Late night movies return to Bijou Theater


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The Bijou has always prided itself on showing independent films that are not your typical mainstream movies. Starting next semester, however, it will once again begin showing more late-night movies that college students may be a bit more familiar with.

“There’s a tough line, a loose distinction, between independent and mainstream movies,” Bijou Executive Director Jesse Damazo said. “Films such as Batman from the ’80s, or Blues Brothers are ones we would show. They’re mainstream classics and have an independent vibe to them.”

This will be the third year Bijou will show more late-night movies. Typically, the last showing for the theater is around 9 p.m.; the late night movie will usually start around 10:30 p.m.

The late night movies were not shown during the fall semester, after confusion with funding arose. The Bijou receives $55,000 from the University of Iowa Student Government and the Executive Council of Graduate and Professional Students, as well as funding from the university. This year Bijou received $10,000 in additional funding from the university, the same as last year. Two years ago, it received $20,000, and Damazo said that number can fluctuate.

“There was financial confusion,” Damazo said. “This year, we had applied for money and didn’t hear anything for a while.”

When funding a student organization, many factors are thought out by UISG and Executive Council, including deciding which type of funding each organization will get.

There are various types of funding for student governments, including a collaborative-funding organization. This entails numerous organizations such as UISG and Executive Council to be involved with the funding.

There are currently eight collaborative-funding organizations on campus, with the Bijou being one of them.

“The joint finance committee evaluates the request and makes the recommendation [of how much funding the organization will receive],” said Executive Council budget director Ben Gillig. “Some services obviously cost more than others. We have a whole list of different criteria to evaluate the budget request.”

Collaborative-funding organizations get advantages to funding that other types of organizations may not.

“[Collaborative-funding organizations] get to be the first one to request [funding] and the first to receive,” said Erica Lester, the UISG chief financial officer.

Damazo said the late-night movies are one way Bijou is expanding, which has experienced a doubling in attendance over the last three years. The theater sells more than 14,000 tickets every year.

In addition to the Bijou, other campus organizations offer late-night alternatives on the weekends, with the Campus Activities Board being one.

With the Bijou and the Campus Activities Board both showing movies from Thursday through Sunday at $3 a ticket for UI students, many students assume they are in direct competition with each other. This could not be further from the truth.

“Absolutely not — we work together and collaborate on a lot of events,” Campus Activities Board adviser Molly Golemo said. “I guess we have things going on at the same days, but they are never happening at the same time.”

The Campus Activities Board and the Bijou occasionally host events together — the Bijou will host the event, the Campus Activities Board will deal with marketing and publicizing the event. The board and the Bijou collaborated on every late-night movie the Bijou hosted last spring.

Officials believe similar student organizations are never in competition with each other, because they are all there to provide a multitude of options on the weekends in Iowa City.

“I guess [the Campus Activities Board] in general never sees [Bijou] as competition, we just see it as one of the many options to students,” Golemo said. “A lot of students have a lot of different interests.”

Damazo agrees, but for different reasons.

“I don’t see us in competition with [the Campus Activities Board],” he said. “Even if we do show more mainstream things, our tastes are pretty different.”

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