By Benji Ferraro
For the Diamondback
As concerns about COVID-19 abate at the University of Maryland, some students have been enjoying the return of Hoff Theater film screenings on Wednesday.
At the Hoff Theater, located at Stamp Student Union, three films are screened in the first half of the semester and four films are screened in the second half of the semester. Film screenings will follow COVID-19 guidelines such as wearing a mask indoors, regardless of vaccination status.
This year’s selection of films ranges from the most recent such as Cruella, black widow and Luca to classics such as The Addams Family.
Student Entertainment Events cinema director Nathan Steighner said preparations for the fall film series began this summer. The process involves researching films that would be of interest to students, conducting social media surveys, and even resolving licensing issues for the selected films.
âWe are definitely in a period of rebuilding,â Steighner said. “It again creates that sense of community where everyone can see each other, everyone can attend events together and have fun together.”
[âLittle Womenâ marks UMDâs return to in-person student theatre]
Steighner pointed out that the fall films were selected to portray a variety of voices. He said this was especially the case with the choice to filter Zola.
âI would love to create a platform for people who don’t always have a voice,â Steighner said. “I know with Zola, I really wanted to show a movie that not only had black actors and creatives in front of the camera, but also black creatives behind the camera.
Rebeka Ewusie, a junior journalism major, said she started watching movies at Hoff during her freshman year. Some things have changed, like the inability to bring food to the cinema, but Ewusie said she still appreciates the variety of films in the theater.
âThey do a good job showing movies that have characters from different backgrounds, different sexual orientations and things like that,â she said.
Cristina Riquelme, a doctoral student in economics, attended the Wednesday film screenings at the Hoff before COVID-19, and is delighted to be back.
[Some UMD students say the pandemic has impacted their social life]
âWe were very loyal every Wednesday at the movies so we’re happy to be back,â she said.
Although she noted that the experience was a little different from what it was before the pandemic, Riquelme said it was as good as before.
Jason Spizuoco, a major in aerospace engineering, had also visited The Hoff for pre-pandemic film screenings in his first year.
Spizuoco said he enjoys using the movies to reconnect with his friends during the week.
âIt’s good to spend time with them,â said Spizuoco. “We could also go down to TerpZone afterwards, so it’s like a fun thing to do, just to get out of your room.”