A Night Out At The Movies

Campus Cinema Brings The Theater To NMU

Going to the theater to enjoy a movie is a great way for NMU students to take a break from studying and reduce the stress from an otherwise chaotic semester. What’s even better is being able to do that free of charge. Campus Cinema is a film lover’s dream, showing films that are in the limbo stage between the theatrical premiere and the DVD release.

Senior business management major Joe Kubis is president of Campus Cinema and has been working there for three years. While Kubis enjoys working for Campus Cinema and has a lot of fun with the people who work there, being president comes with a lot of responsibility.

“Aside from arranging to purchase the rights of the films that we’re showing and managing the other campus cinema members at each showing, it’s also my responsibility to get advertisements made for the club,” Kubis said. “I’m also responsible for making sure the duties of the other officers are being attended to.”

The selection of which movies are to be shown is the most difficult part of the whole process, Kubis said, as the films they would like to screen are not always available.

“We try to show films that people really want, but sometimes we have to resort to picking ones that are more readily available. Because several films (this semester) had declared home video releases sooner than what was expected I had to move around the schedule and put in some other films to take their places.”

There’s no guarantee as to which films will be available to screen. There are even times where directors will flat-out prohibit the showing of their film.

“A few years ago, we really wanted to show the original (not digitally enhanced) ‘Star Wars’ movies, the ones that were shown in theaters back in 1977 and ’80s,” Kubis said. “We were forbidden from doing so by George Lucas, himself. We were not allowed to show anything but the (digitally enhanced) versions of the movies.”

Once a film hits DVD though, no more effort is made to secure the rights to it.

“It would defeat the purpose because we don’t show DVD films for our main feature; that’s not how we run. If we did show anything that’s already come out on DVD, it’s a classical release.”

Campus Cinema must pay a fee to receive any movie it plans to show. For instance, the fee for “The Dark Knight” was between $800 and $900. The group must also inform the distributor as to how many times they plan on screening the film.

“We have to establish what days specifically that we are showing it,” Kubis said. “We cannot simply say that we’re showing it one day, but then show it the next day.”

Jon Barch is the advisor for Campus Cinema and says that joining either Gonzo Media or Campus Cinema is very easy and they’re always looking for members.

“Just go (to a meeting). You’re in. They want you. If you’re interested, go.”

Gonzo Media Showcases Unique and Classical Films

The words alternative, cult and unique all have one thing in common – they’re synonymous with Gonzo Media, NMU’s student-run organization known for showing offbeat films. Dating back to 1975, Gonzo has been screening movies that students may have never heard of and are often unavailable in local video stores.

Senior digital cinema major and president of Gonzo, Sean Schoenherr, has always been passionate about movies.

“Seeing a group on campus devoted to film, and to art films and foreign films in particular, really appealed to me,” Schoenherr said. “I love the art of film.”

Although Gonzo is not the only club on campus that shows film, the members of the group tend to shy away from the films that Campus Cinema shows.

“There’s no explicit rule against big production Hollywood films,” Schoenherr said. “I think everyone just intuitively avoids it. That’s what Campus Cinema is for. Gonzo is for alternative films.”

To decide which films are going to be shown, the members of Gonzo meet near the end of the semester. Each person puts forth a suggestion on what films he or she would like to have shown. At the bare minimum Gonzo screens one documentary a semester and nearly one-third of the semester’s schedule is comprised of foreign films.

“Lately we’ve been emphasizing classic films, as well,” Schoenherr said. “We’ve included films such as ‘Seven Samurai,’ ‘Citizen Kane’ and ‘The Bicycle Thief’ this semester.”

No film can be shown twice within a four-year period, which means a student can attend Gonzo every Thursday throughout their stay at NMU and always see something new.

While every effort is made to show unique films, problems do come up. Last week, “Perfect Blue” was scheduled to be screened, but an issue with securing the rights to show the film stopped it from being presented.

“Every semester it seems we have one film that we end up unable to show due to a lack of rights. This semester we had to replace ‘Perfect Blue’ with ‘Metropolis’ (2001) . It’s been a bit of a hassle.”

The acquisition of films to be shown is done through distribution companies that specialize in providing films for non-theatrical viewings, similar to what Gonzo does, Schoenherr said. Obtaining rights can take weeks to accomplish.

“For ‘Taste of Tea,’ I had to contact the distribution company for the DVD directly,” Schoenherr said. “I’ve been talking to one of the representatives for a few weeks now and we’re just now getting the rights. It’s a little hectic and time-consuming, but it’s very rewarding too. I’m going to feel really proud when I show it next week.”

Obtaining permission, or getting the rights to show a film is not just a law, but a bank breaker, as well.

“Any one film can range between an average of maybe $300 to $600,” Schoenherr said. “Generally speaking, the newer the film, the more we have to pay for it, so our cheapest films are usually classics from Janus (distribution), like Kurosawa’s films.”

Attendance for Gonzo depends on the film being shown and the time in the semester in which it will be screened, Schoenherr said.

“Lesser-known films and bad times can get lower showings, maybe 20 or 30 (people). We’ve had a few really big ones, though, like when we showed the films ‘300’ or ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ in previous years.”

Advisor to Gonzo Media Jon Barch said that it’s quite easy to start your own film club and that anyone can do it.

“You can walk over to 1205 (University Center) and get a student organization registration form, you would be the president, you would have to find an advisor and you’ve got a group.”

With the exception of spring break and exam week, Gonzo Media will screen films every Thursday in Jamrich 102 at 9 p.m. Admission is free for students and $1 for non-students.

Oscar ’09 Picks

Best Picture


Everything about this film was absolutely incredible, from the story, to the cast and especially the cinematography. It’s easily the best film in the running.


I’m sure it won’t win, and its politics may actually hinder its chances, but it’s an important film and a best picture win is a guarantee that it will be seen by even more people.


“Slumdog Millionaire” will be the big winner. The much discussed “Curious Case of Benjamin Button” is a disappointment. Other films do not seem to have a scope that Hollywood usually favors.

Best Director


Although I was completely let down by “Benjamin Button,” Fincher did a great job directing it. And we all know the Academy likes to reward careers, and after they ignored Fincher’s amazing “Zodiac,” he definitely deserves the Best Director award.


Fincher’s a great director, and while I wish he was nominated for something other than “Button,” he deserves this award, even if only in recognition for his entire body of work.


Best films are usually directed by best directors.

Best Actor


Everyone loves a comeback, and Rourke’s giving us just that. He should definitely win just to see how entertaining his acceptance speech will be.


The praise and awards Rourke has already received for his performance makes him a shoo-in to take home the best actor trophy.


Mickey Rourke, even though Frank Langella is a strong contender. The award will go to the comeback kid.

Best Actress


I don’t care if Kate Winslet has never won an Oscar, she was mediocre in “The Reader.” Streep, on the other hand, delivered one of the best performances in years in “Doubt.”


Winslet has been nominated so many times that I just want to see her win. If she does take home the gold, it will be because of her collected performances and not “The Reader.”


Everybody tells me that this is her year. and there is nothing I can do about it. She has been nominated several times before and she is going to win this year despite the fact that the character she plays is not a typical “Oscar role.”

Best Original Screenplay


Not only does “Wall-E” deserve this award, but it deserved to be nominated for Best Picture. It’s really a shame since this was one of the best movies in years, and quite possibly the best animated film ever.


Wall-E might be the first film nominated in this category that has no major dialogue in the first half of the film. It’s truly a brilliant masterpiece.


“In Bruges” offers an intelligent reworking of a gangster film. Perhaps not a highly innovative script, but it might be enough to secure the Oscar.