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Scanning the Silver Screen 

"We love putting on a show," says Bill Pence, director of film at the Hopkins Center (the Hop). Sydney Stowe, the Hop's film manager, and Evan Golden '04, from West Hartford, Conn., enthusiastically agree.

"A full theater is a thrill," says Golden.

"It's like throwing a huge party and everyone's having a great time," says Stowe.

Stills from Cinema Paradiso. Copyyright 2002 Miramax Films.
Stills from Cinema Paradiso. Copyyright 2002 Miramax Films.

Golden and Stowe are talking about screening movies for the Dartmouth Film Society (DFS), which is dedicated to increasing film literacy and appreciation on campus and throughout the Upper Valley. Maurice Rapf '35 and Blair Watson '21A established the DFS in 1949 and it continues to thrive today, featuring a variety of films projected at least twice weekly onto the giant 16-by-28-foot screen in the Hop's Spaulding Auditorium.

The DFS's signature program each term is a series of movies, about 20 or so films, all with a common theme. There must be at least one documentary and silent movie and a sample of foreign films in each series.

Anyone can submit a proposal for a series, and competition is fierce. Members of the DFS directorate-about 25 students, faculty, and local residents-vote on the proposals, usually choosing from about six each term.

"My proposal-breakthrough films-was chosen for this winter term," says Golden, who is also director of the DFS this year. "Playing a part in finding the best ways to entertain the community is fun."

Golden's series will include classic and contemporary films that launched the careers of actors, directors, and writers. Major studio releases such as The Graduate, the first major screenwriting credit for Buck Henry '52, and Toy Story, which established the animation studio Pixar, will flicker across the screen, as will the documentary Roger and Me, filmmaker Michael Moore's first box-office success, and the foreign film The Bicycle Thief, which launched director Vittorio De Sica.

"There's a remarkable film audience in the Upper Valley," Pence says. "It's a community that's been nurtured with film for about 100 years, and we are happy to continue the tradition."

- By Susan Knapp

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Last Updated: 5/30/08