Tonya Strickland

Clusters of students in groups of twos, threes and fours filled the rows of plastic chairs, while others pushed the seating aside to make room for their pillows and blankets on the floor of Chumash Auditorium Tuesday night for the showing of “Madagascar,” the first in a series of six free films dubbed Fall Flicks hosted by ASI Events.

Michelle Smith and Danielle Carlson, both architecture juniors, toted a fuzzy pink blanket and a neon orange pillow to make a spot just below the screen; a place ASI Events staff encourages students to get comfy.

“It’s cool I could relax here after class,” Smith said. “The experience was definitely sweet.”

Carlson lives off campus and said she made the drive back to school, battling with parking for the sake of a free film and its endearing characters.

“I’ve seen ‘Madagascar’ before but I love the penguins and the lemurs,” she said. “They’re awesome.”

Nicole Stivers, student supervisor of marketing and public relations, said the Fall Flicks were pre-chosen at a viewing party held during spring quarter, and the choices represent variety – not just big blockbusters. The viewing party housed a committee of students who gathered to watch almost 20 movie trailers in an exclusive selection provided by Swank Entertainment. This company releases films to ASI that are stuck in the in-between gray period of theater to rental, which means Cal Poly students are able snag a free film before it hits the stores.

“We chose the films people want to see,” Stivers said.

Jane Fong, business administration senior, said her roommate found information about the series online. “I went last year to see The Incredibles,” Fong said. “It’s a fun thing to do plus I have never seen Madagascar before.”

Courtney Harris, student supervisor of special events, backs the sentiment that student choice is what makes the event successful. She said after each film showing a “fan club” area is set up where viewers can fill out a volunteer-based questionnaire.

“We are always asking for feedback,” she said. “We want to know if they were satisfied, or if we could improve their experience in some way.”

With six films in the Fall Flicks series, a number Stivers said is the most they’ve ever provided, the films will be shown in a weekly spread every Tuesday at 8:15 p.m. with the next flick “Batman Begins” Oct. 11. “Hotel Rwanda” will show Oct. 18, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” on Oct. 25, “A Very Long Engagement” on Nov. 1 and “The Island” on Nov. 8.

“It’s a full ticket of free movies,” Stivers said.

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