ASU and Alamo Drafthouse take lectures from classrooms to movie theaters

New film series will bring ASU professors and cinephiles to the Tempe Alamo Drafthouse location

Once a month, cinephiles at ASU and across the Valley flock to Alamo Drafthouse Cinema to experience lectures on classic films in front of the big screen. 

With a core value rooted in providing its guests with a unique movie-going experience, Alamo Drafthouse in Tempe has partnered with ASU's film school, bringing lectures on classic films out of the classroom and into the theater.

ASU film professor Christopher LaMont assisted in forming the relationship between Alamo Drafthouse and the ASU Film School, said his relationship with Alamo Drafthouse began when they first came to Valley but the first location's distance from ASU posed barriers to their partnership. 

“They wanted to do something with ASU for a while, but I said ‘because you’re in Chandler, I don’t really see the connection to ASU,'” LaMont said. 

LaMont said once Alamo Drafthouse opened its doors in Tempe, he was again approached about developing a relationship between the theater and ASU's film school. LaMont said he was completely on board and proposed a monthly film showing that includes a conversation and lecture from ASU professors.

“The idea is (to) find a movie you are interested in enough that the general public will have an interest in seeing here ... and then you are an expert in that movie,” LaMont said. “You come and you do a lecture with a PowerPoint, just like when you go to class. Then you watch the film and there’s a Q&A and discussion after film.”

While the event is set up as a lecture, LaMont said the theater setting makes it more exciting than sitting in a classroom.

“When ASU professors are coming out into the public with movies, it’s exciting for regular filmgoers to be able to kind of experience (the lecture) and get an understanding (of the film),” LaMont said. "I know the idea of sitting through class is a really scary thing but you will really enjoy learning a lot about movies and seeing these great films on the big screen."

Derek Dodd, an Alamo Drafthouse operating partner, said the theater takes pride in providing an extra edge in the movie-going experience with themed food and drink menus, unique showings and a strict no-talking policy. Current showings at the Tempe location range from Neon's new release, "Assassination Nation," to Mel Brooks' 1987 film, "Spaceballs."

Since its first location opened in 1997, Alamo Drafthouse now has over 30 locations in 10 states, according to its website. There was never any question about Alamo Drafthouse coming to Tempe, Dodd said.

"We were having conversations about the Tempe location before we even opened our Chandler location," Dodd said. "It was a no-brainer to be in Tempe near ASU."

Jason Scott, assistant director of film in the School of Film, Dance and Theatre, said the series is more than an analysis of the technicalities of the film-making process.

Scott will be conducting the lecture for the October showing of the 1979 musical film “All That Jazz” on Oct. 9. 

"We have relationships with these great classic films,” Scott said. “Every time we experience them, we are a little different and we know different things and we see different things and that is something I want to emphasize to the audience."


Reach the reporter at dfbrewst@asu.edu or follow @destinyyyfaye on Twitter. 

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