About Doc Films
Tickets go on sale half an hour before the screening. Quarterly membership pass holders gain free entry to all general admission films and can be purchased at the theater.
General Admission: $5
Quarterly Membership: $30 ($28 if you present proof of membership from the previous quarter)
Summer Membership: $20
They currently accept cash, checks made out to Doc Films, and Visa and Mastercard at the theater. Additionally, you can purchase your season pass online at the UChicago Arts Box Office.
Calendar: Fall 2018
Below are details on our weekly series. Peruse away!
A Short History of Doc
Doc Films was founded in December 1940 as the International House Documentary Film Group, though its antecedents stretch back to 1932. Initially the group focused on “the realist study of our time via nonfiction film,” but the documentary alone could not sustain the organization; within a few years, the group’s programs expanded to include fiction and experimental films, a mixture that it maintains to this day.
Past film series at Doc have showcased diverse artists, genres and national cinemas or tackled subjects like feminism and human rights. Doc routinely shows prints from some of the country’s leading film archives.
Many film directors, among them Alfred Hitchcock, Woody Allen and John Ford, have visited Doc to present films and lead discussions. Over the decades Doc has hosted an astonishing number of Chicago premieres, giving the city its first glimpse of such masterpieces as The Rules of the Game, Au hasard Balthazar and Brokeback Mountain.
Volunteering for Doc has led several former students to careers in filmmaking and film criticism. Former members include Ernest Callenbach, founding editor of Film Quarterly; Gordon Quinn and Gerald Temaner, co-founders of Kartemquin Films (Hoop Dreams, Golub, Home for Life) and filmmakers Aaron Lipstadt (City Limits, Android) and Myron Meisel (It’s All True: Based on an Unfinished Film by Orson Welles).
Perhaps the character of Doc Films is best encapsulated by our entry in Vanity Fair’s The Film Snob’s Dictionary (March 2004, p. 332): “The film society of the University of Chicago, founded in 1932 as the Documentary Film Group. Hard-core beyond words and lay comprehension, the society is populated by 19-year olds who have already seen every film ever made, and boasts its own Dolby Digital-equipped cinema and an impressive roster of alumni that includes-new Snob-revered critic Dave Kehr.”
Doc Films hopes to reach a wide-ranging audience, from film aficionados to casual moviegoers, by cultivating and facilitating an excitement for the study of film. Our mission is to nurture and inspire future writers, filmmakers, and creative artists to tackle the professional world of cinema.
How Doc Works
Besides regular screenings, Doc hosts a variety of special events, such as conversations with directors, faculty members, critics or other experts as well as sneak previews and student films produced by Fire Escape Films.
The Max Palevsky Cinema
Dedicated to providing a low-cost, high-quality venue for artistic, relevant and socially important domestic and international movies, Doc currently shows films at the Max Palevsky Cinema, whose generous gift allowed Doc to build and operate a state-of-the-art cinema.
The cinema boasts two Simplex 35mm projectors with Christie xenon lamphouses, one Eastman 25 16mm projector, and a HIGHlite 8000Dsx+ made by Digital Projection Inc, throwing 8000 ANSI Lumens and contrast ratio of 2000:1. The projectors’ variable speed and full aperture lens allow Doc Films to present silent films in the closest approximation to their original exhibition. The theater’s Dolby Digital and Digital Theater Systems (dts) audio systems meet the highest standards in digital sound.