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900-minute documentary film ‘The Story of Film: An Odyssey’ to show cinema history at Wexner Center

An Odyssey’ is scheduled to be screened at the Wexner Center Sept. 9 - Oct. 21.

What might be a cinephile’s dream come true is scheduled to take place at the Wexner Center for the Arts, as the story of film is slated to be told every Sunday for seven weeks, for a total of 900 minutes of film.

The Wexner Center is scheduled to screen “The Story of Film: An Odyssey,” directed by Mark Cousins, Sunday through Oct. 21 in its Film/Video Theater.

The documentary centers on how cinema has changed from its genesis to current years, told through diverse movie clips and interviews gathered from across the world.

Chris Stults, associate curator of the Film/Video Theater, said the documentary is one of Cousins’ most ambitious projects.

“He spent almost six years on this film,” Stults said. “He thought, researched and traveled, and the result was successful.”

Cousins said he aimed to make the film coherent and comprehensive.

“I chose to look at one theme: Innovation in cinema, and not look at box office, show business, Oscars and so on,” Cousins said in an email.

Stults said this “provocative” take on the film made Cousins’ product richer.

“Hollywood, obviously, has one of the biggest driving forces in movie history but Mark shows more than that.” Stults said. “Focusing on (film’s) rapid evolution and global reach makes his film interesting.”

Cousins did, however, incorporate bits of Hollywood in his documentary, such as James Cameron’s “Avatar.”

He said he chose which people to put in the film based on their quality of work, not the popularity of their work.

“I chose people not for their fame. They either made innovative cinema or were eyewitnesses to it being made,” Cousins said. “Crucially, I wanted to reflect world cinema and great women directors.”

As a result, Stults said, Cousins was able to show the sometimes veiled roles of women in movie industries worldwide while introducing viewers to his journey.

“Mark does a great job making the audience part of this journey,” Stults said. “He goes around the world and interviews all these filmmakers, and you can have the experience with him.”

Stults said it took lots of thought to confirm screening “The Story of Film: An Odyssey” due to the film’s length. The film is made up of 15 episodes, which are scheduled to be screened over the next seven Sundays.

“Actually, we had a debate whether we should choose to show this or not, because by showing this long film, we wouldn’t be able to show others,” Stults said. “However, we had to show this film because it’s crucial to share this film with the audience.”

Stults said people shouldn’t fear the length, though.

“Even if you don’t see all 15 hours, you will learn quite a bit (from) it,” Stults said. “I think Mark structured each episode to stand alone.”

Elizabeth Lutz, a first-year in exploration, said she would be interested in seeing what the movie could offer her.

“I don’t have great in-depth knowledge of it (film history). So I would like to watch it,” Lutz said. “I haven’t really watched a lot of international films, but I think it is interesting because it delivers different sort of cultures.”

Cousins said he hopes to share his love for film with his audience.

“I made this film because I want to share stories from the heart, which is described in good movies,” Cousins said. “Film is my friend, my window of the world. It challenges me creatively and is worth the joy of watching. I just want to describe the richness, the plenitude of films.”

Tickets for the individual showings are $8 for the general public and $6 for Wexner Center members, seniors and students, available at the door. Discounted passes for admission to all seven episodes are available at the Wexner Center for $30 for members, students and seniors and $40 for the general public.

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