Woodland Theater offers facilities, films the Valley wouldn’t normally get
Laura Lash, photos by Andrea Paulseth |
I obsessed about films at a young age. Begging my parents for rides to the local video store, I would use my paper route money to rent VHS tapes of foreign films and “independent” releases – ones that were far beyond the scope of a typical pre-teen. I was a blossoming cinephile.
My passion for moving pictures continues to compel me to seek out the theater experience. Even with the mass distribution that films are getting across screens of all sizes, we still need to seek out the experience of seeing films on the big screen. To this day, a screening room is one of the few remaining places where we can isolate, focus and absorb a cinematic experience. And when a favorite theater or a renowned critic gives us direction toward exceptional releases, we can delight in the gems that might otherwise slip under our radar.
Eau Claire is fortunate to have collegiate energy generating a fall and spring film series each year at the Woodland Theater in the Davies Student Center.
Named for the Woodland tribes of Wisconsin, the theater serves as a gathering place for the people of our community – students and non-students alike. With a high-output DLP (digital light processing) projector and a state-of-the-art surround sound system, 200 seats offer easy access to a smart viewing experience. The University Activities Commission and the International Film Society combine their choices to round out the series. “There are usually nine UAC Films and five IFS films each semester,” said Nicole Rindone, Coordinator for Student Activities at UWEC.
The films in the series are plucked from many countries as well as variable years of release. It seems there is not rhyme or reason to the list, yet you can be certain that these are well-thought-out choices. You are receiving guidance from passionate folks who congregated to share ideas, to disagree, to pontificate, and this camaraderie infuses the experience of being a part of these screenings.
In addition, the university hosts two special events: the 48 Hour Video Project and the 31 Day Video project. These two events help to draw the Eau Claire community into the film experience at UWEC. There also are three community members who help to decide the series of films that will run. The greatest incentive for the community to attend may be the generously low ticket prices. Rindone notes: “The cost for the series is (also) very affordable to community members being $10 for a family and $4 for an individual for the full academic year (both semesters).” If any local cinephiles have requests for films to be screened, the UAC and IFS can be reached through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Their intention is well stated on the web, “For nearly 60 years the UW-Eau Claire International Film Society has represented a wide variety of countries, cinematic styles, directorial methods, genres and points of view in films that bring about a better understanding of other peoples and cultures, and instill a lifelong appreciation for the art of film.”