SUB movie committee brings award-winning films to campus
Alexandra Muck | Friday, March 24, 2017
Though many students associate room 101 in DeBartolo Hall with large classes such as chemistry or biology, the lecture hall becomes a movie theater on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights with the help of the Student Union Board’s (SUB) movie committee members.
Junior Daniel Riley heads the committee, which is comprised of dorm representatives and student SUB members. In total, the ten committee members work with graphic designers and a publicity team to bring 10 movies to campus each semester.
The committee members work on the movie lineups for half a semester at a time, ensuring they will have access to the movies, since release dates often change. To pick the movies, Riley said the committee members first peruse the list of available films from two third-party sites that deal directly with movie production companies for the rights to a film, which organizations can then rent. Then the committee members who have seen the films give input about the movies on the list.
“We find out which ones are the popular ones that we think the majority of the student body would like, as well as maybe some of the hidden gems that we think are worth showing that maybe there’s not a huge following for,” Riley said.
The committee members also look for movies from a variety of genres, Riley said.
“We do search for a little bit of diversity,” he said. “We try to get one family movie in [during a half semester period] … We don’t want it to be all comedy or all drama.”
Once the committee members have made their selections, Riley emails his contacts at the sites. The committee gets the movies either through a pre-released DVD or downloading and streaming from a router box, and must return the movies when they are finished with them.
“Because we are a college campus, we do get a bit of an advanced screening on it,” he said. “For example, ‘La La Land’ — my guess is it won’t be out on DVD for another month or so, at the earliest. … You actually get to see them before you would have the access on pay-per-view, Netflix, DVD, things like that.”
While attendance varies with different movies, Riley said a weekend’s showings will typically average between 100 and 300 people, although “Moana” attracted over 600 people. Riley said most people attend the 8 p.m. showings on Fridays or Saturdays.
Because bringing the movies to campus is not free, the committee uses its budget and revenue from people who attend the movie to fund the movie nights. While the committee can cover all costs with some movies, Riley said, it takes a loss on others.
One such film, “Hunt for the Wilderpeople,” is Riley’s favorite film of the ones he has brought to campus. Riley called the film a “special gem,” and said while the attendance for the film was small, the people who saw it enjoyed it.
“We don’t make all our money back from the cost of renting a movie like that, but it does make me very happy [to see] how the student body gets excited for it as well,” he said.
The rest of this semester’s SUB movie lineup features Academy Award-nominated films “Hidden Figures,” “Moonlight” and “Fences,” as well as “The Lego Batman Movie.” The committee will also be showing “The Breakfast Club” for AnTostal week.
Students who are interested in following the movies on campus for a given week can email Riley at [email protected] to be added to the movie email list. Riley said the email list has over 150 members, and members receive information about the schedule and special movie promotions.