Not all movie theaters are 24-screen megaplexes replete with screaming teenagers and $10 soda.
The Cosford Cinema, the University of Miami’s on-campus theater, has been inviting moviegoers to come and enjoy all kinds of films – from Hollywood blockbusters to low-budget student pictures – for five decades.
What is today known as the Bill Cosford Cinema began its life in 1947 as the Beaumont Lecture Hall within the newly built Memorial Classroom Building. That eventually became the Beaumont Cinema and began screening films in the 1950s.
It underwent a major renovation in 1995, replacing the old sound and projection equipment with a Dolby Digital surround sound system and 35 millimeter CinemaScope projectors. An overall facelift was given to the 240-seat movie house.
In 1997, the theater was renamed in honor of Bill Cosford, The Miami Herald film critic and adjunct professor in the University of Miami film program who died at the age of 47. Cosford worked to transform the theater into a haven for art house, independent and student films.
Cosford’s vision is alive and well in the theater that bears his name. The Cosford Cinema is one of the host theaters for the Miami International Film Festival, which has displayed hundreds of renowned short, independent and foreign films for more than 25 years. It also hosts the Canes Film Festival, a showcase of movies produced by UM film students.
“We use the Cosford Cinema as part of the partnership we have with UM and also because it is very important for the festival to have some screenings in a theater inside the university close to the students,” said Valeria Sorrentino, assistant director for programming and events for the Miami International Film Festival.
Thanks to the Cinematic Arts Commission (CAC), the Cosford Cinema also runs its share of Hollywood movies. Several advance screenings of major studio productions play at the Cosford, and a number of films hit the screen after their theatrical runs are up.
Its versatility and proximity have made it popular among students.
“The great thing about Cosford is that you can watch a major Hollywood movie one day and see a low-budget indie movie that nobody’s ever heard of another day,” junior Alejandro Fonseca said.
As the Cosford enters its 52nd year, it provides a respite from the modern movie cineplex in a unique and convenient location.
“The Cosford is a great venue for movies. It’s a movie theater on campus so I don’t know what more we can ask for,” Scott Sande R, the former chair of the CAC, said. “A lot of people I know remember when they were walking through Miami at orientation and were blown away that there was a movie theater right in the middle of Memorial.”