A crowd of students, faculty, staff and community members estimated at around 600 filled the lawn on the south side of the Global and International Studies building on Thursday, Aug. 18 for the first-ever outdoor movie screening at the year-old building. The free showing of “Spirited Away” attracted movie-goers who started gathering two hours before the 9:30 p.m. show time. It was presented as part of the IU Office of First Year Experience’s “Welcome Week 2016” festivities.
The showing of the 2001 Oscar-winning animated film by Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki was a collaboration between the IU School of Global and International Studies and the IU Cinema. Cinema Director Jon Vickers approached SGIS administration several months ago to explore the possibility of showing a film outside the new global building, which features a sloping, terraced lawn created as natural seating area.
For the showing, a 35-foot-wide inflated screen was set up on Wednesday night, along with a projector and full audio system. Viewers from front to the back by the building’s atrium could easily see and hear the film. A week of poor weather halted for the event, which was never threatened by rain.
The IU Cinema has started a “Cinema under the Stars” series featuring showings at the Starlite Drive-In, and will have a September showing of “War Games” at Bryan Park. The Spirited Away showing marked the start of showings using a temporary screen.
“This was IU Cinema’s first real foray into outdoor screenings, but likely not our last,” Vickers said. “Since early construction on the home of SGIS, we have been eyeing this location as the perfect spot for an outdoor screening, with the proximity to the Cinema also being an advantage. The School of Global and International Studies and FYE were enthusiastic and perfect partners, engaging their incoming students.
“With the weather on our side giving us a beautiful night, perfect presentation, and an audience of over 600, I think that the event exceeded all of our expectations,” Vickers added. “This might be tough to top.”
“SGIS is a community that teaches our students to cross the borders between languages, countries and cultures,” said Dean Lee Feinstein. “Nothing makes that point better than opening the year with this Miyazaki classic.”
This isn’t the only SGIS-IU Cinema partnership of the fall. On Nov. 17, filmmaker David Holbrooke speaks at SGIS, in an appearance co-sponsored with the Media School. Holbrooke’s most recent film is “The Diplomat,” a look at the career of his father Richard Holbrooke, a career diplomat most noted for crafting the peace accord that ended the Balkans conflict in the 1990s. The IU Cinema hosts a screening of the film the next day.