From watching a 35 mm version of “Citizen Kane” for a class screening to having your face splashed across campus on glossy movie posters, there are endless ways to get involved with cinema at Yale.
In the past few years, film at Yale has come into its own. Once-dead film societies have been resurrected, the film studies department has expanded, and student productions have cropped up everywhere.
The Yale Film Society was restarted in the fall of 1997 and has been going strong ever since. This group screens 35 mm films weekly in the Whitney Humanities Center. Film selections range from more recent favorites like “The Princess Bride” to older classics like “Casablanca” and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” to foreign films such as “Rashomon.”
The society also brings guests from the film community to do Master’s Teas and special screenings at Yale. It has hosted such notables as Kenneth Branagh, Al Pacino, Edward Norton and Oliver Stone in the past, as well as a multitude of producers, directors and executives.
The Yale Film Society has also hosted many sneak previews, letting Yale students see films like “American Beauty,” “Fight Club” and “Bridget Jones’s Diary” before they hit theaters. YFS Films, the production arm, has produced numerous projects, from short 16 mm films to “Blue Devil,” a feature-length film shot on digital video.
University Pictures, known as UPIX, is another film group on campus that leans heavily toward production. They hold a film festival each semester to highlight work done by Yale students, including productions helmed by UPIX members.
The latest UPIX film, “Milk,” was a hilarious and well-crafted black and white short. UPIX also sponsors workshops in film production for all levels of expertise and rents out film equipment for student use. UPIX has also had some notable guests for Master’s Teas, such as Frances McDormand this spring.
A recent addition to film on campus is Teli, a multimedia Web site (www.teli.tv) that shows short films made by teli and other campus groups, like the comedy group The Fifth Humour. They recently joined forces with the YFS to screen all of “Blue Devil” online.
Yale is a short car ride away from a few large multiplexes, but the smaller York Square Cinemas is right on campus. York Square shows many smaller independent and foreign films — titles this spring included You Can Count on Me, and Malena — as well as some bigger hits.
In addition, the Film Studies Center allows students to buy a semester pass — free to film majors — for their large video collection. Students can also watch DVDs and VHS tapes for free at the Center’s many carrels and screening rooms.
There are many opportunities to get involved with film at Yale. The film community is thriving.
Mandi Schweitzer ’03 is a film studies major and president-elect of the Yale Film Society.