Getting this show on the road: AMP organizes student screening of “Dune: Part Two”


Thursday, March 7, on the final week of classes, many students at the College of William and Mary were doing some last-minute studying or packing to leave for spring break, but there was a large group of students in a dimly lit theater in the Williamsburg Movie Tavern watching the new “Dune: Part Two” movie. This exclusive private screening was organized by Alma Mater Productions and held on a first come, first serve basis via RSVP on Tribelink.

This screening of “Dune: Part Two” was set up by the film committee of AMP, which is chaired by James Franklin ’24. Franklin has held his position since spring of last year and has often expressed interest in having private screenings at Movie Tavern from the beginning of his tenure.

“When I assumed the position, [private screenings] was something that I very much wanted to do because we had never done anything like it before,” Franklin said. “And I just love seeing films in theaters with other people, because that’s how I think films ought to be seen.”

This private screening allowed students at the College to come together under a common interest: enjoying movies on the big screen without the interruptions that can occur when watching movies at home.

When planning for an event like this, there can often be a lot more that goes on behind the scenes than one would expect. Franklin mentioned he chose this movie over other options because of the movie’s release schedule. Screening “Dune: Part Two” has been in the works since Spring 2023, since originally, “Dune: Part Two” was supposed to be released in November 2023. However, with the SAG-AFTRA Strike, Warner Brothers postponed the release of the movie to March 2024. When the delay was announced, the AMP film committee was responsible for finding a movie to fill the void, and as it so happened, the “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” concert film was the perfect fit. This established a precedent for screening the major film releases of the season. 

The “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” concert film proved to be so popular that AMP organizers felt continuing screenings at Movie Tavern just made sense. Franklin explained that choosing “Dune: Part Two” was not only a personal choice, but also a logical one. He elaborated that the earliest they could have screened “Kung Fu Panda 4” was the Thursday during Spring Break, and the Films committee assumed that the students who wanted to watch it would have done so over break. Thus, “Dune: Part Two” became the obvious choice, because it was released during a window where there was a strong likelihood for strong student interest in watching it. The film committee also took into consideration director Venis Villeneuve’s previous work and successes with “Dune: Part One,” “Blade Runner 2049,” “Arrival” and others.

Graduate Advisor for the Office of Student Unions and Engagement and co-advisor to AMP Olympia Ghosh ’25 noted that the screening of “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” provided a learning opportunity on organizing future events at the Movie Tavern.

“[Franklin] and I both learned how to pivot in regards to transportation, attendance and RSVPs for a popular showing, and that definitely helped us plan better for ‘Dune: Part Two’ and execute the event better,” Ghosh wrote in an email to the Flat Hat.

While free to students, this event required a source of funding for the tickets, transportation and concessions. Ghosh stated that AMP utilized its funds within the Office of Student Unions and Engagement, in order to fulfill its mission of providing low-cost or free entertainment to students at the College.

Nolan Jansorn ’27, one of the students who attended the screening, noted that he has experience with the “Dune franchise from reading the books, which he cited as a key reason for his enjoyment of the event. His approval of the event was seemingly shared amongst the vast majority of the movie goers, as well. 

“A free movie, a film franchise I’m interested in, with friends, paid for by the school,” Jansorn said. “I didn’t see any downside, so I was like, ‘Hey why not?’”

Looking forward, Jansorn expressed he would come to a similar event, depending on the movie. For others who share this sentiment, including cinephiles, casual movie fans and those with a free evening alike, keep an eye open on TribeLink for future AMP events. Perhaps the movie that you have been waiting to see all season will be the next screening event.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here