Bijou features discounted films for UI students each Thursday

The Bijou Film Board and FilmScene work together to provide discounted films for students on Thursday nights.


Anthony Vasquez

The FilmScene theater screen is shown Dec. 10, 2015.

Adrian Enzastiga, Arts Reporter

Walking down a thin hallway, guests are greeted by bright, multicolored lights. They are overcome by the smell of butter and salt, and it all fades away as they step into the theater. The lights have dimmed, and the air is still. Everyone forgets about the 35 other bodies in the auditorium.

Each has just entered a new world, transported away from their regular lives. Suddenly, the screen comes to life, illuminating the small theater. The movie has begun.

Starting this semester, the Bijou Film Board introduced Bijou Thursdays, an opportunity for students to see films at a discount. The board works in collaboration with FilmScene to put on these weekly movies at 8 p.m. as the last screening of the night at FilmScene, 118 E. College St.

FilmScene and Bijou members said they want to create a safe, nondrinking alternative on Thursday nights. Ticket prices for students are $5, bags of popcorn are $2, and sodas are offered for $1 off. Fifth-year UI student Mac Chuchra, the Bijou Film Board marketing director, said he’s on board with the idea.

“You’re doing something that isn’t as dangerous for students that are underage; it’s like a sense of security, a good place to be,” Chuchra said. “I get the sense with the last three screenings that people are happy to be here, people are excited to be here.”

FilmScene, located on the Pedestrian Mall, provides an accessible late-night activity for students.

“You can just walk down here, it’s very accessible, and it’s something that we’re really striving for,” Chuchra said. “We have a perfectly good cinema downtown that you can just walk to.”

UI senior Nicholas Morgan, the chairman of Bijou Horizons, joined Bijou his junior year. Having attended Bijou programs since his freshman year, he said he appreciates the atmosphere of FilmScene’s screenings.

“It’s fun, it’s good to be there with everyone else and not even just your friends,” he said. “It’s an experience more than just the film itself. It fosters a sense of community. The more that people come to these screenings, the more that people witness it as a crowd.”

Part of FilmScene’s and Bijou’s mission is to screen films and documentaries that differ from mainstream fare, bringing material that is thought-provoking and intriguing to a wide breadth of audiences.

“I know several screenings that I’ve been to, it’s been a particularly interesting movie,” Morgan said. “You come out into the lobby, and there are people whom who’ve never met before. You have to talk about the film and be like, ‘What did I just see?’ ”

Besides being a substitute for drinking, Bijou Thursdays and FilmScene’s other programs are also opportunities to view films in a unique way.

“People ask me what’s the difference between going to see a movie in a theater as opposed to just watching it on your screen in a dorm room, and I always say it’s like going to a concert,” Chuchra said. “It ups the ante quite a bit as opposed to just listening to music on your iPod. It’s a similar feeling. You can’t really describe it; I think the scope of it is magnified.”