Nestled in the northern side of the IU Auditorium, the Indiana University Cinema stands as students bustle past to class. Many people frequent the area without acknowledging the building’s history or experiencing the cutting-edge technology housed inside the facility.
Faculty at the IU Cinema meeting to talk about the war effort. President Herman B Wells can be seen standing on the right (1942), IU Archives Photo Collection
In the Beginning
The building was constructed in the late 1930s and was first home to the Indiana University Theatre. It was a performing space for just over 60 years before the Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center was built next door. The old facility then went unused from 2002 until 2007, when IU President Michael McRobbie announced that he wanted to make the vacant theater into a cinema. The new Indiana University Cinema finally opened in 2011.
Students outside the former IU Theatre (1964), IU Archives Photo Collection
Behind the front doors, the small lobby has lighting fixtures modeled after those in the IU Auditorium. The lower level lobby has on its walls posters signed by famous guests who visited the IU Cinema, including Meryl Streep. The elegant interior of the theater includes four Thomas Hart Benton murals (similar to the ones in Woodburn Hall) and lighting fixtures that invisibly encase the cinema’s sound system.
Inside the IU Cinema, featuring the lighting fixtures and one Benton mural
Did you know?
If one was standing inside the cinema and facing the back, they could see the windows of the room in which the screening technology is housed. They have the equipment to screen classic film reels as well as projectors that screen films digitally (including 3D).
Equipment room in the IU Cinema
The IU Cinema screens multiple films each week. They offer a diverse selection of movies from international films to taped concerts to Hollywood classics. Directors and filmmakers are often scheduled to visit the cinema and give a talk or participate in an interview. In addition, the cinema hosts student film festivals and other showcases. One popular event is Double Exposure, a collaborative project between The Media School and Jacobs School of Music. Depending on the event, tickets are free or discounted for students.
Visitors have a chance to view award-winning pieces, independent film, and classic Hollywood works. With little or no cost to the IU student, everyone should take advantage of what the IU Cinema has to offer. For movie buffs and curious minds, IU Cinema is the place for film.
Visit the Indiana University Cinema website to see upcoming screenings and events. (Note: You won't be permitted to scarf down popcorn like Michael Jackson--the IU Cinema does not allow food inside.)
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