Willard Straight Theatre

About Us

Cornell Cinema has been cited as one of the best campus film exhibition programs in the country, screening close to 150 different films/videos each year, many shown in conjunction with academic courses, five to seven nights a week in the beautiful Willard Straight Theatre. The space features the largest screen in Ithaca, Dolby Digital Surround Sound and the best projection in the area, with facilities to handle archival 35mm reel-to-reel prints, DCP (including high quality 3D), and other digital formats. 16mm prints can also be accommodated with portable projectors. Each semester-long schedule includes an array of classic Hollywood and foreign films, documentaries, recent international cinema, silent films with live musical accompaniment, cult classics, experimental work, and recent Hollywood and arthouse hits, in addition to guest appearances by visiting filmmakers. Many films are introduced by faculty or graduate students, and some are followed by faculty panel discussions and/or receptions.

Cornell Cinema is a program of the Department of Performing and Media Arts. It receives major support from the College of Arts & Sciences and the Graduate & Professional Student Assembly. Additional support provided by a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts and the Cornell Council for the Arts.

Film screening in Sage Chapel

Mission Statement

Cornell Cinema was established in 1970 as a university film society, but has evolved into a regional exhibition program with a national reputation. Its primary mission is educational: to expose audiences to a diverse range of cinematic experiences (classics, documentaries, experimental work, silent films, international cinema, shorts programs, alternative animation) that would otherwise not be offered in the area, and to supplement these with educational services that enhance viewers’ appreciation of the art form (media maker presentations, faculty introductions, and panel discussions with experts on subject matter). Its secondary mission is to offer the campus community affordable, second-run popular Hollywood entertainment.

General Information

  • All screenings open to the public
  • All foreign language films subtitled in English unless otherwise noted
  • All screenings in Willard Straight Hall unless otherwise noted
  • Box Office opens 20 minutes before showtime, and closes 30 minutes after showtime

Accessibility Info:

Cornell Cinema has wheelchair and companion seating inside its theatre, and a lift to move from the outer to the inner lobby. Mobility-impaired patrons are encouraged to use this lift, as there are a number of stairs down to the inner lobby and the theatre entrance. The inner lobby also includes an accessible, gender-neutral washroom.

Cornell Cinema also has assistive listening headsets and closed caption readers available for checkout at the Box Office. Not all titles include descriptive audio or closed captions, but those that do will have this information noted on the individual film’s page within a week of its showdate. To check out one of these devices, please leave an ID with the Box Office.