We remember people we have known well in specific moments and in specific settings. We store them in our minds as a sum total of such moments. I think of Paul often and in my thoughts we are discussing a list of films he is proposing for the next semester of the International Film Series or he is introducing one of the films to the audience, which loved his introductions. And it loved him. I often teased him about the Friday afternoon ‘Paul Fan Club’, but there were plenty of his fans in every showing. Who else would be dedicated enough to introduce each film three times?

The road to making the Film Series a part of Richmond’s cultural landscape was not easy. When we started in 1988, we were using 16mm, which arrived on large wheels of unpredictable quality and we showed black and white ‘classics’ of little interest to the general viewer. The result was predictable – audiences of less than a dozen. But the force was with us. Technology offered new options and, more importantly, we defined our goal: reaching out to as large a number of people as we could. We started showing new films in color. Still, when we ventured beyond the familiar French, Italian, maybe German productions, fewer people came. But Paul was a patient man when it came to his beloved art form and to sharing it with people. So we persevered, including gradually more Chinese, Japanese, Latin American and eventually films from all over the world. Not only that. Paul’s interest extended to all genres, well beyond his absolutely favorite noir. And gradually the audiences grew, persuaded that film could enrich their perception of the world and their life here, in Richmond. In recent years nearly 300 people saw each film.

I miss Paul, but I also know that the series will continue to be a lasting tribute to his work and his love for film.

Uliana Gabara, Ph.D.
Dean of International Education Emerita