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Cinema marks new point for IU history


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By Isabel Dieppa




After walking in from the blistering cold with hopes to see the film “Lawerence of Arabia,” second year Kelley School graduate student Siddharth Jain was sad to find out the show was sold out.

The film premiered for the new IU Cinema grand opening Thursday night.
Ready to walk out, Jain was surprised when another patron gave him an extra ticket he had to watch the film.

“I heard a lot about this movie, and I haven’t watched it ’til now,” Jain said. “I was about to leave, but this is wonderful.”

The buzz and anticipation for the grand opening of the IU Cinema has been culminating for the past 15 months since the start of the theater’s restoration.

“I’m very excited,” IU alumnus Drew Davdelin, who graduated last spring, said. “It’s great for the city because there is no independent theater here. I traveled here specifically from Franklin to see this.”

The cinema, which is THX certified, has a 16 mm and a 35 mm projector. The cinema is also 3-D and reel-to-reel capable, allowing the theater to eventually show any of the 82,000 movie reels the University has in its archives, IU Cinema Director Jon Vickers said.

With state-of-the-art technology, enthusiasts of the new cinema hope it becomes one of the best cinemas in the country.

“I am absolutely delighted,” IU President Michael McRobbie said. “This is a great moment in IU history. It’s a great facility, and now, like the MAC and the art museum, we have a place to see great pieces of cinematic art.”

The interior of the theater has been restored to its former glory. Four murals, created by Thomas Hart Benton for the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair and also known as the “Indiana Murals,” have been fully restored.

“I had seen when the murals were being restored at the IU Art Museum,” said Art Director for the Offices of Public Affairs Chris Meyer. “I had also seen the building last summer when it was being restored, and the paintings were in boxes. It’s great to see them so opulent.”

While people were walking to their seats, many were talking about the beauty of the theater. In the background, music was playing from the Star Wars series, contributing excitement and anticipation to the already ecstatic atmosphere.

“I’m extremely excited,” sophomore Seth Mutchler said. “I think it’s going to change the ways people will go to the movies and create a culture in film that has not been seen since the Nickelodeons.”

The cinema will show a variety of film series from international art house films to underground films. The cinema will also be used for academic purposes.

Forty percent of the films shown will be used in partnership with other academic departments for lectures and classes.

“When I look at films by producers these days, the quality is lower than the older films,” Bloomington resident Richard Niewoehner said.

As the curtain rose for the film “Lawrence of Arabia,” the crowd fell silent and patrons were happy to take part in a new piece of IU history.

“I’m delighted for the University and our colleagues,” McRobbie said. “This will ensure the excellence we’ve always had in film and will become one of the best cinemas in the country.”

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Patrons of the newly opened Indiana University Cinema wait for the film "Lawrence of Arabia" to begin Thursday evening. The film was the first in IU Cinema's Lean Years Series, a series of six films directed by David Lean. Chet Strange Buy Photos

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