More Families, not Family Friendly film fest presented in Cline Library

Print Friendly


For many students, a Tuesday night in Flagstaff may not be considered the most exciting night of the week. While homework and Netflix might seem like the only option, that’s not the case. For the rest of the spring semester, the Northern Arizona University (NAU) College of Arts and Letters (CAL) provides free entertainment on Tuesday nights as a means for students and community members to expand their movie going experience in a theater style environment.

The CAL Film Series has been a tradition at NAU for ten years where a classic film is played in the Cline Library auditorium every Tuesday night of the academic school year. Although it has been going on for years, many students are unaware of the event, which is much more than just a screening.

Before the lights dim and the show begins, there is a pre-movie talk about the film that sets the tone for viewing it. A raffle is held and candy is given out and, just like in the old days, some evenings will include an old Looney Toons shorts before the film.

While the CAL Film Series primarily focuses on older movies, it covers a wider chronological range — going all the way up to the ‘90s and beyond. Movies that have been shown include Casa Blanca, Goodfellas, The Big Lebowski and Cool Hand Luke.

“Since we only have one theater in Flagstaff, we wanted to bring in films that people otherwise wouldn’t get to see on the big screen,” said Paul Helford, a faculty member in the School of Communication. “Maybe more of a type of thing you would see in a big city to show classic-type movies.

Helford has been involved with the film series since its creation. He comes from a family of movie buffs and people who work in “the business.” He works on screenplays and teaches several film classes.

Paul Donnelly, a professor of religious studies, has been working alongside Helford with the CAL Film Series for two years.

“Mostly, we like to show stuff that we want to see on the big screen,” Donnelly said. “Especially things that people may not have seen.”

The duo is often called “the Pauls” and together they pick a theme for each film series and decide what movies to showcase. This semester’s theme is “More Families, Not Family-Friendly.”

“First, Paul [Helford] came up with this idea of doing a family film series,” Donnelly said. “But pretty quickly as we talked about it we realized that most everything we came up with was [about a] dysfunctional family and was a little more complex.

The series is open to community members and there is a steady stream of students often in attendance — some attending to fulfill a class requirement. Chris Binning, a sophomore electronic media and film major, is currently enrolled in the Art of Cinema (EMF 382) class and attends the film fests for that particular reason.

“I feel like this is a class where I am actually getting something out of it,” Binning said. “I can appreciate more movies as opposed to, ‘I’ll show up and flush everything out at the end of the semester.’”

Along with introducing students to films they otherwise wouldn’t see, the discussions help to expand the students’ knowledge of the various films.

“It was really interesting, especially the discussion afterwards,” said Liana Chinappi, a junior English major who has attended the Tuesday night films. “A lot of people point out things you didn’t notice the first time around.”

While the Pauls are not yet ready to disclose next semester’s theme, there are still plenty of great movies to be seen in the coming weeks and months. Some of these movies include Tokyo Story, Blue Velvet, Fargo, Magnolia, Sita Sings the Blues and The Godfather. Students and community members are always welcome to show up at 7 p.m. every Tuesday during the semester for a fun night of entertainment and learning. Flyers with more information about the CAL Film Series are posted outside of the Cline Auditorium.



Coconino Community College
Student Housing at NAU