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By Isabella Echevarría

Did you know the Independent Picture House offers free memberships to students? Did you also know that members get $3 off tickets, two free small popcorn/sodas, 15% off merchandise and a members-only newsletter?

When I was a college student at UNC Charlotte, getting a free membership at the IPH was the best decision my friends and I ever made. Who wouldn’t want to watch movies at the coolest cinema in the city? 

I served as the secretary for the Film Club at UNC Charlotte, where members focus on making student films and enjoy watching movies outside of club hours (and sometimes during club hours, when the stars align). Upon discovering the Independent Picture House, we all fell in love with the cinema instantly and took advantage of the free memberships to visit and watch movies any time we could. 

Some of my most treasured college memories were made at the IPH. My favorite was when the UNC Charlotte film festival class taught by filmmaker Rodney Stringfellow held its Gold Reel Film Festival at the cinema. Not only did I see the short films my fellow members and I had worked so hard on, but I also got to see myself on the big screen for the first time. For an actress, it’s a dream come true. 

I cried in this cinema with my friends while watching The Whale and laughed watching Asteroid City and The Room. We were excited to see movies such as The Menu and Once Upon a Time in Uganda in our favorite spot, the micro-cinema. We’d barely be out the door before we’d start planning our next trip to the IPH, and all these memories were made possible thanks to our student memberships. 

Another fantastic thing IPH does is offer students a buy one/get one free deal on tickets every Wednesday, which is great for big student groups, clubs and organizations. I know I can speak for my friends when I say the Independent Picture House is like a second home to us. For film students and enthusiasts, this is the perfect cinema, where you will always find a unique film experience.

To sign up for a free membership, all you have to do is come to the cinema with your valid student ID. It’s as easy as that. The benefits are bountiful, and nothing is better than knowing you are helping Charlotte’s independent film culture thrive and grow. 

Film enthusiast Isabella Echevarría loves talking about all things Wes Anderson, acting and independent filmmaking.
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