The Global Film Series at NC State is currently in its second year of delivering international cinematic experiences to students. The program is run jointly by Marian Fragola and David Hawley, who are a part of the NC State University Libraries and the Office of Global Engagement, respectively.
The Global Film Series has been a big hit on campus since it began in the fall of 2018, regularly showing turnouts of over 100 people. The series has even reached outside the student body, with members of the community regularly in attendance at screenings.
When asked about how the program started, Fragola explained her background with international films.
“My exposure to global films had been the Tournées Film Festival,” Fragola said. “It was through the French Embassy, and they brought French films to campuses, so for three years NC State hosted it. There were a whole bunch of people, not just on campus but also in the community, who wanted to watch French films ... that’s how I knew there was a market for foreign language films on campus.”
She then handed it off to David Hawley, who explained where the idea for the film series came from.
“I was brainstorming what are ways we can reach more students and expose them to other cultures, to more global themes,” Hawley said. “Historically, we had done more lectures and panel discussions, and those are great, but what are different ways that we can kind of tell stories and be innovative. Why not use films?”
He then explained how Marian and himself came together to form the idea into what it is now.
“I started putting floaters out around campus,” Hawley said. “I had cross-campus programmers group meetings to kind of see who was interested in this, and Marian happened to be in that meeting, and she stepped up and said the libraries would be willing to co-host it.”
They described the first screening from August 2018 and how they were overwhelmed by the turnout. Hawley said the seats were filled to the point that they had to turn people away.
“That’s heartbreaking, when people are there to see a film, especially people from the community who made time to come to campus,” Fragola said. “That just felt terrible.”
This year, Hawley and Fragola decided to move the Global Film Series to Witherspoon Campus Cinema in order to better accommodate the large crowds the program brings.
Fragola and Hawley have both been struck by the appreciation students have for the series.
“We did a focus group last semester, and so many of the students were like, ‘I love the Global Film Series,’” Fragola said. “If a student can actually name the thing, I think that’s really cool.”
Hawley and Fragola have intentionally kept the film schedule full of variety.
“At other kinds of international film series, they have to be either completely international or they have to be documentary,” Hawley said. “Ours has been kind of vague with that, and I think that’s helped us find some nontraditional films.”
This freedom with the films that are chosen has also allowed Hawley and Fragola to integrate the series with other programs on campus, such as the upcoming screening of the Finnish documentary “Entrepreneur.” The screening will be taking place on Nov. 19, which will coincide with Global Entrepreneurship Week on campus.
Hawley and Fragola are currently in the process of planning the screening schedule for the spring semester, which will likely include a recent Palme d’Or winner from the Cannes Film Festival. They are both extremely excited to see how the Global Film Series continues to grow both in size and in its impact on the NC State community.