Holly Sloane

Equinox Staff


From the film production majors to classes revolving around movies through the ages, it is not difficult to find the presence of film and cinema at Keene State College. But often overlooked is the KSC Film Society, which not only shares a passion for this artform, but also runs a business. The Putnam Theatre, attached to the Redfern Arts Center, is where daily events and showings of films are held.

Kelsey Osborn / Equinox Staff

Kelsey Osborn / Equinox Staff

The movies that play at the Redfern are not the latest box-office hits, but rather classics shown usually on 35 mm film. The entrance fee is only $2 for KSC students and $5 for general admission- yet attendance is a major problem. When asked about an average crowd at a movie showing, Caleb McCandless, a member of the Film Society, shook his head and laughed. “We had 15 people the other night! That’s a lot for us!”

Peter Condon, a film professor at KSC, explained that since the coming of VHS there has been a substantial change in cinema. Rather than paying to have the full theater experience, home viewing has taken over. This problem is intensified further by the new digital age.

True film is difficult to find, as major corporations such as Universal and MGM only offer digital copies. The cost of upgrading the Putnam Theatre to digital is immense-within the tens of thousands. The struggle for small theaters to stay alive is nationwide, affecting Keene’s local Colonial Theatre as well. As a second-run theater, large studios do not fund the transfer to digital as they would a lucrative first-run theaters. The Film Society is trying to keep the art of true, classic film alive. The students in the club, including Jonathan Correia, Chris Ruble and Meghan Bouffard, handpick the films that are shown and are always looking for suggestions. In order to get the attention of students, the Film Society sets up the films in different themes. The latest theme for the Putnam is “Celebrations of Cinema,” which exhibits classic films with incredible visuals. “We try to find interesting posters to put up. Maybe someone will think it’s cool,” Bouffard said. The choice of film for the club is limited by price and availability. By renting from smaller corporations, the likes of Janus Films and Drafthouse Films, the selection is limited.

The efforts of the Film Society do not stop with film, either. The club has additional events and shows. One interesting production is “The Greasy Hair Club,” which features the school’s improv group, Three Ways ‘til Sunday. At the showings, the comedy group basically heckles notoriously horrible films. “The Greasy Hair Club” had a trial run last fall, which featured two screenings. The trials were successful and the Film Society is excited for the upcoming “Club” showings. On Feb. 21, the group will be heckling “Sex Madness” a 1939 exploitation film which shows the deadly effects of premarital sex. The following show will be “Reefer Madness,” 1936, which similarly shows the horrors of smoking marijuana; ironically, this will be shown on April 20. Last month, the showing of “Metropolis,” a silent film accompanied by the Alloy Orchestra, was a sell out and the Film Society hopes to recreate the success on Feb. 28 with its showing of D.W. Griffith’s “Way Down East” (1920). The film, which was consequently shot locally in the dead of winter, will be accompanied by pianist Jeff Rapsist. The 7 p.m. show will be free to students.

The experience the Film Society students receive is priceless and unique. “They learn how to run a theatre, and work a projector,” Condon said, “which is very valuable experience.” With the decline of film and small art houses, it is priceless for students to gain experience before the art is extinct.

According to Condon, many of the club members are Critical Film Study majors and former students often work in archival or movie houses. This club is not closed to only film majors, though, and any student is welcome to attend meetings on Wednesday night. The upcoming Monadnock International Film Festival, will be hosted at the Redferm on April 4-6.


Holly Sloane can be contacted at




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