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September 2, 2009
By Jon Fortenbury
Offering movies no longer in the theater nor available for rent, a community you won’t find elsewhere and freeness likely non-existent in the real world, the “Thursday Night Free Movie Series” returns to the University this fall, taking place every Thursday at 9 p.m. on the Joe Crowley Student Union lawn.
With new movies such as “Star Trek” and “The Hangover,” this series is expected to once again be a hit. Not only is the featured movie free and viewed on a large screen, there’s free popcorn, cotton candy and soda.
“This really contributes to that total college experience that I think the University is providing to students,” said Jeannette Smith, coordinator of Joe Crowley Student Union programming and marketing.
In addition to this movie series, ASUN Flipside will also be hosting “Dinner and a Movie” on Friday evenings. Partnering with the newly opened Cantina del Lobo, Flipside will be showing an independent or classic film at 7 p.m. in the Joe Crowley Student Union Theatre, while Cantina del Lobo will be promoting its fajita Friday specials. This series includes movies such as “The Lion King” and “Sunshine Cleaning.”
Casey Stiteler, ASUN director of programming, thinks both series contribute to the “sticky campus” that President Milton Glick often talks about, making students want to hang around campus even after their classes end.
“It makes the campus look inviting,” Stiteler said. “It’s homey having a movie showing every Thursday night and it’s something fun to do that’s not during your regular class times.”
Originating in 2004 with movies shown on the side wall of the Thompson Building, the movie series has dramatically evolved. When it started, the series was run by the Residence Hall Association (RHA), Residential Life, Jot Travis Student Union, ASUN, ASUN Flipside and ATOD Prevention. Now it’s run solely by ASUN Flipside.
The “Thursday Night Free Movie Series” has also increased its number of attendees. Now each movie has more than 200 students attending. Due to the enormous number of students attending the movies this past summer, there were two show times for each movie. Depending on attendance this fall, the series could return to two show times if necessary.
How these series will evolve in the future remains unclear. Stiteler would love for ASUN Flipside to have some sort of a film festival in addition to the movie series. Agreeing with Stiteler, Smith also thinks it would be worthwhile to have screenwriters and film directors attend events as guest speakers.
No matter where the series heads, Stiteler thinks there are compelling reasons to attend.
“The main reason to come out to the movie series isn’t just because it’s a good movie, but it’s become a social event on campus,” Stiteler said. “You could go home, put on pajamas and watch movies or you could put on your pajamas, come to the Student Union and watch the movie with tons of students.”