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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Gallagher seeks to teach, entertain with films”

    Posters outside Gallagher Theater advertise films and events to students passing through the SUMC on Thursday afternoon.
    Posters outside Gallagher Theater advertise films and events to students passing through the SUMC on Thursday afternoon.

    The University of Arizona’s Gallagher Theater lineup can look like a variety show, with guest lectures from established professors listed alongside blockbuster hits.

    Where else would films including Oscar Best Picture nominee “”Milk,”” a sneak preview of “”Adventureland,”” and “”Lesbian Grandmothers are from Mars”” show up on the same marquee?

    “”This is the first year that we’ve really done this kind of excessive partnership with so many organizations, like the Women’s Resource Center, Sustainability Committee, and the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership,”” said Darren Scott, UA undergrad and Gallagher manager.

    Scott said he is responsible for a lot of the “”nuts and bolts”” functions of running the Gallagher, from choosing and ordering films, marketing and scheduling functions to maintaining the general upkeep of the theater. Part of that includes working with departments and campus organizations to bring their programs to the student audience.

    “”We’ve really tried to use the Gallagher Theater as an educational space this year, as opposed to just a movie theater,”” Scott said.

    The Women’s Resource Center is one of several on-campus groups that has taken advantage of this educational space at the theater.

    The goal of the WRC’s Film Series is “”to promote tolerance and acceptance, as well as to educate the community about … social justice issues,”” said Raquel Ortega, co-head of the WRC’s Film Series Committee. “”These are things that affect our friends, family and community every single day and we may not even know it.””

    The collaborations have been beneficial for both sides. “”(The Gallagher is) one of our sponsors and our agreement is that we provide these films and promote the use of the Gallagher and have people come check it out, and they give us the venue for it,”” said Ortega.

    Scott agreed that the different organizations’ functions have been beneficial for the Gallagher. “”What we get to do a lot of times, especially this year with those partnerships, is show a screening for free; but we get to charge for concessions,”” he said.

    Like most movie theaters, a considerable portion of the Gallagher’s revenue comes from popcorn and soda, which students will purchase whether they’re watching the family-friendly animated “”Bolt,”” or a documentary on feminists in the adult film industry.

    “”For obvious reasons, that one was pretty controversial, but it was very informative and educational and a lot of people were like, ‘Wow, I’d really like to check that out,”” said Ortega.

    The Gallagher Theater provides a forum for discussion on a variety of topics, including sustainability and social justice issues. Many of the organization-sponsored films hold panels or discussions after their films.

    “”The best thing is when you hear people leave and say, ‘Wow, that just blew my mind, I had no idea that people like this existed or that this was an issue,'”” said Ortega.

    But the Gallagher doesn’t fall into the common trap that often comes with an attempt to be all things for all audiences. Rather, the theater has taken the opportunity this year to become a venue for education and special interest groups, while still providing a chance for the diehard fan to see “”The Dark Knight”” or “”Twilight”” again, and for a paltry $3 this time around.

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