A new film series sponsored by the university will debut this Friday night in an attempt to diminish Del Playa Drive crowds and revive Isla Vista Theater’s 70s “Magic Lantern” movie house heritage.
Starting this week with a showing of “Big Fish,” and continuing with other movies every Friday until the end of Spring Quarter, Magic Lantern Films will screen a movie every Friday and Saturday night at 8:30 and again at 11:30. Tickets for the show will cost $4 and will be available for purchase at the I.V. Theater box office a half-hour prior to each show time.
Christy Julin, an alumna of the class of 2003 and president of the Santa Barbara Film Society, is acting as the producer of Magic Lantern Films. A handful of student volunteers and paid employees will comprise the rest of the organization. Julin said the weekly film screenings were started to provide an alternative to the oft-routine weekend partying in I.V.
“We hope that UCSB students and residents of Isla Vista will enjoy this safe and inexpensive source of entertainment on Friday nights,” Julin said.
Julin said Magic Lantern Films works in collaboration with I.V. Live, the Friday night variety showcase in Embarcadero Hall, because both want there to be a cultural arts scene in Isla Vista. Magic Lantern Films and I.V. Live coordinate their events. Attendees can use their ticket stub from a 9 p.m. I.V. Live performance for entrance to an 11 p.m. screening at Magic Lantern Films.
“The whole point is that there is something for students to chose from that is interesting, not just binge drinking at a party,” Julin said. “We want to enrich the local arts scene.”
Julin said she expects a large showing of at least 400 students for this Friday’s inaugural screening and the Magic Lantern’s grand opening. She said Chancellor Henry T. Yang is scheduled to introduce the film.
The name “Magic Lantern” dates back to the early 1960s when what is now I.V. Theater was a popular movie house called the Magic Lantern Theater, according to the group’s website. The old theater screened classic, independent and foreign films, but was forced to close due to financial troubles in 1974. UCSB purchased the theater for use as a lecture hall shortly thereafter.
Julin said the new weekly Magic Lantern screenings would try to revive the spirit of the old theater by showing a variety of genres from Hollywood blockbusters and independent films like “The Station Agent.”
“Film programming for college students is hard because it is such a diverse audience with different tastes,” Julin said. “That is why we will screen a variety of films and types to appeal to all.”
Magic Lantern Films is funded by the office of the executive vice chancellor, the College of Letters and Science, and the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts. It allocates its funds for film promotion, theater rental and ushers. Julin said organizers spend the largest amount of money on print rentals, which can cost close to $800 per film.
“These events are really expensive, so we won’t be making a profit,” Julin said.
On Friday, April 9 and Saturday, April 10, Magic Lantern Films will show two films: “City of God” and “Scarface.” Upcoming screenings later in the quarter will include movies such as “Once Upon a Time in Mexico,” “Bottle Rocket,” “It Came From Outer Space,” “Dr. Strangelove” and “Easy Rider.”