Alkek library is joining the political sphere with the new Film Talks project addressing racism, fascism and other hot issues facing the country and campus in addition to pop culture topics.
The Film Talks project is intended to spout discussion among campus experts and student film lovers. The series began with a showing of The Great Dictator followed by group discussion on the film. There will be three more showings of films this semester, and the series will continue next semester.
Elizabeth King, humanities librarian, said she hopes students engage in the discussions and continue the conversation after.
“It’s not a lecture. It’s not like sitting in a classroom, that’s not the intention,” King said. “A lot of these topics will be controversial, so with the experts in the room, I’m hoping it will foster a civil discourse on the theme.”
The library is showing films Texas State has public performance rights to, through databases such as Kanopy and Films on Demand.
History junior Nicholas Rodriguez said he enjoyed the first film when he attended the pilot event.
“You can take away stuff from this, and they don’t teach you everything in the classroom,” Rodriguez said. “Sometimes you have to go out of your way to get that extra bit of knowledge.”
Natasha Mikles, psychology lecturer, recommended to other staff that “The Great Dictator,” should be played at Film Talks and said students should take time out of their day to participate.
“I think films are these really important moments where we can have larger conversations about what we see, and what we can learn through the films,” Mikles said.
While the recommendation came from the philosophy department, Dr. Louie Valencia, professor in the history department, led the discussion over the Chaplin film, and planned the activities for the event.
Stephanie Towery, Alkek copyright officer, said an underlying goal of Film Talks is to make students aware of the supplies on campus and in the library.
At each session, an informational sheet will be handed out with related library resources and faculty around campus. This paper will allow interested students to continue the conversation outside of the film talk.
“These films shine a light on something you may feel alone in, but then you watch it, and realize you can’t be alone since there’s a film about it, everyone in the room is talking about it, the library has resources on it, and there are campus services about it,” King said. “We’re trying to make those connections.”
The films this semester focus on the themes of fascism, body image, horror and mercy.
Students who cannot attend the film talk still have access to the movie for free on their own time, and the link to the film and the resources list can be found on the library website.
The next Film Talk, “Embrace” will be showing on Oct. 9. On Oct. 25, “Beware the Slenderman” will be discussed. On Nov. 2, “13TH” will tie into the University common theme this year: “The Search for Justice: Our Response to Crime in the 21st Century”. These showings are 2-5 p.m. in room 105/106 of the library.
There is a Film Talks Facebook group for those interested in the upcoming events. The library also has a Twitter account at @alkeklibrary where all events are posted.
“Universities are more than just places to get degrees or to go to class and learn things,” Mikles said. “Universities are places where kinds of conversations happen that can’t happen anywhere else. Students should have these experiences.”
This article has been updated to say “Natasha Mikles, psychology lecturer, recommended to other staff that “The Great Dictator,” should be played at Film Talks and said students should take time out of their day to participate,” instead of “Dr. Natasha Mikles, psychology lecturer, helped facilitate the discussion over “The Great Dictator,” and said students should take time out of their day to participate.” The paragraph “While the recommendation came from the philosophy department, Dr. Louie Valencia, professor in the history department, led the discussion over the Chaplin film, and planned the activities for the event,” has been added to give Dr. Louie Valencia credit for planning the event.