Organisation - April 7, 2011

A filmhouse in a university?

Movie W Cinema is in danger of closing down, now that the university has decided to stop supporting its physical location. Should the university support cultural organizations such as Movie W? Is this one of its roles?

22-MI-MovieW-BdG-3977.jpg
Harry Wichers
Professor in the Cell Biology and Immunology Group

'Of course, Wageningen UR should support culture. Wageningen is in fact one big campus. If Wageningen UR leaves, then it would be as quiet here as in Renkum. There is also a historical bond between the university and Movie W. Besides this, the support is important because of the films screened there. Movie W caters to needs which cannot be fulfilled by the films available elsewhere in this area. The Heerenstraat Cinema and Cinemec have other fish to fry. They are businesses which bow to the demands of the market. It's because Movie W does not need to do so that it can offer other films.'

Simon Vink
Spokesman for the Executive Board
'With the move of the administrative centre from Costerweg to the campus, we had to look at what need to be brought along to Duivendaal. Prior to this, we looked at what we have, what it would cost and if the costs are justified. Re-considering all these, we decided that giving support to critical groups, for example, is one of the university's tasks, but supporting Movie W is not. It's not one of the university's primary tasks to support cultural activities in the city or its environs. When Movie W started, there were other ideas concerning Studium Generale. With those in mind, this is the right moment to end our structural support.
As for putting money into sports associations, this is necessary in our keep-fit policy for students and employees. Besides studying, it's important that people exercise.'

Martin Ruiter
Owner of Heerenstraat Cinema in Wageningen

'Being a cinema, we benefit of course from a bustling film culture in Wageningen and its surroundings. We are lucky to have a wide choice: Cinemec is like a big supermarket, we are a specialist store and Movie W is the delicatessen shop, to use food terms. People therefore have many different films to choose from. In this respect, we are comparable to many big provincial or student towns.
The university also benefits from a good cultural climate for its students and employees. But I find that we in Wageningen have the tendency to look to Wageningen UR at once when it comes to maintenance of facilities. Moreover, culture does not exist by virtue of these facilities; it's the content which counts. That Studium Generale does not have a specific debating room does not mean that no more debates can be held. If the cinema of Movie W disappears, it does not mean that artistic films can't be screened anymore somewhere else. To continue offering such films, you need to ensure that the people in Movie W can go on doing what they do, and I would recommend doing that in the centre of Wageningen. For the film climate, I would prefer to have Movie W close to us than in de Born. However, we can hardly accommodate them at present. The lack of space has caused us to forego screening many films.'

Kenny Aberson
Student in Climate Studies

'I think it's a pity that Movie W has to go, even though I seldom go there. I was there during the film festival. It's difficult to say whether the university should support cultural organizations. Education has to be given priority. But I do benefit from such support. I play a musical instrument, and I do that via a student society. Indirectly, the university supports me because FOS-scholarships are available for this society.'

Lex Hoefsloot
Alderman for culture in Wageningen

'It would be a great pity if the continuity of Movie W is being threatened. All cultural activities in Wageningen are welcome and can contribute to a lively multi-faceted city for its inhabitants and students. We don't control the purse strings of Wageningen UR but I hope that Movie W can stay and it can work things out with the university.
The university itself can also benefit from a creative and attractive city. Many students don't just choose the study programme but also the city where they are going to live in for the coming years.'

Peter Veer
Director and producer of tv documentaries and ex-employee of Alterra

'A university is a cultural institution. Students are young people who come here for cultural experiences. This is part and parcel of growing up. They are being prepared for a major role in the society. A university therefore has a role in the cultural development of people, which is what studying and education are about, and this certainly applies to science education as well. Cultural development also means thinking about the world you live in and what is happening elsewhere in the world. Therefore, the university has to support cultural organizations. Moreover, the world is bigger than Wageningen and its sciences. It's vital to look beyond the world here.'

Gloria Oforiwaa
Student in Forest and Nature Conservation, from Ghana

'I know the building LA13 because of Otherwise, but I have never heard of Movie W. Someone should have told us about it. I go now and then to a film in the city, even though the tickets are not cheap.'

Hugo Vervoort
Board member of the Movie W foundation
'The university and the municipality both have a role to make Wageningen liveable and give it a good cultural climate. Movie W was set up to make Wageningen a more attractive town for new students and as a showcase for interesting cultural matters. A filmhouse was a supplement to the available commercial films, by screening films which give a critical look at society and which are culturally sensitive.
A university is a place to shape people by giving them a scientific foundation which can be brought to bear in the real world. To do this, you need to have other abilities and interests, one of these being films. Actually, watching a film is a social event. Before and after the film, people talk with one another and opinions are formed. A film often evokes discussions.'

Tjalling Vlieg
Student in International Land and Water Management
'I would be more concerned if the sports centre faces a cost-cut. More than for culture. When you think of it, both sports and culture are in fact hobbies. It's just that Wageningen only pays attention to sports. But if I were able to sing well and want to do more in this, then it would be rather one-sided that the university doesn't contribute anything to that hobby, but only to my favourite sport.'

Re:act