Indiana University is a rich and vibrant place to see movies. Its two largest venues — the IU Cinema and the Whittenberger Auditorium in the Indiana Memorial Union — have robust offerings to satisfy both hardcore cinephiles and casual movie fans.
The recently renovated IU Cinema is among the best-equipped theatres in the Midwest.
It has a THX certified sound system and its variety of projectors allows for screenings of movies shot on 16mm and 35mm film as well as those captured digitally. And that’s not to mention the murals by Thomas Hart Benton that adorn its walls.
The programming for the IU Cinema is eclectic, and generally appeals to serious film buffs. They have recurring series such as International Art House and National Theater Live that reflect the more contemporary side of the arts. But each semester also has a signatures series that honors cinema’s past; past series have shown everything from the films of Elvis Presley to works of the Japanese anime director Hayao Miyazaki.
The IU Cinema is also deeply committed to bringing Hollywood legends to campus.
Every semester, The IU Cinema does a program called The Jorgenson Film Guest Filmmaker Lecture Series. It gives audiences the chance to ask questions of such great artists as “Hoosiers” screenwriter Angelo Pizzo and Academy Award-winning actor Meryl Streep. Another popular guest was the legendary director Werner Herzog.
If you visiting and feeling cinematically adventurous, the IU Cinema is the place to go. Make sure to check its website, www.cinema.indiana.edu, for show times.
The other major venue for watching movies at Indiana University is the Whittenberger Auditorium. It shows free movies every Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. These movies are typically popular films headed for a home video release or streaming services.
While you can catch blockbusters like “Doctor Strange” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” at the Whittenberger Auditorium, you can also occasionally see films before they come to the AMC 11 and 12 theaters.
Some of those films were the Andy Samberg-starring mockumentary “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping” and Jordan Peele’s woke horror thriller “Get Out.”
In addition to these venues, it is good to keep your eyes and ears open for different opportunities.
A great screening of “Batman” (1989) with producer Michael Uslan took place in the commons of Franklin Hall in the spring. For Valentine’s Day, IU College Democrats showed “Southside with You” in Hodge Hall and gave students cookies from Baked! Keep your eyes peeled on campus and it shouldn’t be hard to find all kinds of opportunities to see films beyond IU’s two main theaters.
Indiana University’s movie watching subculture is a lot like Indiana University itself. It has great resources and is fantastic at connecting students with similar interests. The same goes for the people visiting those students. If you’re a movie fan, there are few better places for you to be.
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