SCPC screens “Shrek” in John Lewis Student Center

Event organizers pose with the popcorn machine outside of the theater for a fun, relaxed evening. The movie night was designed to give students a quick break from coursework and extracurriculars. // Photos by Rish Desai Student Publications

On a gloomy, overcast Wednesday, the John Lewis Student Center witnessed signs of cheer. The Student Center Programs Council (SCPC) organized a movie night at the Atlantic Theater on Jan. 24, 6–8 p.m. The organizers screened the first “Shrek” (2001) movie, providing attendees with complimentary popcorn and a movie bingo sheet.

The movie, which grossed over $450 million, became a worldwide cult phenomenon, leading DreamWorks Animation to produce three more main films and two spin-off movies. Additionally, a source connected to the studio recently teased plans for a Shrek 5 release in 2025, although details around the project are yet to be revealed.

The Technique spoke to Jeffrey Pan, MS AE and SCPC President, to understand how the film was chosen.

“We use a movie licenser, which typically gives us easy access to screen slightly older movies. We did a quick survey among our members, and Shrek seemed to be the most popular. Something I’ve been pushing for is a way for the student body to also give their input on what they’d like to see — possibly through in-person surveys at our events,” Pan said.

The 90-minute-long animated film tells the story of Shrek (Mike Myers), an ogre whose swamp has been overrun by fairytale creatures exiled by Lord Farquaad (John Lithgow). In exchange for having his swamp back, Shrek agrees to rescue Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) from a castle guarded by a fire-breathing dragon for Farquaad. After a chance encounter, Donkey (Eddie Murphy), a talking donkey, tags along with Shrek and becomes a part of his quest.

Despite the movie’s evergreen popularity and the central location of the Student Center, the turnout was relatively low. 

Merely 20–30 students attended, sparsely occupying the 250-seater Atlantic Theater. On SCPC’s Instagram handle (@gtscpc), the event was publicized just two days before the date, possibly explaining the lack of awareness about the event.

Joelle Dlugozima, third-year PUBP and VP of Public Relations at SCPC, offered her thoughts on the turnout at the Shrek: Movie Night and the SCPC’s choice of date and time.

“Tonight it’s pretty foggy, and it’s hard to get people on campus around 6 p.m., but we usually get a solid turnout. While planning, it depends on what’s available at the Atlantic Theater, but we also understand people have late labs and are studying late nights at the Student Center. We wouldn’t want something during the day or lunch hour, but rather something like this where people can take a break between class and homework. It can be quite hard to book the Atlantic Theater in general,” Dlugozima said.

According to Pan, the increase in the number of student organizations on campus — now over 700 as per GT Engage — forced the SCPC to book amenities, like the Atlantic Theater, a semester in advance. This is just one of over 50 events that SCPC organizes throughout the school year, and one of a handful for which the organization does not receive funding from the Institute.

Although attendance was low, those who turned up enjoyed the film. Iconic dialogues, such as “Ogres are like onions/They stink?” and “That’s hideous!/That’s not very nice. It’s just a donkey” drew laughs from the audience. A few audience members remembered exact lines and murmured them in tune with the film. The bingo sheet contained micro-events in the film, such as “Pinocchio lies” and “Bird explodes” to be crossed off as they took place.

“I didn’t plan to watch the film, but I was feeling tired today so I decided to show up. I don’t remember anything from when I watched Shrek as a small kid, so everything was new to me. I think it was a pretty good movie, I definitely feel fresher now,” said Siddharth Vijayasankar, second-year CS, one of the audience members.

SCPC will organize a few more screenings in 2024 as part of their large roster of events. Though the event’s reach was limited, those in attendance left with a touch of nostalgia, comedy and comfort.