For a thrifty college student, a night out at the movies is probably far-fetched. But who would pass on the opportunity to watch a free blockbuster that’s just a few minutes’ walk away?
While tickets are $5 some days for UM students at the new Coconut Grove Paragon Theatre or $10 at Sunset Place’s AMC Theatres, UM’s Cosford Cinema offers movies for free.
Though the Cinematic Arts Commission offers movies at convenient hours and the ability to catch a big-screen flick in your pajamas, many of UM’s 16,000 students seem to be oblivious of the Cosford’s options. On Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday evenings, CAC shows recent releases and advanced screenings for some movies before they hit commercial theaters.
“We are most concerned with providing movies we think the largest amount of people would come to see,” said senior Derek Stuckert, the chair of CAC.
The movies are shown at 250-seat Cosford, located on the second floor of the Memorial building, a section of campus most students pass by more than once a week. Large graphic posters of upcoming movies are showcased on the first floor beneath the theater.
CAC, part of Hurricane Productions, is a student-run programming committee that offers recently released films and pre-screenings for students, faculty and the Coral Gables community.
Last fall, CAC showed “Toy Story 3” and “Inception,” among others. “Inception” received the highest attendance among all the semester’s films, according to Stuckert and junior Brian Pigott, who attended the screening of “The Town” on Jan. 30. “The Town,” starring and directed by Ben Affleck, was CAC’s first screening of the spring semester.
“The campus has a decent awareness of the movie offerings, but I feel that has to do mostly with word of mouth,” said sophomore Elyse Mowle, the CAC secretary. “I don’t feel that most students look at the posters around campus. We normally get at least 40 students per showing, and every once in a while we get so many we have to turn people away, such as when we showed ‘Inception’ last semester or ‘The Hangover’ last year.”
Stuckert and Mowle recognize that attendance will fluctuate constantly in part because many students aren’t aware of CAC’s services.
Some attendees of “The Town” say the CAC can improve their publicity.
“I feel like it’s underground; you have to know someone [involved] to know about it,” junior Marc Friedman said. “They could have more posters, more stuff on their Web site and a Facebook thing.”
Students outside the CAC can have influence in choosing films to be screened by attending the committee’s meetings every Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in UC 211. By participating in the voting of movie choices, students can help bring films to campus that may interest a larger population.
“UM administrators don’t have a say really in what is shown; the decision is left up to students,” Stuckert said. “CAC is for the students and by the students.”
Alexa Lopez may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upcoming CAC films at the Cosford
“Space Jam”: Saturday at 10 p.m., Sunday at 8 p.m.
“Jurassic Park”: Feb. 16 at 8 and 10:30 p.m., Feb. 19 at 10 p.m., Feb. 20 at 8 p.m.
Student admission is free with Cane Card. Ticket prices for the general public and other UM community members vary. See cosfordcinema.com for more information.