Manchester University
Oak Leaves

September 22, 2017


First-years Kylie Kroger and Brittany Miller recently restored the Literary Film Series. They hope to pick movies that target audience members of all majors.

Photo by Ciara Knisely 

Gilliar, First-year Students Revive Literary Film Series

Teresa Masteller 

An English professor at Manchester University encouraged first-year students to revive the Literary Film Society (LFS) in order to connect students with the relationship between literature and film in a thought-provoking way, and to jump-start their university careers.

Dr. Beate Gilliar acts as the Literary Film Society’s academic advisor alongside two first-year student facilitators. “The Literary Film Society allows students to enjoy the cinematic transliteration of written text into visual presentation; some students may want to read the book after seeing a film,” she said. All the films shown in the LFS are based on books which may be in English or another language. Gilliar believes such co-curricular opportunities will “allow students to engage in studying the power of how books matter, even on screen.”

Student Facilitators Brittany Miller and Kylie Kroger gained interest in the LFS while talking to Gilliar, their FYS (first-year seminar) professor. “The topic just came up as we were discussing ‘Dead Poets Society,’” Miller said. “She was so excited about it and any time Professor Gilliar is excited about something it just becomes contagious.”

For her part, Gilliar said she likes working with first-year students. “As they connect with their university career early on, students will enjoy probing worthy questions that will contribute to their critical and imaginative thinking,” she said.

The LFS grew from a residence hall feature to its current form as an auditorium filler. In fall 2010, an English major started showing films in her residence hall room. A crowd formed and kept returning each week. That’s when students realized that others were interested, and that they needed a bigger space. And thus, the Literary Film Society was born.

The LFS has not shown films in about one and a half years due to students studying overseas and Gilliar’s absence during a sabbatical semester. “It takes committed students to make the series happen,” Gilliar said. “I am so grateful for the two first-year students who are very excited to serve as facilitators.”

 Miller wants students to know that this society is not just for English majors. “I think this club appeals to anyone,” she said. “I'm a Business and French double major, but I love the arts and building my own perspective. I believe this is great way for others to do that too. Just because you aren't an English major doesn't mean this isn't for you.”

Kroger, an English major, has a different approach on why students might be interested in the club. “I think it makes something like reading, which maybe not everyone enjoys, into something everyone can enjoy,” she said. “I have never come across a person who doesn't enjoy movies, and I think it makes the stories in books more appealing to a larger audience.”

Both Kroger and Miller expressed excitement about running this series. “Being a first-year doesn't really intimidate me,” Miller declared. “I'm definitely excited to get involved and hit the ground running. I'm looking forward to learning more from the movies we select, as well as bringing people together on campus in a way that's out of the ordinary.”

Some of the films shown by the Literary Film Society offer VIA credit, if the students stay for the moderated post-screening discussion. “We typically have two films VIA-approved in the fall, and two films for the spring,” Gilliar said.

Literary Film Society screenings are typically shown in Academic Center 101, Flory Auditorium, or, if the film serves as a VIA event, Cordier Auditorium. Future film showings will be advertised via email, campus screens and the university calendar.

The way the films are chosen is simple. Students ask their friends for recommendations on literature-related films and then a poll is taken. For VIA films, films are chosen based on VIA (Values, Ideas, and Arts) requirements.

“Silver Linings Playbook,” based on the novel by Matthew Quick, will be the first film shown. It can be viewed Wednesday, October 18 at 7:30 p.m., in Flory Auditorium, Science Center.

“Even if you're not sure if this series would be something you would enjoy, come check it out,” Kroger said. “You never know, you might walk away discovering a new love for film and a new appreciation for books and the stories they tell.”