Film Culture


The Film Culture Program at Gregory College House devotes itself to film-lovers of all sorts. Our posh cinema lounge hosts a regular schedule of screenings, often more than 150 per year, that covers the history of the medium and the scope of world cinema today. The program hosts faculty discussions on a variety of cinematic subjects, makes numerous excursions to Philadelphia film venues, and provides endless opportunity for participants to analyze, appraise and argue about film... whether The Seventh Seal or Star Wars, La Grand Illusion or Get Out, L'Avventura or The Lord of the Rings. The program is located in Van Pelt Manor, 3909 Spruce Street.  Check out our facebook page!

All Gregorians (only!) are welcome to participate in the program for academic credit  (CIMS 180.301).  The extremely manageable credit option lends substance to the conversations while still maintaining the low-key fun characteristic of Gregory.

Goals and Expectations

FCP provides an immersive yet flexible cinema studies experience, intended to introduce students to a wide range of films and to provide considerable practice both speaking and writing about the art form. Each semester features 3-6 screening series, reflecting numerous genres and time periods and totaling 50-75 films, almost all followed by moderated discussion.  To fully engage with contemporary cinema, the program also offers a minimum of six excursions per semester to area theatres to view and analyze new and significant releases. In the past decade these trips, often advance screenings, have included Lady Bird, The Social Network, Moonlight, Gravity, Us, The Master, Gone Girl, Black Swan, 12 Years a Slave, Spotlight, The Grand Budapest Hotel, A Star is Born, The Shape of Water, Manchester By the Sea, Black Panther, Blade Runner 2049, Green Book, Jackie, Moneyball, A Separation, Bohemian Rhapsody, Whiplash, The Favourite, Anomalisa, The Artist, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Everybody Wants Some!, HerThe Hurt Locker, Avengers: Endgame,The Arrival, The Skin I Live In, The Martian, The Florida Project, Argo, Hugo, Hidden Figures, Drive, Captain Marvel, Inside Llewyn Davis, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, Interstellar, Holy Motors, Nebraska, First Man, Room, A Serious Man, Slumdog Millionaire, Zero Dark Thirty, Sully, Hail Caesar!, Blue is the Warmest Color, The Descendants, Inherent Vice, Beauty and the Beast, Avatar, Steve Jobs, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Isle of Dogs, The White Ribbon, The Fighter, Amour, The Dallas Buyers Club, Shoplifters, The King's Speech, You Were Never Really Here, The Wrestler, Certified Copy, A Dangerous Method, Lincoln, Milk, The Hunger Games and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Winter Sleep, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, The Past, It Follows, Uncle Boonme Who Can Recall Past Lives, 127 Hours, Silver Linings Playbook, Precious, Star Trek, Life of Pi, Girl Who Walks Home Alone at Night, Of Gods and Men, Only Lovers Left Alive, Lost City of Z and many more!

The program is run by Dr. Christopher Donovan, our House Dean, with frequent contributions from House Fellow Lance Wahlert, but student leadership is also prominent. Undergraduate managers, former credit participants, contribute to the planning of the semester and the running of events, and even currently enrolled students can take part in selecting films and running discussions.  FCP is equally attractive to students studying cinema and those who do not have the time or credits available to take regular film classes at Penn.   The program schedule often incorporates relevant campus or Philadelphia events, including the Penn Student Film Festival, which was started by FCP and for which our students serve on the selection jury.

We expect that all of our participants will participate in screenings and discussions from time to time, but there is no formal expectation; the program is casual to the core.  Students who do wish to fully commit to the program should consider the .5 cu academic credit option.  Grade requirements include attendance at 10 in-House screenings and 3 excursions, including active participation in the discussions, along with a final project that could consist of leading your own film discussion, presenting an “Anatomy of a Scene” oral presentation or even creating your own short film related to a work or works on our semester schedule.

Application Process for the 2019-2020 Year


First Year Students
Apply to the Film Culture Program Community; see the First Year Program Communities website for full instructions.  There is no essay.  Freshmen applicants will be assigned together in quad rooms (four bedrooms and a bath) on the fourth floor (an entirely freshman hall) of Van Pelt Manor.  

Returning Gregorians
Apply for Housing between January 24th and February 7th.  Take part in either the "Retention" Process or the "Priority Return to House" process, as appropriate.  You can live anywhere in Gregory and take part; there are no specific upperclass rooms set aside for FCP.

New Upperclassmen 
Upperclassmen who do not currently live in Gregory should apply between January 24th and February 18th and take part in the Move to Another House process. You can live anywhere in Gregory and take part; we do not set aside particular rooms for FCP.  That said, we recommend that new Gregorians interested in Film Culture live in Van Pelt Manor, as it houses the cinema lounge and most of the film culture staff. In the fall, attend the intro meeting to enroll or signal your interest to participate.  Note that your roommates may not be in Film Culture unless you applied in a group.