Sam Houston State University can boast many claims to fame with one of the top criminal justice programs nationwide and a handful of nationally competitive sports programs, but one of the most prominent is filmmaker Richard Linklater.
It’s not just SHSU who recognizes its place in the Academy Award winning director’s work but the city of Huntsville itself. Back in 1993 when Linklater released Dazed and Confused, he captured what it meant to grow up in Huntsville with a film about high school.
Now the director moves forward to the 1980s with his next film, Everybody Wants Some!!. In his new film, Linklater explores what it was like to be a college student. In many ways he mirrors his experience at SHSU, when he attended the university on a baseball scholarship.
The new film, which doesn’t open until Friday nationwide, will premier on campus at the Gaertner Performing Arts Center on April 7.
Linklater and cast members Blake Jenner, Tyler Hoechlin and Ryan Guzman will use the event to raise funds that will go toward film scholarships specifically for SHSU students. Before the movie, Linklater will give an introduction to the film which will then be followed by a question-and-answer session with both the director and cast.
Tickets for the event have been given away since March 30 at the president’s office on a first come first served basis and special sponsorships have been on sale as well. Tickets went fast, one of the first to receive theirs was SHSU junior Katelyn Dewalt.
“I got tickets because events like this don’t happen at Sam often,” Dewalt said. “It’s a really unique opportunity to see something new.”
Dependent upon the tier of sponsorship purchased, attendees will receive various memorabilia from the show alongside opportunities to meet Linklater himself.
The premier displays not only the prominence of the film but of the university. SHSU has grown immensely since Linklater attended in the 80s and instead of a few hundred students, thousands now call themselves Bearkats.
Freshman mass communications major Parry Johnson said he is excited for the viewing because of the close relation to students.
“Linklater was such a creative artist, just through Dazed and Confused alone,” Johnson said. “It brought light to a lot of drugs, sex and rock and roll that happened in that time period. Those were actual things that happened to them, the hazing and bullying, [Linklater] made it both hilarious and sad at the same time.”
The pedigree of the event is noteworthy. Linklater has received five Oscar nominations to date, a golden globe, two BAFTA awards and won six awards from the Austin Film Critics Association. In total he has 98 award wins and more than 125 nominations.
The debut screening is on April 7 with seating to begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Payne Concert Hall.