PSU, NW Film Center offer free movies

The Northwest Film Center and Portland State will now grant PSU students, faculty and staff, free admission to the Film Center’s movie showings and exhibitions.

The Northwest Film Center and Portland State will now grant PSU students, faculty and staff, free admission to the Film Center’s movie showings and exhibitions.

Attendees must have a valid PSU ID in order to gain admission, which is free for all exhibitions at the Whitsell Auditorium, except the Portland International Film Festival that takes place in February. The Whitsell Auditorium is located in the Portland Art Museum at 1219 SW Park Ave., where films play regularly every day of the week except Monday.

“I think the film center is a great resource,” said William Tate, theater arts professor at PSU. “The primary benefit is that it allows students to see more different kinds of films.”

A contract between PSU and the Film Center, which included an initial cost for the university, will allow free admission from now until the end of December. At that point, both parties will evaluate the arrangement and decide whether or not to renew it, according to Michael Clark, English professor at PSU.

Clark helped negotiate the terms of the contract with Bill Foster, director of the Northwest Film Center, and Marvin Kaiser, dean of the PSU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

“This is one of those situations where at a remarkably low cost we can benefit everyone,” Clark said.

Clark said that if every student saw one film during the course of the year, if would cost the university about 50 cents a person. At an estimated population of 25,000 students, the contract could cost PSU around $12,500.

Students have been able to get free admission since the beginning of March, but the Film Center and PSU have had a relationship for the past 35 years, according to Jessica Lyness, marketing manager and public relations representative for the Film Center.

For the past five years, Lyness said, students have been able to take classes through the Northwest Film Center for credit at PSU. There are about 80 students from PSU currently taking courses through the Film Center, according to Clark.

“We’re trying to do something different to increase foot traffic to the Northwest Film Center,” Lyness said.

The Film Center offers many classes in film production that are not offered at PSU, such as courses in editing digital and film footage, and directing-intensive courses. The film classes offered at PSU focus primarily on film theory, Lyness said, but students interested more in the production side of film can take courses at the Film Center without having to submit an application if they are already enrolled at PSU.

With the new film minor at PSU, which is in its second year and is offered through the English, Theater Arts and Communication Departments, the relationship between PSU and the Film Center is offering greater opportunities and course choices to students interested in film studies.

The PSU faculty senate will vote on a proposal for a film major put up by the PSU Theater Arts Department next month. If it were to pass, the Film Center could aid in offering more courses to PSU students, Tate said.

The Film Center’s exhibition program features different types of films throughout the year including, but not limited to, foreign, art, experimental, classic and independent films, as well as animation and video. Selections are shown from regional, national and international cinema.

“We show such a wide array of films,” Lyness said. “There’s always a different audience that find something they like.”

Recent exhibitions that have run at the Whitsell Auditorium include a Film Noir series that is still playing entitled “Killer Ladies,” and Cine-lit:IV, a film festival that coincided with the International Hispanic Film and Literature Conference in Portland, Feb. 21�� to 24. Lyness said that exhibits in June will feature new Japanese cinema.

“There’s no place in the country like the Film Center in terms of the diverse films they show,” Clark said. “And I’m from New York–there’s no place like the Film Center.”

Most films play in the evening, Lyness said, usually beginning at 7 p.m. or 9 p.m., with the exception of Sunday matinees and children’s programming, which are often screened in the afternoon. The price of general admission to exhibition screenings is regularly $7.

For information on exhibitions, show times or film classes visit