UPAC Cinema highlights student interests through recent, classic film selections

Two weeks ago, I went to see Thor: Ragnarok at the Union Programs and Activities Committee Cinema on campus. While I was going to see this movie for the first time, I noticed that a lot of people around me were there to experience this movie for the second or even third time. I would say that I am definitely a newbie to superhero movies and maybe don’t care as much about them, but that is not the case for the majority of our campus. Having an on-campus theater offering relatively new movies means a lot to the students.

The UPAC is a collection of student-run clubs, which all serve the greater purpose of providing students with a variety of entertainment. One club associated with UPAC is UPAC Cinema, which maintains a theater in the Daren Communication Center on the weekends. They showcase a variety of movies: Friday movies are newer and based on box office reviews, while Saturday movies are more artsy and sometimes requested by other clubs on campus.

When I go to see a specific movie at UPAC Cinema, I don’t think about everything it takes to put that movie on. UPAC Cinema Chairperson Peter Straub ’19, gave insight on what takes place in the background. They hold weekly meetings to decide what movies to show and determine a schedule. Then, they must see if the distributors they know can give them the rights to these movies. Obtaining movie rights is more expensive than I would have expected. On average, the Friday movies UPAC Cinema shows cost about $950, while the Saturday movies, which are less popular, cost around $600. In addition, sometimes the club has showings of movies before they are released in theaters; these are generally sponsored and lesser known movies that are attempting to widen their demographic.

As part of movie preparation, UPAC Cinema has trained members who know how to work the projector. This training involves shadowing a current projectionist and going through three disaster sessions. A disaster session is a scenario in which chaos is intentionally introduced to the trainee, and they are expected to handle the situation. While this sounds intimidating, it is necessary for the projectionists to be trained so they can correctly use the equipment. Straub emphasized the many interesting things they can do with their equipment, which is his favorite reason for being part of UPAC Cinema.

A The second half of their semester viewings starts off on the weekend of March 16 with I, Tonya on Friday, as well as the classic Animal House on Saturday, March 17. Throughout the rest of March, they will be showing other great movies, including Mean Girls and Fargo. One particular movie to look out for is Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which will be showing on April 12. With such a central location on campus, watching a movie at UPAC Cinema is definitely a great way to spend your weekend nights!