Arts and Entertainment | Film

Society gives moviegoers cheap option

  • Night at the Movies | Students gather in Roone Arledge Auditorium for Ferris Reel Film Society’s screening of blockbuster hit “The Avengers” last Thursday.

For the lazy, cash-strapped college student, cinema-style movies seem less worthy than food at Westside or time spent sleeping—even with the Arts Initiative discount.
Ferris Reel Film Society aims to shoot down those objections by holding cheap, on-campus movie screenings.

FRFS specializes in bringing a wide spectrum of films to campus before they are released on DVD. The screenings, which take place once a month, are either free or offered at a discount price—three dollars versus AMC Theatres’ fourteen—and the group even takes student suggestions into account.

With the successful reception of the group—notably a big turnout of 250 students for their first free screening of the year, the blockbuster summer hit “The Avengers”—the group is looking for new ways to branch out. The society plans to conduct a screening on the Barnard campus this year and take a break from Lerner, and according to president Luisa Lizoain, CC ’14, “We’re aiming to bring smaller movies to campus.”

But in the end, FRFS works democratically, showing the films that students want to see. For Lizoain, what makes the group special is that it is “more interested in trying to get student input rather than just us deciding for them.”

During NSOP week, FRFS held a meet and greet with the new freshmen and invited them to have an impact on campus their very first month here. After handing out a list of films and asking the students to pick a favorite, “The Avengers” was selected for screening. The group acquired the rights to show the film from a distributor and brought the Columbia community together to watch a movie.

Vice President Kevin Shin, CC ‘14, echoed this sentiment, saying, “It’s not about indie or blockbuster. Students decide what they want to watch.”

To further facilitate this process, the society will be taking suggestions via Facebook, Twitter, or email (

As for future events, FRFS is very excited about its October event, which it is co-sponsoring with another group on campus—the details are being kept hush-hush—and is hoped to be especially resonant with Columbia students. Malida teased, “[The event] will bring a documentary and panel that is more culturally relevant … that people can identify with more than some box office hit.” While its members were hesitant to reveal too much about the event, which will take place October 18th at 7 p.m., it is safe to say that the group hopes the screening will be a powerful, shared experience for the Columbia community. As Kevin put it, “Film in general makes a very big impact … It opens up a whole new perspective.”

But FRFS members can’t complain with the status quo.

When asked why she joined the group, Malida Tadesse, FRFS treasurer, CC ’14, and a design associate for Spectator, answered, “It’s fun to do something that you think really makes an impact on campus … I mean, there are 250 people watching a movie in Lerner on a Thursday night.”


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