About ten years ago, the staff of Filmhuis Lumen noticed a greying of their audience and a sharp drop in the number of students. They undertook action and asked a student-run consultancy bureau for advice. This led to a regular student evening (Tuesday) and the establishment of a student committee. Programmer Jacqueline van Velzen remembers it well, “They influenced the choice of films and ensured a connection to TU Delft.”
Despite this success the committee faded away due to a lack of interest. Then Van Velzen sent out an appeal last year, and enthusiastic students applied like in the beginning. They included Aerospace Engineering master student Benyamin de Leeuw.
What does the student committee do?
De Leeuw explained, “We are busy with promoting the cinema via social media and other channels and organising occasional events like an Oscar Night. Every Tuesday is student night, we show three or four films that students can see for €5 each. The committee selects two of the films.”
How can you attract students to a cinema, in the age of streaming services like Netflix and Videoland that are only increasing in popularity?
De Leeuw replied, “That has become more difficult, especially because it is becoming even easier to watch a film at home. But I would still recommend going to the cinema once in a while to everyone. The atmosphere in a cinema is very different than that at home. You pay more attention to the film and are less easily distracted.”
Van Velzen added, “When you watch a film at home, you visit the refrigerator or look at your telephone. This lessens the film-watching experience. Here you sit in a darkened room, and you are absorbed in the screen. You don’t have that at home, however big your screen is.”
What do you find the best aspect of going to watch a film?
De Leeuw said, “The feeling that you are sharing something with the rest of the audience for two hours. I also enjoy experiencing the emotions that are triggered. A film can surprise you, make you happy or sad.”
Is a visit to the cinema a social occasion for students?
De Leeuw confirmed, “Yes, they mostly come with flatmates or friends.”
Van Velzen added, “Although the idea of the student evening is that you can come on your own. You will always bump into other students. For example, we organised a special evening for the Delftsch Studenten Corps and Virgiel. Sixty people turned up to watch a film!”
De Leeuw replied, “We are in regular contact with societies and enjoy organising an event if there is room in the calendar. For example, we are currently talking to Students4Sustainability, and we organised a special evening earlier together with Outsite.”
What is on the cards in the near future?
Van Velzen said, “This autumn we are offering a series of films about artificial intelligence in collaboration with Studium Generale. In the framework of ‘the Year of the Golden Age in Delft’, we show a number of Dutch films subtitled in English. This will allow international students and expats to get acquainted with the Dutch film culture.
I am also looking forward to the moment that I can show the Korean film Parasite (winner of the Palme d'Or at Cannes Film Festival, ed.) during one of the upcoming student evenings. I am extremely curious about the audience’s reactions!”
- Every Tuesday upon presentation of your student card, you can buy a ticket to the film for just €5. Would you like to visit Filmhuis Lumen with a large group or do you have an idea for a theme evening? Please contact them by e-mail.