Take advantage of free movie screenings around campus

Chen-Pang Chang

Being a student and a film addict can be a conflicting experience. As much as I want to go to the movies whenever I can, nine-dollar tickets stop me from going. 

Going to the theaters can also be difficult when there’s no movie theater in your neighborhood. Lucky for UT students, there are free movies around campus. The problem is most students do not take advantage of them.

Alternatives to going to the theater include watching movies on Netflix or other websites that provide cheap movie streaming. Some point out that such websites make movies accessible to as many people as possible at an affordable price. 

However, some directors started to raise their concern over the tendency of people staying at home to watch their films instead of going to theaters. Nowadays, people typically miss out on this social experience of watching a movie with other audience members.

Watching films at home may be as relaxing as going to the theater, but the movie theater experience still remains unique and irreplaceable. It represents a physical space where strangers can get away from their life and enjoy an actual shared experience. It is also the place for a classic college date that provides a unique bonding experience for lovers. We should take that opportunity and embrace the benefits of being a UT student without replacing it with alternatives such as streaming movies from Netflix.

On Wednesday and Thursday nights, UT Showtime screens recently released films at the Texas Union Theatre. It is free for all UT students. Showtime is one of the student organizations associated with Events and Entertainment Committees. They host programs and events related to film and television, including the weekly Blockbuster and Late Night Film Series. In addition, they also host the annual Texas Union Film Festival to promote young filmmakers at UT.

If you are more interested in independent or artistic films, Austin Film Society’s LEARN Program has your back. The program allows high school and undergraduate students to attend 20 signature program screenings free of charge. 

Austin Film Society is a nonprofit film society based in Austin, Texas. It was founded by a group of intellectuals, including director Richard Linklater and UT Professor Charles Ramírez Berg.

“Richard Linklater, a Ph.D. student at the time, had this idea of sharing films with people in Austin who are interested,” said  Ramírez Berg. “I was there, because I’m one of those people who are interested in film.” 

AFS was founded in 1985 after Linklater realized that he could apply for grants to help him with films he is presenting. Ramírez Berg was invited by Linklater to join a board of directors to help manage the film society’s affairs.

“Like going to see a band live rather than see a video on YouTube or listening to them on iTunes,” Ramírez Berg said. “Moviegoing was a special time and place — a night out, an afternoon away from your life. A sort of cinematic and maybe artistic time out with a movie, actors, and filmmakers.”

All in all, free movies are available around campus. They remove the financial obstacle of going to the theater and are within reachable distance. It provides students with quintessential opportunity to go to the movies without having to pay much.

With exam week coming soon, we are all going to feel enormous stress from exams and schoolwork. So, take a time out and share a cinematic experience with your friends on a Thursday night.

Chang is a Philosophy junior from New Taipei, Taiwan.