By regularly holding free and discounted movie screenings, Texas A&M's Aggie Cinema Club demonstrates its dedication to bringing the art of film to campus. The Aggie Cinema Club is a student organization in the Memorial Student Center that brings a ...
By regularly holding free and discounted movie screenings, Texas A&M’s Aggie Cinema Club demonstrates its dedication to bringing the art of film to campus.
The Aggie Cinema Club is a student organization in the Memorial Student Center that brings a variety of movie genres to campus on Fridays during the semester. The organization, which usually screens eight to ten films a semester, has an established structure for choosing which movies to show. There are three committees within the organization, each responsible for choosing a few movies from a specific category — Blockbuster, Arthouse and Classics.
During the ‘80s and ‘90s, when the Aggie Cinema Club was in its prime and operating under the name Aggie Film Society, the organization maintained a fully operating theater in College Station, according to today’s members.
“We used to have our own theater,” said Zach Priddy, university studies-architecture junior and Arthouse committee director. “We would operate like an actual theater and charge admission. But then the Cinemark got to town, and [it ended]. We brought it back as Aggie Cinema, and now we’re the service that shows free movies on campus.”
While the theater may have gone out of business, Priddy said remnants of the days when it was operational can still be found in the organization today.
“We were clearing out our locker that we have in the MSC,” Priddy said. “We found all these old posters and marquees from the ‘80s and ‘90s. It had a lot of old logos and stuff, and it was like stepping into a time capsule.”
According to Abigail Morris, multidisciplinary engineering technology senior, the Blockbuster committee is responsible for bringing movies to Aggieland before they are released on DVD.
“My subcommittee looks through all the [recent] movies,” Morris said. “We make a huge list, narrow it down a little bit, and then put out a poll that goes out to all of campus, really. And based on that, we choose the best movies that we think will fill the house.”
The Arthouse committee is responsible for showing thought-provoking films and has a slightly different selection process, according to Priddy.
“Arthouse is probably the most broad range,” Priddy said. “We can show films from 50 years ago, we can choose films from last year. We just have to decide ‘Does it fit in Arthouse?’ If it’s an independent film, if it is a foreign film, if it takes risks or if it falls outside the mainstream, then it’s under us.”
Similar to the Arthouse committee, the Classics committee has the responsibility of showing films that have historical, cultural or artistic significance, according to Yash Bansal, marketing senior, organization chair and Classics committee director.
“The goal is to choose films that are iconic,” Bansal said. “The committee spends the semester narrowing down our options, then we get a poll out to the public, see what they want to see, see what the other members of the organization think, then choose based on that.”
Priddy said Aggie Cinema is an organization of movie-lovers, but tastes among the leadership differ slightly based on committee.
“I like movies that are very dialogue heavy, with a strong script,” Priddy said. “Stuff that shows the raw talent of the actors, and directing talent as well. ‘Pulp Fiction’ [is my favorite movie] because it was one of the first films with a nonlinear storyline. It toes the line between several different genres. It’s sort of a comedy, it’s sort of a drama, it’s sort of a thriller and that’s what I like in a movie.”
While Priddy said he enjoys a nonlinear storyline, Morris said she looks for something else in a film.
“I watch movies purely for entertainment,” Morris said. “I actually don’t notice bad acting very well, so I look purely for entertainment value.”
Bansal said he has another set of criteria for what he deems a good movie.
“The best kind of movie for me is something that can change the way I think,” Bansal said. “Something that can change the way I look at a genre. The movie I’m most excited [to show this semester] is ‘500 Days of Summer.’ It’s a movie that I’ve seen five or six times, and I saw it for the first time a few years ago. It’s a movie that changed the way I look at the romance genre, because it felt very real, and it was very creative, the way it was put together. I’m really glad that we get to bring it to campus.”
Aggie Cinema is an organization by students for students that welcomes people of any background, according to Morris. She said movie lovers of all kinds sign up to share in the art of film.
“I was a freshman at the MSC Open House [when I joined the organization],” Morris said. “I was looking for a group of quirky people who were interested in the same thing I was interested in, and I found Aggie Cinema. They were really nice people, they didn’t question me, they didn’t expect a whole lot. They were just looking for friends. And that’s why I joined Aggie Cinema.”