When I first discovered IU Cinema eight years ago, I was ecstatic that such a place existed. When I was hired to work here four years later, I couldn’t believe my luck (I still can’t!). When I was told two years ago that we would be releasing a book about the Cinema, I was beyond grateful to be asked to join such an immense project. And now, today, I am so proud that that book, Indiana University Cinema: The New Model, is sitting on my shelf and the shelves of others.
Co-written by Interim Director Brittany D. Friesner and Founding Director Jon Vickers and published through IU Press, Indiana University Cinema: The New Model delves into the rich history of cinema on the IU Bloomington campus and how that laid the groundwork for the creation of our beloved, state-of-the-art IU Cinema and its numerous achievements. Wonderfully illustrated with archival materials, stunning photography, and original posters that were designed for various IU Cinema events, the book also boasts 17 exclusive interviews from past IU Cinema guests, including Jim Jarmusch, Meryl Streep, Mira Nair, John Waters, Cheryl Dunye, my guy Roger Corman, and Jonathan Banks. Banks additionally wrote the book’s afterword while philanthropist and IU alumna Jane Jorgensen provided the foreword.
I’ve loved IU Cinema ever since I first laid eyes on it and I can’t imagine a more fitting way to honor its fantastic inaugural decade than this publication. To flip through the pages and see all of the spectacular things we have accomplished, the work we have inspired, the experiences we have offered, the groundbreaking filmmakers we have hosted… It is truly mind-blowing.
Also mind-blowing? The amount of blood, sweat, and tears (so many tears) it takes to put together a book. When Brittany, Jon, and I began this adventure, we knew it would be a monumental task, but that still didn’t prepare us for the countless hours of editing and organizing we had to endure and the hundreds of decisions we had to make. Every element you see, from the page numbers to the gold foil on the spine, had to be consistently checked or carefully considered. I will probably never be able to look at an ellipses or an em dash without shuddering ever again, and the process only became more nightmarish once we started designing the book with Kyle Calvert, IU Cinema’s super-talented design and marketing manager.
For me — and perhaps for Brittany, Jon, and Kyle, too — working on The New Model was one of the most frustrating, stressful challenges of my life. But, now that I’m able to reflect on it, it was also incredibly meaningful. I’m still pinching myself that Jon and Brittany invited me on this journey. To sit down with them and Kyle and create this love letter to a place that means so much to all four of us was rarely easy but we knew the end result would be worth it. Many, many times we were reminded of the magic of IU Cinema. When we needed to get permissions to publish our selected quotes and interviews, for example, every single person we contacted expressed their delight in being part of the book and several of the filmmakers recalled their visits with fondness, regardless of how much time had passed.
As a volunteer usher, editor, blog contributor, and devoted fan, IU Cinema has been an important part of my history. As I look at The New Model nestled on my shelf, I’m reminded that I have been part of IU Cinema’s history, too. It’s a warm, overwhelming feeling, and it is one that I hope you also experience when you look at your own copy. Whether you are a donor, programming partner, volunteer, employee, or patron, you have helped make IU Cinema not only a phenomenal place for film but a new model for what a cinematheque can be.
To order Indiana University Cinema: The New Model, visit IU Press’ website.
To celebrate the book’s launch, IU Cinema will screen Singin’ in the Rain on September 21 at 7 pm. Preceding this screening, please join Interim Director Brittany D. Friesner and Founding Director Jon Vickers at Morgenstern Books on September 21 at 4:30 pm for a book signing and author conversation. The conversation portion of the event will be livestreamed from Morgenstern Bookstore’s Facebook page.
If you want to hear more about the process of creating the book, you can check out IU Cinema’s podcast, A Place for Film, which recently hosted a conversation between Jon, Brittany, Kyle, and myself.
Michaela Owens is thrilled to be the editor of A Place for Film, in addition to being IU Cinema’s Publications Editor. An IU graduate with a BA in Communication and Culture, she is pursuing an MA in Cinema and Media Studies and has also been a volunteer usher at IU Cinema since 2016. She never stops thinking about classic Hollywood, thanks to her mother’s introduction to it, and she likes to believe she is an expert on Katharine Hepburn and Esther Williams.