Film series engages students, community

For 14 years, Joan McGettigan has brought together the TCU community through a film series she started on campus.

McGettigan, an associate professor of film-television-digital media, was recognized for fulfilling the TCU Promise through her work in both the film series and her teaching. The TCU Promise is “a reciprocal commitment to excellence through discovery and achievement that unites the TCU community,” according to

McGettigan saw a way to unite the community when she came to TCU and realized there was no film series on campus. David Whillock, professor and dean of the College of Communication, allowed her to start a film series, she said.

In 1998, she began the program, which features a classic Hollywood movie almost every Thursday night .

McGettigan said although previous film series had failed, her film series is still going strong today.

People from all over the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex come to watch the films, McGettigan said. “[The people] could stay at home [and] watch the movies, but they like the experience of coming to TCU,” McGettigan said.

The best thing about the film series is that it is fun, McGettigan said. The most rewarding feeling is showing a comedy and hearing the audience laughing through the projection booth, she said, describing the comedies as “clever, fun and entertaining.”

Originally, all the movie choices were made by McGettigan. Now she has a film request sheet on the room door, she said.

The audience members consisted of TCU alumni, TCU employees, TCU students, DFW residents and movie fanatics. An average group size was 50 to 60 people, of which about eight to nine were TCU students, she said.

“Film buffs would probably go, there are a lot of film buffs in the FTDM major,” said Whitney Hamilton, junior strategic communication and film-television-digital media double major.
Hamilton said she classified film buffs as men and women who know a lot about the classics and love something about every film.

Film-television-digital media major Joey Monroy said he would attend some of the films if he did not have class Thursday night. Hamilton and Monroy both said they want to see “The Three Musketeers.” That is the only film in the series Monroy is familiar with, although he said he has heard of the others.

At the film series, an introduction of the film is given along with a cartoon, coming attraction or newsreels before the feature film, McGettigan said.

McGettigan also helps students through her teaching.

“She got me on the right track … She helped me through how to stay on track to graduate,” Hamilton said.

Before Hamilton took a class with McGettigan, she was an FTDM minor — now, it is her major. McGettigan talked with her individually and helped her grow, Hamilton said.

Monroy said McGettigan helped strengthen his public speaking ability and views about movies, which has helped him with his major.

The 2012 spring series will begin on Feb. 16 with a screening of the 1953 film “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” starring Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell.