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In 1973, Wesleyan University honored Elia Kazan, director of such classic films as A Streetcar Named Desire and On the Waterfront, with a two-week retrospective of his films. At the end of the festival, the acclaimed director summed up the impact of the retrospective: "Together we may have finally begun to move this university and, by influence, those like it, towards a serious and devoted study of films as the art of this day.? It was about time our institutions of learning became involved in film as the subject of formal courses of study both for themselves as pieces of art and for what they say as witnesses to their day." Thirty-six years later, a large, renowned, research university in Philadelphia finally is beginning to follow Kazan's advice. Hitherto, anyone interested in studying film had a tough road to follow. And that may be an understatement. There have always been several film-related courses at the University, but they were hidden in the depths of several different departments from AMES to English to Fine Arts. Typically, film lovers had two choices. They could be Communications majors and study everything from mass media to advertising or they could be English majors concentrating in film studies. The downfall of the latter path, of course, was that you were forced to study literature that you didn't want to be studying. Don't get me wrong; I'm an English major with film aspirations, and I value having a literary background. But for those who wanted to concentrate specifically on film, there was no major or minor available. Until now, the College has shown little regard for film as an important social, cultural or artistic form of contemporary expression. At last, a Film Studies Department is emerging under the leadership of John Katz and Penny Marcus may become a full-fledged department offering its own major, but will that be enough? For now, the answer is yes. But as we look to the future, Penn will need a place not just for film studies, but for film makers, actors, writers and technicians. In short, Penn needs a school devoted to what Kazan calls "the art of the day." Before you dismiss this idea as lunacy, it is important to realize that this is the perfect time for the University to take steps in this direction. The Philadelphia Festival of World Cinema, which is run through International House, gives Penn a direct line into the Philadelphia film community. Moreover, the building of the Sundance Cinemas on 40th Street marks a new relationship with actor-director-producer Robert Redford, whose Sundance Film Festival is the most important event for independent film makers in the country. Add to this the enthusiasm of University students participating in clubs such as UTV13, Penn Film and Talking Film at the Writer's House, and one quickly realizes that we are sitting in a hotbed of cinematic potential. But it is important to realize that the fate of Film Studies lies with the students. Nothing is going to happen unless we take control of the situation and demand more from the University. We cannot simply wait around for some alumnus to make it big in Hollywood and then lure him to donate his millions to create a film school. And this would be the greatest tragedy, because there really isn't any reason for the lack of a film school or at least a film center at Penn. Almost every other major university has one, and with the advent of high quality, easily managed digital video, programs are sprouting up across the country. But first things first. For now, we must help to make the new Film Studies minor survive. It may not be much, but for the moment, it's all we have.

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