When cinema Director Trae DeLellis plans what movies to screen, he runs into a strange dilemma. The Bill Cosford Cinema’s odd dichotomy of young college students and older moviegoers makes for an interesting mix of films.
DeLellis says Italian and French films usually do well, as does the Cosford’s opera series, but he also tries to find movies like “Hesher,” with Joseph Gordon- Levitt and Natalie Portman, to draw a younger crowd.
“The more controversial [the film], the better it’s been,” he said.
Cosford, nestled in the Oscar Dooley Memorial classroom building, is one of the few art cinemas in Miami that caters to a unique local community, and the only one that is free for students.
The theater was named after former film professor and Miami Herald film critic Bill Cosford, who helped bring the formerly named Beaumont Cinema’s art house films into the public light.
According to DeLellis, Cosford’s mission is now more important than ever, with the economy causing independent studios to shut down, and constant film franchise reboots like the “Spider-Man” series dominating the silver screen.
“Interesting films are always being made, but now it’s harder for them to get distributed,” DeLellis said. “It seems now is the most important time for art cinemas to be around.”
Aside from Cosford’s own programming, the student-run Cinematic Arts Commission (CAC) screens sneak peaks at upcoming movies, as well as second-run feature films.
“We do play indie films on weekends, but we also play modern blockbusters, which other cinemas don’t do,” said CAC chair John Lake.
This semester’s new movies will include titles like “The Hangover Part II” and “Harry Potter 7, Part 2.” Classic CAC titles will still have a strong resonance with students, with “10 Things I Hate About You” and “The Lion King” making a comeback on the big screen.
CAC hosts special events like film festivals (we hear a Disney-themed one may be in the works) and the yearly screening of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” The group screens Rocky Horror for three nights every Halloween weekend with a live shadow cast, where the audience can get up and perform with the actors.
“You get to throw things at the screen and it’s a blast,” Lake said.
This year will also mark the 14th year of the Canes Film Festival, where students can showcase their work at Cosford. Festival winners get to screen their movies in front of industry professionals in Los Angeles.
“It’s a really big deal for all the film students,” said motion pictures graduate student Maggie Drayton. “It’s our own festival where we get to screen our own films in a really cool, well run theater.”
Cosford holds film lectures too, like the one in September, which will feature a Skype phone call with director Kevin Smith after a screening of his horror movie “Red State.”
Yet the best thing about Cosford, according to DeLellis, is that it’s the one place in Miami where people know how to respect film.
“I don’t know if it’s just a Miami thing, but I’ve never been at movies where people don’t understand etiquette,” DeLellis said. “One time I was at CocoWalk, a woman took three phone calls during a movie. Everyone at Cosford is pretty respectful.”
Non-UM Students/UM Alumni and Employees/Seniors: $7
For a complete schedule of movie screenings, visit cosfordcinema.com.