IU Cinema Building History and Information
- The Indiana University Cinema facility was a Works Progress Administration project built in the late 1930s as the University Theatre and was the home for student theatre productions until 2002 and the completion of the Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center next door.
- In July of 2007, President Michael A. McRobbie announced that one of his strategic objectives during his presidency would be to turn the then-unused University Theatre into a state-of-the-art facility dedicated to the scholarly study of film.
- Many of the design elements in the auditorium reflect current features on campus. For instance, the lighting fixtures in the lobby are modeled exactly after light fixtures in the IU Auditorium.
- The color scheme of the theater was informed from the color palette of the beautiful Thomas Hart Benton Indiana Murals painted for a 1933 Chicago exhibition. The Cinema houses four of those murals at each corner of the auditorium.
- The Cinema’s new technology is hidden, partially in order to maintain the feel of a classic auditorium. All 14 surround-sound speakers are hidden in the custom light fixtures, and behind fabric panels on the back wall. The screen is also hidden by the grand Austrian drape.
- Part of our pre-show operation includes motorized mural shades that are lowered while the grand drape is being raised. The purpose of these mural shades is to provide clean, black wall surface, preventing glare on the screen and possible distractions of the murals in a patron’s peripheral vision.
- The lower lobby houses two large display cases that hold curated exhibits of film posters, artifacts, papers, and manuscripts relevant to programs being presented in the Cinema. Displays often include film-related items from the collections of IU’s Lilly Library, IU Libraries Moving Image Archive, The Kinsey Institute, and the Black Film Center Archive.
- Considered possibly the best equipped university cinema in the U.S., the IU Cinema boasts both 2K and 4K Digital Projection (including live 4K streaming capabilities and 3D), as well as 16mm and 35mm reel-to-reel, with variable speed controls for silent frame rates controlled to two tenths of a frame per second. Having the reel-to-reel capabilities in 16mm and 35mm allows the IU Cinema to use prints from any archive in the world.