Bijou sets up film forum


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The Bijou Film Board agreed to partner with three University of Iowa departments and faculty for the Bijou Film Forum, a newly established series that features one-night screenings and discussions of acclaimed films.

The series, which will start in late April, seeks to engage UI students across all disciplines and fields of study through the art of film while promoting departmental values.

“There are so many films that are deserving of being screened,” said Jesse Kreitzer, the executive director of the Bijou Film Board. “And there is a wealth of faculty and UI departments that these films are relevant to.”

Kreitzer said the board took a proactive role in establishing the Film Forum by reaching out to UI departments and faculty relevant to the selected films in order to organize post-screening discussions.

The films featured and the departments discussing them are Short Term 12 with the School of Social Work, Cousin Jules with the Department of Cinematic Arts, and At Berkeley with the College of Education.

“I agreed to be a part of the upcoming Film Forum series in order to promote outreach involving the UI, Iowa City, and the area’s communities,” said Steven Ungar, a UI cinema professor.

With the partnership, it allows departments a new outlet to reach students.

The post-screening discussions will allow the speakers to approach ideas such as professional development and engagement, the impact of funding and policy on public universities, and the importance of the arts in a way that is both enjoyable and educational.

Stephen Cummings, a UI clinical assistant professor of social work who will lead the discussion after Short Term 12, said he hopes the screenings attract more students to the area.

“The School of Social Work places a strong emphasis on systems theory,” Cummings said. “The family system is the most influential system in a person’s life.”

Cummings said he volunteered to participate in the post-screening discussion of Short Term 12, a film that focuses on foster care. Foster care often tends to be represented negatively in popular media, and he looks to support a discussion about the topic that rises above the “usual trope.”

Christopher Morphew, the executive associate dean for research and innovation in the UI College of Education, wanted to participate in the Film Forum because of the in-depth study the film provides on one of the world’s leading public universities, the University of California-Berkeley.

“I’m focusing on the challenges that public universities like Berkeley [and Iowa] face in a public-policy environment that focuses on private rather than public good,” Morphew said. “And provides fewer resources for public educational institutions and the students that attend these institutions.”

Many agreed the topics are important for discussion and that Bijou can play an important part in the talks.

“I think Bijou’s role is to really service this medium in a positive way,” Kreitzer said.

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