Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Controversial film screened to a full house

Caitlin Trotter

After a month of controversy surrounding the sexually charged Norwegian film “Turn Me On, Dammit!” The Bama Theatre finally showed the coming-of-age comedic drama last night to a full house.

The debates on whether “Turn Me On, Dammit!” should be shown at the local Tuscaloosa theater arose when two Northport pastors demanded a ban of the movie. Although neither had seen the film, both were concerned about the sexual nature of the movie and the provocative English title. The Arts Council, which determines the schedule of the Bama Theatre, pulled the movie, but following public outcry, decided to resume the showing in their Summer Film Series.

Andrew Grace, UA professor and director of UA’s “Documenting Justice” series, was very proactive in promoting the film screening.

“The film does not include explicit content,” Grace said. “I think it’s important for an Arts Council and a public theater to operate free from complaints placed by a handful of vocal citizens. We should continue to program based on our own sense of our audience and our community and not to placate a small group of folks who don’t even attend our series in the first place.”

Grace also elaborated as to why the film was originally pulled.

“Initially, the pastor’s objections were politely heard by the Arts Council, but our response was that while we respected their objections, we believed this was an appropriate film for the Bama Art House,” Grace said. “The decision to pull the film was made after the mayor stepped in. Much of the funding for the Arts Council comes directly from the mayor and the City Council.”

Once news of the controversy appeared in the media, many students were outraged at the banning of the film. When it was placed back on the schedule, UA students began to anticipate the film’s showing and expressed opinions on the film’s sexual nature.

Allie Hulcher, a junior majoring in journalism and English, said she thinks it is important for the Bama Theatre to show films like “Turn Me On, Dammit!”

“The Bama had very good reasons for selecting the film for their series,” Hulcher said. “Even though the film’s main theme is sexuality, it is not supposed to be a dirty film. Sometimes independent films are the most honest and relatable films.”

Robert Christl, a junior majoring in political science and history, said he feels the showing of the film was vital.

“I think the film is important because an individual’s development, whether emotional, physical, spiritual or sexual, is crucial to understanding in order to better understand ourselves,” Christl said. “The purpose of seeing it is not to be ‘immoral,’ it’s to appreciate art and who we are as people.”

The turnout for “Turn Me On, Dammit!” was large, including a wide age range of audience members, media groups, and even security guards – a sight not common to The Bama Theater’s other showings. People began arriving an hour before the film began in order to ensure they received a ticket.

Kelly Griffiths, an attendee of the film screening, said she didn’t have any expectations in particular for the movie, but is always excited to see films in the Art House series.

The crowd seemed eager to watch the anticipated film, and the theater’s seating was at full capacity. Throughout the screening, the audience responded well to the film’s comedic moments, often bursting into laughter and sometimes applause.

Erica Meyers, a MFA grad student studying Creative Writing, said she enjoyed the movie, regardless of the previous hype it had received.

“I was going to see it anyway,” Meyers said. “But the publicity brought more people out. This is the most people I’ve seen at the Bama Theater.”

“Turn Me On, Dammit!” is one of the final screenings for the summer 2012 Bama Art House Film series.

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