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Film and Media settles into new home

With the opening of the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, the Department of Film and Media has relocated from its former residence on Stuart Street. Having resided in the Film House since 1969, the space will be remembered fondly even while the department embraces its new home on the Isabel’s third floor.

The Department of Film and Media Studies has resided in the Film House, 154-160 Stuart Street, for 45 years.

The new location brings the department access to more space and resources with lecture and seminar rooms, film editing suites and a state of the art sound studio. The move has also brought them new neighbours.

“We were somewhat isolated before as we were at the edge of campus,” says Dr. Susan Lord, Department Head. “Our students are now going to have much greater proximity to other creative arts students in drama, music and fine arts, and I hope it will lead to greater interdisciplinary collaboration.”

The now-vacant Film House will be retired and is slated for demolition in early November.

“The Film House was a space of immense creativity for generations of film students,” says Dr. Lord. “It was a special place, and we hope to take all of its spirit with us to our new home while leaving behind the bats and the old carpet.”

Last renovated in 1990, the house was rife with structural and maintenance problems that made further renovation cost-prohibitive. Among its issues are a lack of air conditioning, code compliance issues with its stairs, fire alarm systems and electrical services, and the building’s lack of accessibility, which makes it non-compliant with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

“For 45 years the Film House was a beloved part of campus life, but the building has now reached the end of its lifespan,” says Yvonne Holland, Campus Planning. “The shape of campus shifts over time and this change reflects how the space can best serve the university community at this time.

The area the Film House currently occupies will be converted into a parking lot for the time being, until a plan is made for its redevelopment. Revenue generated from the lot will offset the costs of its demolition and create more parking space on the southern edge of campus.

In order to memorialize the Film House, the Film and Media Department will be preserving a number of its features, such as stained glass windows, light fixtures and doorknobs, and will hold an auction for them during Homecoming weekend. A number of the house’s bricks will also be saved and used to recognize donors for their support of the Film Department.

Proceeds from the fundraising efforts will support student initiatives such as film screenings and creative projects.