mulholland drive

David Lynch’s ‘Mulholland Drive’ screens April 22 at NAU’s Cline Library. As outsider as they come, Lynch injects his own unique style into each of his films and here challenges expectations of narrative and credibility to delight in the mysterious.

American filmmakers who started, ended or spent their entire careers outside the Hollywood mainstream are showcased in the spring’s 2014 Film Series, sponsored by the College of Arts and Letters and kicking off Jan. 14 with Orson Welles’ Magnificent Ambersons.

The free films screen at 7 p.m. Tuesdays, from Jan. 14 through April 29 in NAU’s Cline Library Assembly Hall.

The 15-film series showcases work ranging from 1950s and ‘60s icons like Sam Fuller and Dennis Hopper to Robert Altman, along with contemporary filmmakers David Lynch, Sarah Polley, John Sayles and John Waters.

“Many of them are true independent filmmakers; that is, outsiders who make movies that are reactions to the oppressive nature and restrictive rigidity of the dominant culture,” said series co-host Paul Donnelly, an associate professor of comparative cultural studies. “Others are closer to the mainstream and may even go back and forth between Hollywood and their independent films.”

Paul Helford, who develops the series with Donnelly and teaches screenwriting and film studies at NAU’s School of Communication, said much thought goes into the choices for each segment of the film series, now in its 10th year. The duo may start out with as many as 200 selections for any given theme, carefully whittling the titles down to a series of 15 films.

“The question we always ask when choosing films is, ‘Is this something we would want to either see again or for the first time on a big screen with an audience?’” Helford said.

The series format includes a short introduction of the night’s film by Donnelly, Helford or a local film buff or expert, followed by the film and a discussion. Cartoons are shown before features that are less than 120 minutes, and giveaway prizes keep the evening light and fun.

For a full schedule of spring films, visit www.nau.edu/filmseries. Free parking is available behind Cline Library, in lot P13.