Film Board aims to connect with local community

Fisher+135%2C+where+MTU+Film+Board+presents+their+shows.+Photo+by+Joe+Schallmo.

Fisher 135, where MTU Film Board presents their shows. Photo by Joe Schallmo.

Laurel Schmidt

Free tickets; intended to raise viewership and give back to populace.

At 11:30 p.m. on Saturday Oct. 22, the lights in Fisher 135 dimmed and the voices of the small audience quieted as the opening notes of Coraline came through the lecture hall’s speakers. It was the final showing of the weekend and those gathered were able to get  a genuine movie theater experience, complete with popcorn, from the biggest lecture hall on Michigan Tech’s campus. For the students in attendance, they got in for free. 

“We wanted to at least try to do a free showing per semester,” said vice president of Film Board, Satbit Mangat. Film Board decided to increase the frequency of free showings from the previous once a year, “partly to get more students involved and partly to give back to the community.” 

Film Board has been struggling with student and community involvement since before the pandemic. With the rise of streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Max, across the country people are visiting movie theaters less frequently. This trend has also extended to a decrease in audience size at Film Board showings, with the pandemic exacerbating the problem. Mangat comments, “Covid hitting when it did, it really accelerated the drop [in attendance].” The lack of attendance affects the club financially due to the costs involved in gaining the rights to show each film. 

Despite these struggles, Film Board’s goal has not shifted from trying to be as involved with the students and community as possible. “We mainly care about having fun with each other, having fun with the community, and showing films that people will come and enjoy for a cheaper rate than a local theater,” says Mangat. 

This upcoming weekend, Film Board will be showing A Quiet Place in Fisher 135 on Friday and Sunday. Tickets will again be free and concessions are available for $1. This showing is sponsored by the Inter-Residence Housing Council at Michigan Tech.