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Thursday March 8, 2001

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Social Sciences not appealing venue for former Gallagher film series

By Jose Ceja

Arizona Daily Wildcat

UAB Films Committee considers funding cut due to low attendance

The University of Arizona's Films Committee may be forced to cut some of its expenses due to dwindling attendance and student interest, the president of the club said last night in a meeting.

Recent showings of "Rocky" and "Pretty Woman" have drawn as few as one or two people, a sorry turnout for a club that's already had to cope with significant financial problems due to dwindling interest and venue shortcomings. Over the last year, the club has had to deal with a loss of $40,000 because of low attendance.

Brendan O'Connell, president of the Films Committee, said the main problem for the club has been the loss of Gallagher Theatre, where, until last fall, the committee had showed movies for more than 30 years.

O'Connell said Social Sciences 100, where the Films Committee has moved its screenings since the destruction of Gallagher, is not an appealing venue for students since it makes students feel like they are in class and does not have a good sound system.

Since the club typically pays about $650 for a two-day run of a movie, it has considered moving from Social Sciences in an effort to boost attendance. Yet, O'Connell said no adequate facilities exist on campus.

"Social Sciences is (still) the best for what we need," he said.

Julie Brown, a political science and French major who is a member of the group, said although a loss of attendance was expected after the destruction of Gallagher, many students thought the Films Committee died with it.

"(Students thought) that when Gallagher went, there would be no more movies," she said.

O'Connell said he hopes the new student union - scheduled for completion in 2002 - will be the new home of the Films Committee, but until then, they may have to cut their already reduced funding.

Last semester, O'Connell said the club, which is funded through the University Activities Board, showed movies every Thursday and Friday but now only shows movies every other Thursday and Friday - an amount that may be reduced further still.

"We are usually taking a pretty big hit," O'Connell said.

Darius Rahaman, a business freshman who said he saw the Films Committee's screening of "Road Trip" last semester, said he hasn't heard very much about the Film Committee and he might be interested in seeing some of their films if they advertised more.

O'Connell said the Films Committee has been making an effort to advertise more and managed to draw a total of 56 people to a screening of "Batman" last weekend.

For the Films Committee, however, some of the most popular screenings have been sneak previews such as "Road Trip," which they do not profit from since they are shown as publicity by the films' distributors.

O'Connell said the Films Committee will keep promoting its events by giving discounted admission to students who attend dressed as characters from the movies, among other things.

"I'd like to think that (advertising) helps, but sometimes it just hasn't worked out," he said.