The Dog film poster (source Drafthouse Films)
“The Dog” will be the first movie in the Shaw Gallery and The Utah Film Center film series. A new film will be screened each month until the end of the year. (Source: Drafthouse Films)

On Thursday Sept. 18, Peery’s Egyptian Theater will play host once again to the Shaw Gallery and the Utah Film Center film series. This month’s selection is Drafthouse Films’ documentary “The Dog.” The screening begins at 7 p.m. and admission is free to the public.

“The Dog” and other films screened in the Shaw Gallery’s film series are selected by a committee comprised of students and faculty at Weber State.

“Films are selected by faculty and students from various departments on campus who serve on a committee,” Shaw Gallery director Lydia Gravis said. “Committee members consider film suggestions from our partner the Utah Film Center and also make suggestions of their own.”

Gravis said the committee selects films which will appeal to various audiences, promoting something for all different tastes.

“The film series was started because the Shaw Gallery and Department of Visual Art and Design wanted to provide a unique experience,” Gravis said. “Engaging with film as a contemporary art form, while also exploring important local and global topics.”

The series has seen positive crowd showings, averaging around 130 patrons per screening.

“The crowds have been really strong, especially given that the series has only been taking place for 12 months,” Gravis said.

She added that despite successful crowd numbers, Weber State student turnout is less than expected.

Students are encouraged to take part in this special film series brought to them in part by the Shaw Gallery. Christie Denniston, Lindquist College of Arts and Humanities director of marketing and public relations, said, “They’re funded from student fees.”

Independent films are a passion for some college students, according to Weber State student and independent film buff Felix Montanez.

“College students should watch them because it’s always good to experience something out of the norm,” Montanez said. “I watch indie, art house or grindhouse flicks for one reason: the style is completely different from normal Hollywood blockbusters . . . some of these art house films have a better story and cinematography.”

Montanez said he likes grindhouse films because of the exploration of taboos often frowned upon in Hollywood.

“I like the exploration of violence, sex or whatever they choose to film,” Montanez said.

This month’s selection “The Dog” is an independent documentary showcasing the actions of John Wojtowicz and company. On one fateful day in the summer of 1972, Wojtowicz attempted to rob a Chase-Manhattan bank in Brooklyn, NY. The attempted robbery turned into a nationally broadcast, 14-hour hostage situation.

The reason Wojtowicz and his accomplices attempted the robbery was to provide Wojtowicz’ lover, Ernest Aron, with a sex-change operation.

In order to tell the entire story, co-directors Allison Berg and Frank Keraudren filmed “The Dog” over a 10-year period, showcasing John Wojtowicz as a man who made many headlines in the 1970s.

The Shaw Gallery & Utah Film Center film series will continue each month for the remainder of the year. The next film selected in the series, “Wrenched: The Legacy of the Monkey Wrench Gang,” will screen Friday, Oct. 17. at Peery’s Egyptian Theater at 7 p.m. Admission is free.

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