Class now in session at the Darkside Cinema

Darkside Cinema

Kurt Nightengale, Practicum Contributor

With popcorn and soda in hand, take a seat and prepare for a lecture—class is now in session at Darkside Cinema.

In the past year, Darkside Cinema has become the newest locale for students interested in film to further their own understanding of the art. A few upper-division courses at Oregon State University are now offered annually, primarily focusing on genre studies.

Jon Lewis, the distinguished professor of film at OSU, began teaching these classes last winter term. Lewis finds that using Darkside is a good way to show students interested in film the kinds of movies that would not be seen in a large chain theater like Cinemark, as well as create a special site for those students who are interested in studying film.

“What better place to have as your site for film than a proper movie theater?” Lewis said. “There is a whole different feeling in a classroom, you’re not in one of these classrooms where the next class is gonna come in and it’s gonna be organic chemistry. It’s just a room, the Darkside is not just a room.”

Working with these new classes is Paul Turner, a co-owner of Darkside Cinema and a former student of Jon Lewis. Turner focuses his business on the community, and the way Darkside embraces that community is expressed in how they serve their customer base all the way to the self-described funky and fun decor the theater is known for.

“We are part of the community, that’s what we do,” Turner said. “My boss is the people who walk through that door. So, when we bring in the students and we bring in other people and they come back, we are hiring ourselves to a new group of people who tell us what to do. So we are building community by having these classes.”

Attending these classes are students like Tara McMullen, a sophomore studying geology. McMullen has been a regular in professor Lewis’s classes and was excited when he first brought up teaching at Darkside.

“Watching movies in a theater together with a bunch of other people turns the movie-watching phenomenon into an experience that is emotional that you share those emotions with the other people around you,” McMullen said. “It makes discussion of the topic, and therefore what you learn from the discussion, much more real.”

Lewis will be teaching a class at Darkside next term. You can find more information on the OSU Course Catalog.

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