The film is based on the original novel “Campus Confidential,” published in 2001, by Jack R. Stanley, UTPA communication professor.
|Dr. William Strong, a former UTPA communication professor, plays a journalism professor and April Garcia plays the role of his star student in "Academic Affairs," a UTPA University Theatre film set to premiere Saturday, March 18 at Cine El Rey in McAllen.|
He comments on the characters being loosely based on real life people.
"Most of the technical help, medical in particular, came by way of faculty there [University of Alaska Anchorage]. The figure of journalism professor was, in fact, modeled after a fellow teaching there at the time," he said.
The plot of the film plays with the traditional formula of the mystery genre.
"The story is a mystery, but not a who-done-it. We see the shooting and know who did it. The question is why," UTPA University Theatre Artistic Director Marian Monta said. "Since it takes place on a college campus, the plot follows an intrepid student reporter tracking down the story behind a graduate student who shoots her professor and then commits suicide."
A major part of the plot involves a student's illicit affair with her professor.
"The relationship between a teacher and a student should be a sacred bond, but because of the closeness of such relationships, other feelings and dynamics many times come into play – often without the conscious effort of either party," Stanley said. "Generally, we know when someone, either a teacher or a student is taking advantage of their position and/or of the other person. That's what we should guard against."
Stanley also discusses the film's relevance to the college atmosphere.
"We read in the newspaper and see on TV all the time, stories about relationships between faculty and students," Stanley said. "There are many, many more such relationships that never get exposed."
Stanley hopes the presentation of relevant themes in a type of mystery film will make the film experience better for the audience.
"I enjoy the process of educating the audience/reader in entertaining ways," Stanley said. "I hope this film will make people aware that there are always two sides to even these stories. At the same time I do believe that teachers had an obligation to be held to a higher standard."
Stanley went on to quote Alfred Adler, "It's easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them."
"In this area, most of us are very short on understanding and forgiveness," Stanley said. "If this film succeeds, it will increase both."
Cine El Rey, located at 311 S. 17th Street in McAllen, has agreed to host the event, and all donations after expenses will be used for equipment purchases and similar costs.
“We are suggesting a $5 minimum donation, but all theatre subscribers can get in free on their subscriber cards,” Box Office Manager Elva Galvan said.
The DVD will be on sale for $15. Customers can place and prepay their order before or after the showing.
For more information, call the University Theatre Box Office at 956/381-3581 the week of March 13 during regular office hours.