Film Studies

Select Tuesdays
Your choice of 1:30pm or 7:00pm

$80 per person for Museum Members
$96 per person for non-members

Film Studies are a series of five-week courses of films selected from the finest in classic and contemporary cinema presented with critical context. Presented by Film Studies Coordinator, Diane Thelen.

Film Studies are available as in-person screenings in the Leonhardt Auditorium, as well as via streaming on your computer or TV.
Each week of the series, VBMA educators will send registered Film Studies students an email that contains a handout about the current film as well as a link and instructions on how to stream from home.
Participants can choose to view the film at the VBMA during their designated time, or from home.

For troubleshooting viewing films via Amazon Fire TV click here.

Presenting Sponsor: Roberta G. Olsen

Supporting Sponsor: Mr. and Mrs. Richard G. Unruh, Jr.

Patron Sponsor: Ann Bowling Endowment for Film Studies

Additional Support: Rehmann Financial and Business Advisory Services, Sue and Charlie Thomas

VBMA Film Studies Coordinator, Diane Thelen

Diane Thelen, Film Studies Coordinator

January 10 – February 7, 2023

Seeing is Believing: Amazing Stories Based on Real People and Real Events

 Film lovers will find inspiration in learning true stories of people making their way in the world and facing life’s challenges with courage. As the old saying proves, “truth is stranger than fiction” and that’s never more evident than in this selection of fascinating films. One we’ll be viewing is Te Ata (2016), the inspirational story of Mary Thompson Fisher, a Native American Chickasaw woman who crossed many cultural barriers to bring her own brand of storytelling to the nation and to the world.


February 14 – March 14, 2023

Mysteries of the Heart: Stories of Unique and Unexpected Connections

Love doesn’t always have to be the romantic kind, but instead might be a special connection between two beings that runs very deep. Whether friends from childhood days or two people who simply happen to connect in the most random way, the bonds that form are powerful and enriching. A film we’ll be viewing is the startling new sci-fi romantic comedy from Germany, I’m Your Man (2021). It is sure to both amuse and confound you with all the possibilities it presents.

Mysteries of the Heart – 1:30 pm class       Mysteries of the Heart – 7:00 pm class

March 21 – April 18, 2023

Finding Your Voice: Celebrating the Healing Power of Music 

We so often talk about the curative power of music; and the films included in this series may just make you burst out in song! Music in cinema sets a tone and implants subtle expectations in us, about how we will get emotionally engaged with a film. Whether it’s the words of a song that we relate to, or a memory that it triggers, music is always crucial to a successful film, even ones that aren’t billed as “musicals.” Come enjoy an entertaining true story from the UK called Fisherman’s Friends (2019), the tale of a traditional folk-singing group from Port Isaac, CornwallTheir love of the sea is transferred into the wonderful sea shanties they sing.

Finding Your Voice – 1:30 pm class       Finding Your Voice – 7:00 pm class

Cinema on Wheels

The VBMA is pleased to present a mini-film series in conjunction with the exhibition Rolling Sculpture: Streamlined Art Deco Automobiles and Motorcycles. Diane Thelen, Film Studies Coordinator, will provide a brief introduction to each film.

Tickets are included with museum admission or VBMA membership. Come early to see the exhibition!

All films will be presented in the Leonhardt Auditorium on Thursdays at 2:00pm. Pre-registration is recommended.

The Great Gatsby 1974

Thursday, February 23, 2023 | The Great Gatsby (1974) Rated PG

Set in the roaring 20s on Long Island, this period piece exemplifies Art Deco in all its glory. Based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 classic great American novel, this cinematic adaptation, starring Robert Redford, Mia Farrow, Sam Waterson, and Bruce Dern is now legendary. Amid the award-winning costumes, outstanding set designs, beautiful vintage cars, and yearning love stories, Gatsby transports us back in time, to experience an era that is still influential today.

Register for The Great Gatsby

The Pinchcliffe Grand Prix (1975)

Thursday, March 30, 2023 | The Pinchcliffe Grand Prix (1975) Rated G

This unique stop-motion animated film from 1975 is a rare classic, and one film lovers won’t easily find elsewhere. It was made in Norway, in the Norwegian language! (Don’t worry – there are English subtitles!) Much more than a film, it’s a real work of art itself, due to the creative process involved in bringing stop-motion to the movie screen. To this day, it continues to the be most famous film in Norway, something its citizens are quite proud of. Come see why!

Register for The Pinchcliffe Grand Prix

Heart Like a Wheel (1983)

Thursday, April 27, 2023 | Heart Like a Wheel (1983) Rated PG

This is the true story of the First Lady of Drag Racing, Shirley Muldowney. In the 1950s, housewife Shirley convinces her mechanic husband to let her “drag race” his souped-up sports car. Realizing how much she enjoyed it and how good she was, there was no holding her back from her passion for racing cars. She was met with much-expected criticism and ridicule by the racing community, but soon proved her abilities alongside the best of the male competitors.

Register for Heart Like a Wheel

42nd Asbury Short Film Concert Asbury Shorts USA

Saturday, February 11, 2023 at 1:30pm or 7:00pm

Individual seats: $25
Space is limited; pre-registration is required

Asbury Shorts USA is New York City’s longest running short film exhibition and touring show. Since 1981, short film “concerts” have been presented at venues across the US, Canada, Great Britain, and Germany. The mission is to screen world-renowned, festival award-winning short films in theaters, art museums, and performing art centers. The VBMA is thrilled to present Asbury Shorts’ 42nd Short Film Concert at the VBMA for the eighth consecutive year. The program will feature a fast-paced and highly entertaining line up of the best in short film Comedy, Drama, and Action. The two-hour showcase includes Oscar Nominees, US film festival “Best in Show” winners, and international honorees past and present. The program is hosted by Asbury Shorts Founder/Director Doug LeClaire.

Recommended for ages 16 and above.

Join the VBMA Film Society!

The Film Society is the auxiliary level of membership that provides members access to a rich and varied collection of more than 3,000 notable classic, foreign, and art house films, drawn from the many years of the Museum’s Film Studies Program.

The Helen Ecclestone Stone Film Library is open to Film Society Members:
Tuesdays 12:00pm-4:00pm
Saturdays 10:00am-2:00pm

If you would like to browse films online, all available film titles can be found on our BookSystems website. Film Society members can peruse titles online, choose DVDs to check out, and pick them up at the VBMA during open Film Library hours.

Learn More