July 8, 2011
Metropolitan State University of Denver
Film series offers English professor chance to share expertise in the community
What do films about intergalactic adventures and extraterrestrial beings have to do with higher education? A lot, if you’re a film aficionado and a sci-fi expert who happens to be a professor.
“I'm a strong believer that film is a powerful rhetorical form, and it can not only entertain, but inform, enlighten and lead to social change,” says Metropolitan State College of Denver Assistant Professor of English Vincent Piturro, who is hosting a sci-fi film series this summer.
The series, presented by the Denver Film Society in collaboration with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, pairs sci-fi flicks with scientific experts. The films run every Wednesday, July 13-Aug. 10 at 7 p.m. and will alternate between the Denver FilmCenter/Colfax and the museum's Phipps Theater.
Five famous sci-fi films, including “Children of Men,” “Alien,” “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Moon” and “Gattaca” will be screened (in that order). Piturro says that this is the first collaborative effort among the organizations to do a whole series with a cohesive theme.
“The idea was to pair art and science together,” says Piturro, who started teaching at Metro State last fall.
Piturro and museum scientists, including a biologist, an astrobiologist, a geneticist, a zoologist and a space scientist, will explore the sci-fi genre and separate fact from fiction in discussions centered on scientific concepts that form the premise of these films. “I feel that even a bad sci-fi film is better than most films, because it usually has a unique idea at its center,” says Piturro, whose favorite sci-fi movie is “THX 1138,” directed by George Lucas.
During the series Piturro will serve as host, introducing each film and then moderate post-screening question-and-answer sessions. It won’t be too far from his experience teaching classes in cinema studies, a minor offered by the English Department.
“It's a fairly new minor, but it’s vibrant and we have an energetic student base,” says Piturro, who will teach Science Fiction Cinema this fall. “Events like (the sci-fi film series) will help promote the minor and College to the community.”
For more information about the film series and to purchase tickets, go to the Denver Film Society’s website.