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From left, Ryan Phillippe, Jorma Taccone, Will Forte and John Solomon  cast and crew of "MacGruber" pose for photo the morning after screening the film for CU students at Chem 140 last spring.
Stephen Swofford
From left, Ryan Phillippe, Jorma Taccone, Will Forte and John Solomon cast and crew of “MacGruber” pose for photo the morning after screening the film for CU students at Chem 140 last spring.

Some of the schwag that comes with mom and pop’s popping for a University of Colorado education includes Program Council — specifically its free film screenings.

Last April, Program Council, and hundreds of CU students, scored a pre-release screening of “MacGruber,” the SNL-skit-inspired feature, and actors Will Forte and Ryan Phillippe came to campus to promote the movie.

As well, CU students had the chance to catch “Get Him To The Greek” and “Toy Story 3” for free as part of PC’s Sneak Peek film series last spring before the movies blew up at the box office.

“We are able to provide full screenings of unreleased blockbusters a few days or weeks ahead of their mainstream release dates,” said Chris Kennedy, marketing coordinator for Program Council. “The screenings are available to anyone, and every single screening is free of charge.”

When Hollywood isn’t trying to create a buzz by sending a pre-release to the CU campus, PC hosts a regular Friday Night Films series — free screenings of popular movies. The series includes “Prince of Persia: Sands of Time” this Friday, plus “Shrek Forever After” (Sept. 3) and “Killers” (Sept. 10) in the coming weeks.

The Sneak Peek and Friday Night Films movies show at Chem 140.

Find out more at

Campus art house

Newer isn’t necessarily better when it comes to film technology.

At least according to Pablo Kjolseth, director of CU’s International Film Series. IFS, which is celebrating its 69th year of bringing art-house cinema to campus, continues to offer audiences a celluloid movie experience, even as digital technology makes its way headlong into the movie industry.

“We’re still very much about celluloid,” Kjolseth said. “We have a reel-to-reel projector so we can screen archives. Ninety percent of our programming is celluloid, and there is a psychological difference, a warmth in celluloid vs. digital.”

IFS screens its films weekly in Muenzinger Auditorium on the CU campus. Its programming this fall runs from Sept. 8 through Nov. 19. Wednesdays will be devoted to the works of classic art-house directors like Michelangelo Antonioni, Federico Fellini, Jean-Luc Godard, Werner Herzog, Akira Kurosawa, Fritz Lang and Andrei Tarkovsky, Kjolseth said.

Thursdays and Fridays will feature more contemporary films. Among films on the schedule are “Howl,” the new biopic of poet Allen Ginsburg; the documentary “The Nature of Existence” by Roger Nygard ( “Trekkies” ); and the Italian comedy “Mid-August Lunch.”

On Sept. 23 and 24, IFS will produce The World According to Shorts, a festival of animation from around the world. (Shorts is free to CU students).

IFS changes channels Saturdays by offering “something more challenging and rewarding,” according to Kjolseth.

That includes “Red Riding,” a trilogy of British crime dramas first made for British television.

“It was the best thing I saw at Telluride (Film Festival) last year,” Kjolseth said.

Most films at IFS are $5 for CU students and $6 for general audiences.

Visit for more information.

Blockbuster cinema and more

The largest cinema in Boulder is the 16-screen Century Boulder at Twenty Ninth Street, the outdoor mall in the center of town. Open less than two years, Century Boulder boasts stadium seating and high-tech sound. It’s home to local screenings of Hollywood blockbusters and the occasional offbeat movie.

Visit for further details.

Though known more as a music venue, the Boulder Theater screens movies — adventure films and cult favorites — from time to time. Check out what’s upcoming at

Moviegoers will have another local alternative, possibly as soon as this winter, as the Dairy Center for the Arts is installing a 125-seat cinema. The new single-screen cinema will reportedly feature a state-of-the art projection system.

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