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COC’s cinema department brings recently released art house films to campus

Movies are open to the public

Posted: August 28, 2013 6:48 p.m.
Updated: August 28, 2013 6:48 p.m.

SANTA CLARITA - The Public Broadcasting System has reached out to College of the Canyons to screen some of its Point of View documentaries at the Valencia campus’s auditorium, Humanities Division Dean Jennifer Brezina said this week.

“As we were promoting the event for the documentary ‘Girl Rising,’ they contacted me to see if we would be part of their community network,” Brezina said.

The college is previewing some of the PBS documentaries now to select which ones it will screen at the 104-seat auditorium built just for film presentations.

“What also drew them to us is that one of their documentaries is actually produced in Santa Clarita,” Brezina said. “‘Only The Young’ follows some local teenagers. This is one of the front-runners because it is a local story.”

Once selected, the documentaries, which also air on PBS affiliate stations, will be shown at the college Sept. 20, Oct. 18 and Nov. 15, she said.

The PBS programming will augment COC’s role of filling a local void for art house film fans who would normally have to trek outside the Santa Clarita Valley to view select movies.

Every Friday night during the academic calendar, COC shows domestic and foreign films free of charge to both students and the public.

“We show great films that never (otherwise) come to the Santa Clarita Valley,” said Gary Peterson, cinema department chair at COC and professor of cinema.

“They’re basically art house films; recently released on Blue-ray or DVD that maybe were in the theaters only six months ago,” he said.

Every other week, the college screens foreign films, said Peterson, who oversees the school’s cinema program.

“Enrollment this fall is 672 students and 14 classes,” Brezina said. “Most of the classes are on the Valencia campus, but some are on the Canyon Country campus.”

Every one of the classes is filled, Peterson said.

With three different movie showings every Friday, running at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., Peterson invites his film students to attend and earn extra credit because there is not enough time to show the films in class, he said.

But the movies are also open to the public, and Peterson introduces each film with some questions to provoke thought among the moviegoers.

“We get 80 to 100 people a night,” he said. “And we also have a Facebook group called ‘Friday night at the screening room’ where people chat about the films.”

Premiering this Friday night at the 5 p.m. showing is the first in a series of director of Krzysztof Kieslowski’s series “The Decalogue” — stories built on modern-day versions of the Ten Commandments.

Also showing Friday night in the later time slots is French film “The Kid with a Bike” and “What Masie Knew” starring actors Julianne Moore and Alexander Skarsgård from the producers of “The Kids Are All Right.”

Because seating is limited, movie fans are allowed in on a “first come, first served” basis, Brezina said.

Because the movies are shown for educational purposes and no one is charged to see them, the college is able to get recently released films, Peterson said.

“People have to drive into Encino or elsewhere for art house movies,” Peterson said. “We’re trying to fill that void here.”

Since the films are shown in Hasley Hall 101 on the north end of campus near the Performing Arts Center, it’s best to park in Parking Lot 5 off Rockwell Canyon Road.



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