Film projection series sparks cross-discipline dialogue

Leah Mitchell

Grand Valley State University’s “Projection: The Film Series” aims to cater to a diverse group of students to stimulate dialogue across disciplines.

“Ultimately it is an opportunity for both faculty and students to have a dialogue outside of the classroom environment,” said Mihaela Friedlmeier, GVSU psychology professor. “We hope to be able to continue offering the film series and attract more students from more disciplines.”

Co-sponsored by the psychology department and the School of Communications, the film series has been in the process of actively screening seven films containing psychological communication, perspective and interesting film form.

On Oct. 31, an assembly of teachers and students will watch the fifth chosen film, “The Secretary” (Shainberg, 2002). Psychology professor Todd Williams said movies like “The Secretary” are carefully chosen by the extent of being a “good” movie, as well as with the intention to exemplify a psychological condition that the audience can identify with.

After each film is shown, students are invited to stay after for a brief discussion regarding the themes of the movie.

Originally launched in 2007 by psychology professor Brian Bowdle, “Projection” was initially created with the desire to offer a fun cultural activity at GVSU.

Friedlmeier said the Projection project always has and always will encourage students to learn new things in an informal, relaxed setting. Initially the series targeted students involved with psychology because of the direct film connection to different topics in psychology, such as sexuality, group dynamics, memory and dreaming. However, attendance began to grow as students began to bring friends, creating a more involved and diverse group, whether involved in psychology or not.

In the fall semester of 2011, what was known as “Projection” morphed into a different project due to new collaboration with the School of Communications, and it became known as “Projection: The Film Series.” A variety of films are presented, including classical, modern, foreign works and documentaries.

Joe Hogan, a junior at GVSU double majoring in film and English, has helped generate campus interest in and awareness of Projection by means of a Facebook page. He also helps generate discussion of the film among the audience after viewings.

“There is something about film that generates really great discussion,” Hogan said. “Film as an art form has a certain vitality that alone tends to start some dynamic and engaging conversations. But coupling it with a discussion of psychological themes makes it all the more interesting and relevant to different kinds of students.”

Several times throughout previous film series, speakers with special expertise in one area or another have been invited to elaborate on their specialized topics. Williams, along with GVSU communication professor Corey Anton, will be presenting this semester with their unique applications to the films, in hopes of creating and maintaining original feedback.

“Attendance from students derived from both the School of Communication and psychology coming together to enjoy a thought-provoking movie is successful,” Williams said.

The International Honor Society in Psychology, also known as Psi Chi, reeled in greater attendance last year by selling snacks. Pizza, ice cream, pop and popcorn are made available for purchase, with all proceeds directed toward the Mental Health Foundation’s “Be Nice” program targeting the prevention and education of bullying.

Prior to Oct. 31, the films “Flight From Death: The Quest for Immortality” (Shen, 2003), “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” (Miller, 1968), “Idiocracy” (Judge, 2006) and “Crash” (Cronenberg, 1996) were shown. Remaining films to be screened are “The Secretary” (Shainberg, 2002), “No Country for Old Men” (Coen&Coen, 2007) on Nov. 14 and “A Dangerous Method” (Cronenberg, 2012) on Dec. 5.

All information can again be reviewed on the Facebook page,

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