The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Monday, Dec. 4, 2023 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

Art and movies meet through Ackland Film Forum


Photos courtesy of Adobe Stock and Unsplash.

The Ackland Film Forum is bringing a diverse and intriguing selection of nineties throwback films to the big screen this fall, with free admission to the public and campus life experience credit for UNC students.

The product of a partnership between the Ackland Art Museum and the UNC Film Studies program. Each year the series combines the overarching theme of the films — this year's being nineties throwbacks — with a creative selection of pieces in the Ackland. 

“We invite people to pick up a little sheet that has the artwork listed with the film, and you can scan the QR code and zoom in to the high-res images in our collection online and everything,” Allison Portnow Lathrop, head of public programs at the Ackland, said.

The series kicked off on Sept. 12, at the Varsity Theatre on Franklin Street, with a screening of the 1991 classic, “Thelma & Louise.” The next screening, playing Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Magnolia,” will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 7:30 p.m. 

Each film is introduced by a different professor or student-led film organization from the University. Portnow Lathrop said these brief introductions give the films an educational component, so CLE credit is offered. 

“One of our main goals is to just provide students with the group experience of seeing a film in a legitimate screening space, and those spaces are hard to come by on campus,” Rick Warner, director of Film Studies, said.

Calvin Mueller, a UNC senior and member of the Chapel Hill Film Society, attended the “Thelma & Louise” screening and said that he had never seen the Varsity so full.

Mueller added that many people in the audience seemed to be underclassmen, and he said it was good to see more students explore local theaters and film.

“I think the great thing about the Ackland film series is that it kind of addresses that gap and really allows for anybody, since they’re open to the public, to explore movies and therefore different perspectives that they wouldn’t otherwise get,” he said.

Warner said the organizers always try to incorporate international films into the series as well. In collaboration with the Carolina Asia Center, two international films will be screened in the Nelson Mandela Auditorium in the Global FedEx Center on campus. 

The series is also in collaboration with the PlayMakers Repertory Company. The Oct. 10 showing of “Misery,” a thriller based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name, directly precedes the PlayMakers’ stage adaptation, which they are performing from Oct. 11 to Oct. 31.

“We timed it so that it's right around the time that that play is opening, so hopefully people will go see the film and then go see the play,” Warner said. 

Portnow Lathrop said the series, and all of the collaborations and interactive elements of their screenings, let people discern how film and moving images relate to artwork at the museum. 

“If you're already a museum person, it's good to sort of expand into that film world,” she said. “If you're already a film person, it's good to come to a series like this that encourages you to go back to the museums and other art forms.”

Portnow Lathrop added that the series is a rare opportunity to see a curated film experience put together by professors and film buffs. She said that it gives audiences a different experience of the films as opposed to seeing them independently. 

For a full list of the upcoming screenings, click here.


@dthlifestyle |

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.