Friday, Feb. 3 from 7 p.m. until Feb. 4 at 12:30 a.m., the High Library will sponsor an event called “Docs B4 Dawn” in Gibble Auditorium. This is the first time this event is being held on campus, and it is an event open only to the campus community. The films being shown are “Good Hair,” “Exit Through the Gift Shop” and “Waking Sleeping Beauty.” The films will be shown back-to-back, and the students are free to come and go as they please during the showings. There will be door prizes in between each showing, as well as unlimited amounts of popcorn provided as fast as it can be popped.
The environment for this event will be very relaxed, as the event was planned with the purpose of giving students a chance to unwind from stress and responsibility. Louise M. Hyder-Darlington, the access services librarian at the High Library and the organizer of the event, said, “We want to provide a Friday night outlet for if it’s a cruddy night and the students want to get out but don’t want to walk or drive anywhere.” With a suggested dress code of sweatpants, hoodies or even pajamas, it’s clear that this event is one at which the students can feel at ease. Hyder-Darlington said, “We want the students to feel comfortable; bring their pillows, blankets and slippers, and just sit and relax, eat free popcorn and come and watch three fascinating films.”
Although a night of film-watching sponsored by the High Library may seem a little intimidating in regard to what may be shown, the choices of films for the night are not only featuring diverse subjects but also represent interesting ideas. Hyder-Darlington said, “All the films are completely different. I wanted to pick ones that were lighthearted films. Instead of making you feel sad or bummed out, they each give you something to think about. They’ll make you laugh and something to learn from.”
The first film, “Good Hair,” is directed by comedian and actor Chris Rock. Although often mistaken to be solely about hair, it is about much more than that. It was inspired by Chris Rock’s daughters who often expressed their dissatisfaction with their hair and asked why it didn’t look like that of other girls. He then decided to make a documentary about black women and how they feel about their hair and how it affects their view of themselves. Hyder-Darlington said, “It unravels a whole lot of other themes related to the topic, which are funny, interesting and thought provoking.”
The next film, “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” Hyder-Darlington describes as, “A fun exposé on street artists that covers themes of art, business, politics, culture, merchandising, marketing and film.” It is a visually interesting film that has a good story line. It starts off seeming to go in one direction but then ends up going somewhere else completely. With stories and interviews from anonymous studio artists with augmented voices and different perspectives of art and business, Hyder-Darlington said, “In the end you find yourself asking, ‘what is it that I really believe in?’”
The final film of the night is called “Waking Sleeping Beauty.” The film is for those interested in film and animation as it centers on the resurgence of Disney Films and the Disney Empire. It touches on the start of the empire and its relation to the film “The Little Mermaid,” as well as other Disney films from that generation. Hyder-Darlington said, “It’s interesting to see how this film speaks to these movies because my generation of Disney movies was that of ‘Bambi,’ while the generation of Disney movies for Etown students is that of ‘The Little Mermaid’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ This documentary puts an interesting perspective on the roots of Disney and how it’s reinventing itself.
There are many reasons why the High Library and Hyder-Darlington decided to sponsor this event, but she said that the biggest one is “we love our students. It’s like our little thank you to them. We wanted to do something fun as well as broaden the opportunities for good film-watching on campus.”
Senior Jenn Simpson said, “This event is something completely new from anything I’ve ever heard about on campus and hearing the details about it and especially what the films are going to be about, it actually sounds really interesting. It definitely sounds like something I’d be interested in going to.”
Sophomore Ricki Wagner said, “I haven’t heard about it until now, but it does sound pretty interesting. Honestly though, I don’t know how many students would be willing to go to this event on a Friday night instead of going out.”
Hyder-Darlington said, “Depending on the feedback, we would love to make it an annual event. If we get a good response, we certainly wouldn’t mind doing it again in the coming years, and if so, we could just make it better by being able to plan more and get more food, and even make the event longer by adding more films, depending on what the students would want.”
The goal of the event is to serve as an option for Friday night where students can sit around with their friends, snack on some popcorn, kick back, and enjoy themselves through the films presented. It’s a way for the students to provide themselves with the good energy that comes from watching some interesting films, get together with other members of the Etown community and hopefully learn more about different topics as well as themselves in the process.