested in a hands-on experience should check out Fire Escape (, the student filmmaking group of the U of C. Through collaboration and training, Fire Escape not only provides students with the necessary skills for making their films, but also helps them with their creative endeavors. In the past few years, several longer-length films have been made and found their way to festivals. Fire Escape executes one large-scale project each year in addition to a fall preview during O-Week and a Spring Film Festival, which showcases the year’s best projects.