Transcript of Cornell Cinema Orientation Video

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Greetings from Cornell Cinema and welcome to our virtual orientation & open house!

Cornell Cinema is one of the longest-running campus film exhibition programs in the country, and considered one of the best!

We were founded in 1970, so this Fall we’re celebrating our 50th Anniversary.

Here’s to 50 years of great cinema!

I’m Mary Fessenden, the Director,

And this is Doug McLaren & Teresa Alvis.

Doug is our Manager & Teresa is our Administrative Asst.

Paul Dimmick is our Head Projectionist.

We’re typically joined by about 15 student employees, who work for us as projectionists, house managers, box officers, concessionaires, ushers & promotion assistants.

Here’s what we’ve got planned for this video:

  • a tour of our theatre
  • info about the kinds of films & events we typically feature
  • a preview of what we’ll be doing this Fall
  • how to stay connected to Cornell Cinema

Let’s head to our home in Willard Straight Hall, located directly opposite the Cornell Store on Central Campus.

Once inside the building, you might see this banner hanging above the Memorial Room or this display table promoting our upcoming events.

As you descend 3 flights to our theatre, you might find a line of students waiting to buy tickets to a film like PARASITE, last year's Best Picture Oscar winner.

After purchasing a ticket from one of our friendly box officers…

you’ll enter Willard Straight Theatre and walk down a few steps to the lobby, where you’ll find a concession stand!

From there you'll enter one of the most beautiful movie houses in the Northeast!

Built in the 1920s, Willard Straight Theatre offers a classic movie-going experience with high-quality screening facilities, including digital and digital 3D projection.

Here's a crowd donning 3D glasses before a screening of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse!

But Cornell Cinema is also one of the few remaining exhibitors in the world that can still project 35mm film prints on reel-to-reel projectors.

Here’s Tilda threading up!

Once you take a seat inside, you’ll notice the colorful wall murals featuring quotes from Shakespeare plays on one side, and from classic Greek theatre on the other.

Turn around and you’ll see the balcony!

Now we'll tell you about the kinds of films & events we typically present in this magnificent space, so please take a seat.

Before we begin, check out this clip from the Alloy Orchestra performing with Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.

Not so different from students heading to their 8 am classes!

But seriously. Back to our program. We'll start by telling you that we're not your average movie theatre. Here's why:

During a typical academic year, we present close to 200 films, and we feature work from the breadth of cinema: silent films with live musical accompaniment, cult and canonical repertory titles, contemporary Hollywood, documentary, international, art-house, and experimental work, as well as visiting filmmakers (that was award-winning indie producer Christine Vachon on the left), and faculty & graduate student introductions.

On occasion, we do special events in other locations on campus, like outdoor screenings on the Willard Straight Terrace, or silent movies with live music in Sage Chapel.

We'll do some events like this next Fall when things are back to normal!

But now a word from Michael McGinnis '20 (physics and philosophy), who was our head house manager.

Michael’s on the left.

"My favorite times at Cornell Cinema were when the theater was completely packed. Experiencing a movie with over 300 people creates a special atmosphere, adding energy to every funny moment or jump scare."

"My advice is to see anything that interests you in the slightest, especially movies that are different from what you usually see."

This Fall will be different, though. We won't be doing in-person screenings, nor any live music, but we are planning some great virtual cinema events!

Our virtual schedule will feature the same wide range of films we typically screen, but on a smaller scale. 

The line-up will include animation, classics, documentaries, environmental films, short film festivals, world cinema & more!

Some films will feature filmmaker Q & As via Zoom or faculty introductions. 

Most films will be offered for free (w/limits), while others will have a minimal pay-per-view. 

Visit our website  - - for details.

Stay on top of all our offerings by signing up for our WEEKLY E-BLAST on our homepage. 

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Stay tuned, stay safe... stay strong, and have a GREAT semester!