FilmScene to sell alcohol during late-night screenings

BY IAN MURPHY | JANUARY 30, 2014 5:00 AM

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The Bijou Film Board’s late-night film series will return this weekend with a new concession item — alcohol available to those of age.

After partnering with FilmScene, 118 E. College St., in 2013 and leaving the IMU, Bijou has now started programming at the downtown location. FilmScene’s theater offers the standard movie theater lineup of concession, as well beer and wine.

Before the partnership, the late-night series — which is now called Bijou After Hours — was alcohol-free.  However, the Bijou did not want to change FilmScene’s operation for the sake of the late-night series.

“It’s a more responsible alternative to the traditional night life there in Iowa City,” said Jesse Kreitzer, the Bijou Film Board director.

The University of Iowa Student Government and Executive Council of Graduate and Professional Students will continue funding the Bijou despite the addition of alcohol.

This funding supports stipends and wages for student positions, campus outreach, as well as programming and collaboration with other university groups.

UISG Vice President Jack Cumming said when the Bijou and FilmScene came to UISG to seek funding, they demonstrated that the cinema is a safe and secure environment for those who do not want to drink.

“Late-night events have to take place after 10 p.m. and must provide students an alternative to drinking,” Cumming said.

Beer and wine will only be served prior to the film screening and the bar will close when everyone enters the cinema, Cumming said.

Executive Council President Ben Gillig said there was a discussion about the appropriate use of late-night funding.

“It’s about people acting responsibly,” he said.

Gillig said the Executive Council felt the Bijou and FilmScene presented a safe and alternative environment for students and approved the funding request.

Kreitzer said the after-hours series will provide a good alternative to the traditional nightlife. 

“We’ve catered the programming with the UI students in mind; I think we have a very exciting lineup,” said Kreitzer.

Bijou After Hours will be a 14-week series and will now be shown at FilmScene.

FilmScene cofounder Andrew Sherburne said this is the first time they have had a dedicated late-night series run at the cinema.

“This marks another milestone,” he said.

He said the series will feature everything from art films to cult classics.

“We’re expecting a diverse crowd,” Sherburne said. 

The Bijou directors expect a good turnout for the series.

“The community seems to agree, as the screenings over the past two months have been very well attended,” Joshua Yates, the programming director, said in an email.

The shows will start at 11 p.m. and there will be giveaways at each show. Admission is free for UI students and 5$ for the general public.

Kreitzer said he hopes that students will recognize the series as a good alternative to the other downtown activities and that the tradition of the late-night series will continue. 

“I’m pretty confident with this run, we will be very well-attended,” he said.

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