THIS ARTICLE ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON THE OBSERVER ON FEBRUARY 24, 2020. REPOSTED WITH PERMISSION.
In September 2004, the Browning Cinema opened on Notre Dame campus. Located in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, the Browning Cinema is a THX certified, 200-seat theater that offers a variety of programs and events.
“It’s kind of like an arthouse cinema where we don’t really show large commercial-released films,” Kevin Krizmanich, the cinema production manager at Browning Cinema, said. “We do show newer, more independent films like indie films, classic films, cult-classic films, and then we do a lot of series and partnerships with different departments on campus and different groups from the South Bend community.”
When attending the Browning, students can expect to see films that are highly renowned and often difficult to access at a typical, commercialized movie theater.
Krizmanich said the Browning’s THX certification is very rare on a college campus and having a theater as high of a quality as the Browning on Notre Dame campus is a privilege.
Films screened at the Browning Cinema are chosen with careful planning.
“The cinema program director’s chief responsibility is to design film series and create partnerships on campus and in the community,” Krizmanich said.
Because of the wide variety of resources Notre Dame offers, the Browning often partners with different departments and academics on campus to enrich the cinematic experience at the theater.
Another way the Browning strives to enrich the educational experience of film is by frequently presenting short introductions to the audience before a film is screened.
“When possible, an introduction really helps frame a film in a certain way,” Krizmanich said. “It takes it beyond the typical movie theater experience. It’s hard not to find somebody who can speak smartly about a film on campus.”
The Browning Cinema offers a variety of film series and events, such as the Learning Beyond the Classics film series.
“Basically they choose a theme and then choose six films,” said Krizmanich, “This current one we’re doing right now is on films about death row. They help invoke your feelings about the death penalty, and it gives a little historical context about the death penalty as well.”
The Browning Cinema also offers National Theatre Live and Met Opera Live, which are live satellite streams of various theaters in London and the metropolitan opera in New York.
“That’s a cool program where you get the best of the best in theater and opera live-streamed,” Krizmanich said. “Because of the quality of our theater, you’re getting the best experience around.”
Screenings take place six days a week. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, films are shown between 7 & 8 p.m., while Friday screenings take place at 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. On Saturday, there is usually an afternoon screening, along with another 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. screening later that day. The family film series takes place at noon on Sunday, and another film is shown at 3 p.m. on Sunday as well.
Not only is the experience at the Browning of high quality, it’s also incredibly affordable for students. Often, students are able to receive free tickets or heavily discounted tickets for films sponsored by various departments across campus.
While attending the Browning is often an educational experience, the entertainment value is immense as well, Krizmanich said.
“Because we have the resources, we get to bring in directors and experts in the field of cinema and whatever the topic of the film is,” said Krizmanich. “That’s one of the fun things we get to do, and we get to give the community and the students a really cool, unique experience that you don’t get when you just go to a typical movie theater.”