Word Screen Park
Kevin McMahon
I read Ovid and did movie programing

The title of this page is the answer to the question, "What did you do as an undergrad?"Of course I read a lot besides Ovid, but the poet of the Metamorphoses was my special academic focus.

Outside of class, I worked in campus film programming, producing nearly 40 free film events and series at Northern Illinois University, and then at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.

The scope of my work included devising programs, getting funding, coordinating with vendors, writing and co-designing posters and handouts, coordinating projectionists, supervising and reporting on the events. Film programming evolved into an administrative role, assisting others to create and produce their own film and art events—reviewing proposals, maintaining balance, crafting distinctive events, and defending controversial programs.

For example, during Fall 1979 the programs I oversaw included weekly Thursday night Cine Club screenings (including A Slave of Love, Alexander, That Obscure Object of Desire, Dossier 51, Straub & Huillet’s Moses und Aron, Seven Beauties, four Werner Herzog shorts, The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T., Violette, the Midwest premiere of Buñuel & Dali’s l’Age d’Or., Fassbinder’s Despair, Night of Counting Years, and The Kid), plus a weekly series of documentaries, plus a weekly series of Bollywood features (Kasauti, Mein Tulsi Teri Aagan, Khushboo), plus one-off festivals of cartoons, horror films, Jackie Chan, science fiction, Shakespeare, and american folk music.

After transfering to Champaign, I joined the Illini Union Board, which was a for-profit enterprise, and dedicated to pretty conventional pop movie routines. My biggest accomplishment while on the Board was a Spring 1983 movie marathon featuring Cartoon Factory (Max and Dave Fleischer), Detour, Minnie the Moocher, T.A.M.I. Show,There's Something About a Soldier (Betty Boop), Glen or Glenda, Little Nemo (McCay) and Plan 9 From Outer Space. The Board graphic designer was so bewildered by the still images I gave her, she refused to use any of them in the Daily Illini ad.

[Image: a typicalNIU Cine Club schedule (John Goss, Spring 1980)]