By Justin Wentworth

Special to the Live Wire

Have you ever attended one of the current or historical foreign or domestic films shown in the SBM Charitable Foundation Auditorium over the past few years? Well, fear not, the showings as part of the International Film Festival will continue at Manchester Community College even though one of the founders of this innovative event is retiring.

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

Professor Robert Kagan, who has been teaching film study and several other classes at MCC for more than 25 years, is retiring at the end of the semester. But he said he plans to continue hosting the festival as a volunteer. He will still be working with co-founder Evelyn Angry-Smith, but no longer as a director.

“I’m leaving my day-to-day role at the school, but not the wonderful MCC community,” he said.

Kagan started the festival eight years ago to bring independent and foreign films to the campus, he said. Working with volunteers like librarian Evelyn Angry-Smith and former MCC instructor Susan McClain, Kagan chooses four films each semester to show. He said the cost of approximately $200 per film is paid by the MCC library.

Kagan said that he has been passionate about film since he was in high school and looks forward to continuing the festival, which also includes discussion among the audience after each showing.

“Most times after seeing a movie you only talk about it with the person you’ve seen it with,” he said. “Here you can talk with a large group and get multiple opinions, which is great!”

The popularity of the event has risen each year, Kagan said. He remembers when he first started it that only about 20 students attended. He happily reports that attendance has risen to nearly 80 students this year.

So this May, Kagan said he plans to sit down, as he usually does, and pick out films to screen for next semester’s International Film Festival. For more information about the festival and upcoming showings visit