Group aims to reel in funds for 35mm films

Movie snob or not, Miye Bromberg ’05 believes it — 35mm films are just better.

Bromberg, working with a group of fellow undergraduate and graduate film fans, is seeking to secure $15,000 from the administration to fund weekly public screenings of 35mm films. The group is currently circulating an online petition to collect signatures from those in the Yale community who are in favor of their proposal. As of Thursday evening, the petition had over 200 signatures.

The group would hold frequent screenings of classic and contemporary 35mm films, Bromberg said. She said films would likely be selected by a collaborative board of undergraduates, graduate students and, potentially, faculty members, although final plans for structuring the program would be dependent on how much financing is available.

“We want a group that will sort of represent all the different branches of Yale University, and that way we will also be broadening our appeal,” she said. “What will actually happen with the money is dependent on how much money we would get.”

The group plans to screen 35mm films, generally regarded as the best quality of film. But Bromberg said screening such films can cost nearly $600 once the film has been rented, permission from the copyright holder is secured, and the projectionist is paid. It is because of the high cost associated with showing 35mm films that the group is seeking financial assistance from the administration, Bromberg said.

Dudley Andrew, co-chair and director of graduate studies for the Film Studies Program, said the quality and crispness of images from 35mm film are still unparalleled. He added that the Whitney Humanities Center, where Yale’s 35mm camera is located, is a particularly excellent place for watching films.

“It’s just like seeing paintings versus seeing slides or reproductions paintings,” he said. “Seeing a film in 35mm is an experience, and it’s not something that you just glance at. It’s the real thing.”

Maria Rosa Menocal, a professor of Spanish and Portugese and the director of the humanities center, said she has not yet been approached by the group about establishing a regular program of screenings.

Although Andrew said he supports bringing 35mm films to Yale, he said any successful program will need to be somewhat self-sustaining and not entirely dependent on a grant of outside money.

“I do think there should be some University support, in the way that the University supports student theater productions and other cultural aspects, but there also have to be lot of work by the students to try to galvanize their friends to come to things,” he said. “Students really also need to think about how to get interest and pay for some of it.”

Jeremi Szaniawski GRD ’10 said attracting interested students to attend the films is one of the primary goals of the petition’s organizers, as the experience of seeing a film, he said, is not the same without the social atmosphere of a crowded cinema.

Those who signed the petition said the proposed screenings program would supplement Yale’s current cultural programs and would introduce students to films which they might not have thought to rent otherwise.

“I think it’s very important to have classics available, especially to young people who might not be familiar with them otherwise,” Una Belau, the coordinator of Fellowship and Education programs at the Beinecke Library, said. “Film is a very important part of our cultural heritage.”

Bromberg said the group is hoping to meet with the administration sometime in the coming week to present the petition. Yale College Dean Peter Salovey could not be reached for comment.

A 35mm film projector sits unused in the second floor projection room of the Whitney Humanities Center. Students are seeking University support to fund weekly screenings.
Stephanie Dziczek
A 35mm film projector sits unused in the second floor projection room of the Whitney Humanities Center. Students are seeking University support to fund weekly screenings.

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