About Cornell Cinema

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, five nights a week in the beautiful Willard Straight Theatre. Each calendar includes an array of classic Hollywood and foreign films, independent titles, documentaries, experimental work, recent international cinema, silent films with live musical accompaniment, cult classics and recent Hollywood and arthouse hits, in addition to guest appearances by visiting film and videomakers.

Cornell Cinema began in 1970 as a university film society, but has evolved into a media arts center with a national reputation. Cornell Cinema's primary purpose is to expose Ithaca and regional audiences to alternative forms of cinema (such as documentary, classic, and experimental films) as well as alternative voices not usually heard through the mass media. Its secondary purpose is to provide affordable, second-run commercial entertainment for the Cornell community. In fulfillment of its educational goals, Cornell Cinema encourages audiences to reflect critically on commercial and other media by supplementing its over 300 annual screenings with occasional faculty introductions, guest filmmakers, panel discussions, and more.

Educational and Exhibition Services

Film and Video Exhibition

Over 150 films/videos are screened annually in series such as Classic Cinema, Doc Spots, Film Faves, Art Docs, Silent Films with Live Music, director and actor retrospectives, overviews of national and minority cinemas, and themed series.

Visiting Artists and Speakers

Over thirty guest filmmakers and speakers attend Cornell Cinema screenings and workshops each year, introducing and discussing their work. Previous guests have included Todd Haynes, Kelly Reichardt, Alex Rivera, Scott Ferguson '80, Will Gluck '93, Tim Squyres '81, Ernie Gehr, So Young Kim, Jennifer Reeves, Brent Green, Serge Bromberg, Howard A. Rodman '71, Sam Green, Peter Hutton, Julie Murray, Vincent Grenier, Chantal Akerman, Craig Baldwin, Irit Batsry, Stephanie Black, Robert Beavers, Sadie Benning, John Cleese, Ximena Cuevas, Su Friedrich, Miranda July, Lewis Klahr, Ang Lee, Sharon Lockhart, Anne Makepeace, Anand Patwardhan, Leighton Pierce, Daniel Reeves, Jay Rosenblatt, Thelma Schoonmaker, Roshan Seth, and Yvonne Welbon.

IthaKid Film Fest

Cornell Cinema's showcase for alternative children's media, the IthaKid Film Fest presents a total of ten Saturday matinees in the late fall (November/December) and early spring (February/March). The festival features high-quality children's programs, including feature-length international films, animated and live-action short films and videos, experimental and documentary works for children, silent classics with live piano accompaniment, and special hands-on workshops with guest artists. Previous workshop guests have included children's filmmaker Michael Rubbo, animators John Canemaker and Stephanie Maxwell, and Toronto-based experimental filmmaker John Porter.

Rental Inquiries

We are accepting screening rental requests for Spring 2019.

A certain number of weekends per semester, however, are reserved for non-film student group use. Student groups looking to use the Willard Straight Theatre for non-film events need to contact Carol James with Student and Campus Life.

If you are interested in having a film shown in Willard Straight Theatre for your student group or academic department, please coordinate with Cinema Manager Douglas McLaren to reserve a time when Cornell Cinema is not presenting its own programs (primarily Monday and Tuesday nights) for a reasonable rental fee. These events can be scheduled with no less than three weeks lead time. For details on these special rentals, contact Douglas at dsm27@cornell.edu.