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Screening the best of film

A gift from NBCUniversal Canada upgrades the film experience for Western students

July 10, 2013

Screening the best of film
A renovated and updated screening room surrounds students with new technology to help them critically examine all kinds of films.

Picture a dingy room, full of wooden desks and chairs, with bad acoustics, poor blackout blinds and a small screen. Hardly the ideal setup for a film screening room. Yet that was the situation in University College room 85, until it re-opened as the NBCUniversal Film Screening Room.

Thanks to a $200,000 gift from NBCUniversal Canada, the renovated room is equipped with an HD projector, a 16:10 ratio screen, surround sound and tiered seating.

“By upgrading the screening room, we now have what looks like a small movie theatre,” said Wayne Brereton, manager of technical services for the Faculty of Arts & Humanities.

The 88-seat ‘theatre’ brings the best out of films. “The image is high caliber and the setting is comfortable, which makes for a more immersive learning experience,” said Chris Gittings, chair of Film Studies, “allowing students to engage their critical faculties when they watch films in our courses.”

Even though it’s possible to watch films on smartphones and laptops, says Gittings, these options take away from critical learning. “Watching films together in this room creates a community experience where students can see how others respond to what’s on the screen – something they wouldn’t get alone.”

Besides a full array of film studies courses, the screening room has hosted guest filmmakers and lecturers, who have previewed films for students and professors.

“We are grateful to NBCUniversal Canada,” said Michael Milde, dean of the Faculty of Arts & Humanities. “Their generosity means that we are now well equipped to meet the learning needs of our students, and give them a unique opportunity to critically engage with all kinds of films.”

This article appeared in the Summer 2013 edition of Impact Western
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