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Bijou, UI talk on films

BY KRISTIN LUTZ | FEBRUARY 12, 2010 7:30 AM

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UI officials could prove to be a roadblock as the Bijou’s Board of Directors pursue the mission of screening films the community wouldn’t usually see.

University officials asked the board on Tuesday to cancel a pornography screening scheduled for tonight and Saturday. As a result, a new process could prevent the theater, run by students, from showing risqué or questionable films.

Evan Meaney, Bijou’s executive director, said he spoke with Thomas Rocklin, UI interim vice president for Student Services, about a new agreement that would require screening by UI officials.

UI spokesman Tom Moore did not return calls on Thursday about the incident. Rocklin told The Daily Iowan on Tuesday that he would have allowed the screening if it had served an educational purpose, but he didn’t see one.

“It would not be a submission process,” Meaney said. “But if Bijou does decide to show something like this again, perhaps a defense process would be implemented so we could say ‘Look here is where we are going to show this film, and this is why we are going to show it.’ ”

The process would prevent any confusion before the Bijou announces the showing and talks with the film distributors, he said.

The cinema’s Board of Directors selects which films to show based on recently released movies that aren’t available at other local theaters.

But some members of the Board of Directors said they aren’t predicting a change anytime soon.

“I don’t foresee any screening of films through the administration as of right now, unless something gets called to its attention, like in this case,” said board member Zane Umsted.

Umsted said the Bijou directors want to continue to follow the cinema’s mission, as they have for the past 38 years.

“We don’t want to get in a position where we have to predict backlash toward the Bijou,” he said.

As of Thursday, UI officials did not require university-approved showings or activities by the Bijou, along with most other student groups.


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