An Escape from Mainstream Cinema

“International cinema allows people to learn about different cultures, customs, languages and arts,” says Mark Olsen, the coordinator of integrated and interdisciplinary studies at UVU and cinema studies club advisor.

Many students are unaware that the cinema studies club offers free admission to international films in LI 120 on Thursdays from 7 to 9:30. The showing schedule can be found at

“Foreign films remind us that there are six billion other people on the planet, and that most of them think and act differently than we do,” said Tyler Barnum, president of the cinema studies club.

The films are shown with the original un-edited content, so prospective attendees are encouraged to research whether or not they will find the subject matter of each particular film offensive.

“A great deal of work goes into making a film,” Olsen said. “Those who have a hand in its creation view it as a work of art. To have someone come along, cut portions out, and show it compromises the artist’s vision in my opinion.”

Something to note is that the rating provided by the film club is most often determined by the films’ country of origin rather than by the MPAA. “There is a certain cultural bias within the MPAA that I don’t agree with and the individuals involved in the rating process aren’t necessarily qualified,” Olsen observed.

Olsen favors the rating system in countries such as Sweden which hires scientific professionals in the field of behavioral sciences to rate films based upon whether or not a film is harmful psychologically or behaviorally for particular age groups.

When choosing films to show, the demographic makeup of UVU is taken into significant consideration. “We want to increase awareness of different cultures and allow our international student population representation in the hopes of aiding them in their transition.” Olsen said.

“We want to organize a Utah Valley Film Festival for next spring,” said Rob Steffen, vice president of the cinema studies club. “We would love to create a venue for students to exhibit their own work. Anyone wanting to get involved should get in contact with the club.”

The cinema studies club has collaborated with the Peace and Justice, Animal Allies, Gender Studies and Native Sun clubs in presenting films with content pertinent to each group. In doing so, they have raised awareness regarding significant issues that students are and will continue dealing with throughout life.

Each film is introduced by a faculty member and is afterwards discussed by anyone who chooses to participate.The cinema studies club meets after these discussions, and anyone is welcome to join. Students and faculty are encouraged to suggest the films they would personally like to be shown at international cinema.

On March 26th they will be showing Once, a low-budget Irish film released in 2007. The film revolves around two struggling musicians, their respect and attraction for one another and their challenges in life. The film won a number of awards, including a 2008 Academy Award for best original song.

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