35mm Film Screenings sign now

To the Yale administration:

We write to you regarding the future of film screenings at
Yale. In the last year and a half, the Yale Film Society suffered
financial setbacksdifficulties that led to bankruptcy and,
effectively, the cessation of all its film screenings. To show one 35mm
film a week, as has historically been the practice of the Film Society,
costs about $7,500 per semester, or $15,000 per year. This is a
significant sum of money, and one that the YFS has found difficult to
raise in past years.

Our goal is not to revive the Yale Film Society as it previously
existed. But we ask the administration to recognize the Film Societys
unique historical importance here at Yale, and, in consideration of its
original objective, to create a permanent, public, weekly, 35mm film
screening program that will enrich the cultural life of this campus.
The proposed program would be collaborative and interdisciplinary,
moving beyond the scope of the original Film Society to provide a
university-wide forum for the study and appreciation of cinema, thus
furthering Yales commitment to excellence within the arts and
humanities.

The Yale Film Society was not merely an organization that
showed films; it was a Yale tradition, an institution that both
entertained and enlightened the greater Yale/New Haven community for
almost thirty years. While there are other places to watch movies in
town, none can fill the niche formerly occupied by the Film Society.
The Yale Medical School Film Society projects recent releases from DVD
recordings, and the York Square and Criterion theaters, while screening
in 35mm, both provide current art-house fare. The Yale Film Society
provided a repertory film house that always screened in 35mm, its
offerings ranging from film classics to cult favoritesfilms that
appealed to the broader spectrum of student taste. In addition, the YFS
was both geographically and economically accessible to undergraduates
and the New Haven community. Unlike the Medical School Film Society,
YFS occupied a more central downtown/campus location; unlike the two
commercial theaters, YFS offered student-friendly ticket prices and
semester memberships.

The proposed program would thus fill the void left by the
discontinuation of the Yale Film Society series, preserving its
tradition of affordable, accessible, and diverse film screenings
projected in the highest-quality format available.

In the past, the Yale Film Society collaborated with various
academic departments and the Yale University Art Gallery to program
smaller film series highlighting the particular academic or artistic
interest of the department involved. We hope to extend this
inter-departmental,inter-school engagement, creating a space where
undergraduate and graduate students of all academic specializations
can freely meet and exchange ideas.

Yale University has also always prided itself on its strong
commitment to the arts. While maintaining its prominence as a major
research university, Yale has developed internationally-recognized art,
architecture, music, and drama programs. But although we have
excellent theaters, art museums, and concert halls, we have no
permanent, public film screening program. As a world-class university
with a demonstrable commitment to the arts, it is important that the
University support the cinema. Other universities of comparable stature
have devoted greater resources towards film on their campuses.

We ask that Yale follow the lead of universities like Harvard,
Columbia, and Chicago, and consider devoting $15,000 a year towards the
establishment of a permanent, established film screening program,
whether supervised by the Yale Film Society, or by a larger,
collaborative student-faculty organization.

It is important that Yale University make a greater commitment
to screening film. Film is entertainment, but it is also art, and as
such, it deserves the study and respect that the University affords any
other aesthetic or intellectual area of scholarship.

We hope that Yale will see that a permanent, University-sponsored
film screening program would be a valuable asset to the entire community
of students, faculty, and citizens of New Haven, and we look forward to
collaborating with the administration to make this program happen.

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Sondra BarryBy:
FoodIn:
Petition target:
The Yale Administration

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