Ohio State students await entrance to the theatre prior to the premiere of “Honeyland” at Gateway. Credit: Trevor Simpson | Lantern Reporter

Each week, students flock to the movie theater for popcorn, comfy seats and a show on the silver screen. Thanks to a new film series at Gateway, they can also expand their horizons.

The first installment of the annual Global Engagement Film Series, a partnership between the Office of International Affairs and Gateway Film Center offering free international cinema, took place Wednesday. The series kicked off with the Turkish documentary “Honeyland,” directed by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubo Stefanov.

“We’re really looking to bring together the international and domestic populations on campus,” Renée Bishai, program coordinator for the Office of International Affairs, said. “The film series is such a great way to expose our student population to different types of film that aren’t always readily available.”

“Honeyland,” an award-winning documentary that premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, follows Hatidze Muratova, a middle-aged Macedonian woman who has dedicated her life to beekeeping and looking after her dying mother.

“It didn’t feel like a documentary. It felt very personal,” Olivia Breger, a first-year in public affairs who attended the showing, said. “You really got into the story. It was kind of sad, but very touching.”

Erica Levin, assistant professor in the film studies program, said film culture transcends national borders and language barriers.

“Cinema asks us to identify with the characters on screen and gives us time to dwell with experiences that are not our own,” Levin said. “In an age of constant distraction and overstimulation, watching a film is a chance to step back and see the things anew.”

Though connecting the struggles of a European beekeeper to that of a student may be a challenge, Maya Neyman, a first-year in moving-image production, said she found there were some relatable takeaways from the film.

“There’s a big ‘save the bees’ movement that I totally support, but I couldn’t necessarily relate to it,” Neyman said. “I see in this movie that it’s more than just bees — it’s helping out in general.”

Gateway has partnered with the Office of International Affairs at Ohio State since 2013 to host the Global Engagement Film Series. The films are screened every fourth Wednesday free of charge.