In Theaters Near You

The Film Buffs program draws interest and generates discussion in their next act



Philosophy sophomore Jake Silvas demonstrates how the Loyola’s film buffs team sets up movies for students to watch.


Lights, Camera, Action! The Film Buffs Institute knows the saying far too well, but they are looking to find other film enthusiasts at Loyola to share in their passion. This semester, they are revamping the program to spread their wealth of films to a wider audience.

Film Buffs, which will turn 40 this year, is a program that was started by the late English professor Peggy McCormack and set out to be a platform for teachers to screen movies for classes and for a select group of work-study students to learn the art of film projection. President of the Film Buffs Institute and film and visual arts senior Kim Buras said this semester, the program is adding more.

“We are trying to keep up with the students because they are the most influential, and we are just starting from the beginning again,” Buras said.

A new offering includes the weekly Friday Film Fest, where viewers can either bring in their own films, or they can choose from an online archive compiled by Film Buffs. Then, everyone at the showing votes on which movie to watch, Buras said. The Friday Film Fest is at 4 p.m. every Friday in Bobet Hall, room 332.

But why watch a film on campus instead of at home?

Film Buffs has three professional screening rooms in Bobet Hall, rooms 332, 214 and 101. All offer surround sound, as well as amazing visual quality, said Dittmar Dittrich, director of the Film Buffs Institute and philosophy assistant professor.

“We have cabinets filled with films, plus Netflix doesn’t have surround sound,” Buras said.

According to Dittrich, there are weekly screenings of films students are required to see for different classes. The schedule of these films can be found on the website and outside the doors of the screening rooms in Bobet Hall, but the Friday Film Fest is where students have the opportunity to choose the movies they want to watch.

“Film Buffs used to be driven by film classes, but we are trying to get students to participate more. If people show up and participate, they can influence the program,” Dittrich said.

Vocal performance senior Anjle Latiha C. is a member of Film Buffs and has been helping out with the Friday Film Fest. “Friday Film Fest is for people interested in film who want to share films that people maybe wouldn’t see otherwise,” she said. “Lesser known films, things that you wouldn’t find in movie theatres, that you couldn’t necessarily pick up at blockbuster, but that are important for people to see, especially if they’re interested in cinema.”

Film Buffs adds another dimension to film watching: discussion.

“Afterwards we’re trying to encourage a discussion of the film either immediately after viewing the film or on the Facebook page,” Latiha C. said. “You can put your reactions and talk about how you interpreted the film, whether or not you liked it. What you liked about it, what you didn’t. Then take that into consideration for the next few films that are showed.”

Buras said she is excited about the discussion aspect of the Friday Film Fest.

“We try to capture the interest and channel it, to have the theatre experience but also a social experience,” she said. “Films naturally spark discussion, and we want to be able to have that discussion sparked at our screenings and host that discussion.”

Latiha C. agrees.

“It’s an informal discussion afterwards but on a higher level, where you can talk about the film and kind of critique it as a group because its people who are interested in film and have seen a lot of films, so they can communicate about things in a slightly different way than say your friends or family.”

In order to get the word out, Film Buffs has been working to revamp their website and Facebook page, as well as maintaining an online archive of all the films Film Buffs has screened so students can easily look through and see if the movie they want to watch is there, Dittrich said.

“Facebook will be an informal platform for students to post comments and opinions, as well as give feedback on what they want to see done,” Dittrich said. “If we didn’t have it already, we would go out and buy any film if enough people came in and suggested it.”

Latiha C. thinks that students just don’t understand exactly what Film Buffs can do.

“I think there may be a misconception that they [Film Buffs] just screen films for classes and you’re only allowed to go if you’re in that class, and that’s not the case. You’re welcome to go to any screening you wish,” Latiha C. said. “If you’re done with your work and you want something to do but you don’t necessarily feel like leaving campus, you can just go see a movie.”

On top of the Friday Film Fest, Film Buffs has hosted and plans to continue hosting a few “steady collaboration events,” Dittrich said.

Their first collaboration was with the International Student Association, when they screened “Percepolis.” It was a great success, Dittrich said, because over 40 people came, there was a popcorn machine on-site and a guest speaker who introduced the film.

In the future, they hope to possibly expand the program to include an aspect which would bring workshops to campus to teach students how to get into the film industry.

“We want to bring in local people in the film industry, and that would give students contacts and have them directly learn from people in our own city as well as gain insight into how to get their own projects started,” Buras said.

“We have a responsibility to bring good films to students, but also to teach them how to get into the film industry in New Orleans,” Buras said.

But right now the main focus of Film Buffs is giving students a platform to watch good movies.

“I really like being surrounded by people who are also interested in film,” Latiha C. said. “And if you’re interested at all in film and seeing something that you maybe wouldn’t normally see, I think it’s a good experience because the films they show are interesting and thought-provoking.”