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Sugar House Journal

Fistful of Dollars at the Ivory Tower Series

Dec 08, 2015 14h08 ● By Bryan Scott

By Elizabeth Suggs

Sugar House - For the seventh year running, the Ivory Tower series played at Tower Theater, with  “Fistful of Dollars” as its second installment of the fall semester on Nov. 2. 

Three times a semester, Tower Theater and Westminster College have the Ivory Tower series, a series of movies chosen and introduced by students at Tower Theater. According to its creator, Sean Desilets, associate professor of film studies at Westminster College, the screenings were unexpectedly accepted in 2008 with the following year in full production of the series.  

“I sent a note off to the SLFS [Salt Lake Film Society] on the off chance that they’d be willing to let us do the screenings,” Desilets said. “To my surprise, they said yes.” 

With help from the SLFS, by tracking down films, movies such as November’s “A Fistful of Dollars” were made possible to air. According to Desilets, students from Westminster pick the movies. 

“The only requirement is that the student be able to defend any films they proposed as aesthetically or historically important,” Desilets said. 

Students go through the process of brainstorming a large list of movies, making sure everyone involved has at least proposed one film. The list is usually 12 or more movies, despite only six slots allotted to the Ivory Tower series. 

 While each movie might not have an official purpose for being shown, Harrison Corthell, a student at Westminster and technical film major, believes there always is a purpose. 

“All films played within this series have significance,” Corthell said. “Classic films are featured, and they wouldn’t be a classic if there wasn’t something significant about the film.” 

The process, according to Desilets, is complicated because of a copyright getting in the way, or having shown the film recently. But Desilets isn’t perturbed by how the how many movies actually play. Far from it. The six films are set for the entire year, and that’s enough for him. 

“We’ve always done the three-a-semester thing,” Desilets said. “The whole thing is kind of a lot of work for me and for the SLFS people, so I wouldn’t want to take on any more.” 

According to Desilets, even when some movies are planned for the event, things sometimes don’t work out. “Night Will Fall,” the next listed film in the Ivory Tower series, is an example of this. While the movie is already set on the website, according to Desilets, the Ivory series couldn’t get the rights.

“To have a film series such as the Ivory Tower is important,” Corthell said. “It brings classic film to light for those who aren’t familiar with it or have forgotten.” 

According to Desilets, the entire list of the academic year’s movies goes as followed: 

“Life of Brian” on Oct. 5, 2015

“Fistful of Dollars” on Nov. 2, 2015

“The Third Man” on Dec. 7, 2015

“The Fountain” on Feb. 1, 2016

“The New World” on March 14, 2016

“Yojimbo” on April 4, 2016