Special event film screenings grow with audiences and theaters alike

Archipelago Cinema, via the KT Wong Cinema In a little over two weeks, Star Wars: The Force Awakens debuts, and insiders hope that raises the tide for the whole film industry. Like Jurassic World this summer, a new Star Wars movie is a cultural event, and although that usually spells huge profits for theaters and … Continue reading “Special event film screenings grow with audiences and theaters alike”

Archipelago Cinema, via the KT Wong Cinema

In a little over two weeks, Star Wars: The Force Awakens debuts, and insiders hope that raises the tide for the whole film industry. Like Jurassic World this summer, a new Star Wars movie is a cultural event, and although that usually spells huge profits for theaters and distributors, the movie business can’t rely on massive, polarizing tentpole twice a year. Instead, in that spirit, theaters have turned to immersive screening events to drive interest in heading to the movies.

You might be familiar with some of these screenings as they’ve popped up around the country, like Alamo Drafthouse’s poolside screening of Jaws, but the writers at The Conversation dove deeper, looking at these “live exhibition” events as an outgrowth of audience-focused film culture. Novelty screenings have engaged viewers since the earliest nickel theaters and drive-ins, and the rise of social media and affordable technology have made unusual events like Secret Cinema more desirable – and profitable.

As an example, the article focuses on a recent orchestrated tour of THX 1138 (incidentally, as with Star Wars, a George Lucas joint), which deepened emotional response to the film while generating new interest in it. The technique has also been used for social impact, as with a particularly harrowing screening of The Battle of Algiers run by Secret Cinema.

DC is getting wind of these too: in addition to themed outdoor screenings during the summer and special occasions like the Back to the Future parties last month, the AFI Silver in Silver Spring often plays silent films with live accompaniment. If this trend really signals where the big bucks in film will come from, color us interested in those city-block sized events.

How We Made looks at the inauspicious production of My Beautiful Laundrette

We hadn’t stumbled across it until now, but since 2012, The Guardian has been publishing “How We Made,” a weekly column that invites creative types to talk about the history of their works, including films and television shows. This leads to all sorts of great anecdotes, often about the emotional, personal side of production. This … Continue reading “How We Made looks at the inauspicious production of My Beautiful Laundrette”

We hadn’t stumbled across it until now, but since 2012, The Guardian has been publishing “How We Made,” a weekly column that invites creative types to talk about the history of their works, including films and television shows. This leads to all sorts of great anecdotes, often about the emotional, personal side of production.

This week, The Guardian rounded up the director and co-star of My Beautiful Laundrette, a groundbreaking romance story that tackled the class, race, and gender identity climate of 1980s England. The filmmaker and actor reveal tidbits about the budget and filming process, but most interestingly, they both admit that they never expected the film to find much success or audience. Director Stephen Frears assumed the film would go direct to television because “Who in their right mind,” he recalls, “was going to go to the cinema to see a film about a gay Pakistani running a launderette?”

The film went on to be a classic, and the fact that no one would even bat an eye at My Beautiful Laundrette‘s themes or political humor today speaks to its importance. We always enjoy hearing human element stories like these, and if you do too, consider adding “How We Made” to your regular reading rotation.

My Beautiful Laundrette is frequently reserved for class use, but given its popularity, we have a copy you can always take out of the library (HU DVD 3451*).