curriculum vitagraph

i know i have mentioned this to some of you, but i wanted to throw it open to discussion here as well. it looks like, if we can get a few details worked out, i will be hosting a classic film series at the cedar park library beginning in the fall.

funny gifs

yes, orson, i am excited about it too. they have a lovely room with a large screen and a nice projection system. as we are in the very preliminary stages of this, i thought i would pick your brains a little bit about it. first off, i'm still kicking around ideas for a name for it. i hesitate to use the word "film" in it, as it will be digital projection. i would hate for purists to show up and be disappointed. this is a fledgling enterprise, and while i hope to work our way toward 16mm or 35mm eventually, i didn't want to miss out on an opportunity just because actual film projection isn't a viable option for me at this point. so, if you have name ideas that take this into account, or if you think it doesn't matter, let me know.

the general idea would be one feature film, free and open to everyone, in a given evening with a brief introduction, possibly printed notes and a discussion period afterward if anyone is interested in sticking around. i am assuming we will do a trial run to see what kind of response we get. to that end, the initial run will most likely be composed of milestone films. if that proves to be successful, i will branch out into themes/seasonal programs once we establish an audience. given that things go well, expect to see monthly runs featuring noir, screwball comedies, world masterpieces, director spotlights and the like. with the digital projection format, program choices will be limited to titles available on dvd. my collection is sizable enough to keep us in movies for years, though. combine that with library loan resources and i am sure we could offer just about anything. bearing all this in mind, what would get you to attend to this type of thing? i would like to hear about what titles you consider essential classics and what titles would get you to come back for more specific programs. do you like film notes? discussion? if so, formal or informal? i know the average filmgoer probably doesn't go out of their way to check out repertory cinema programming at their local library, but i figure if you are reading this you at least have those inclinations, so let me know what about the experience would actually get you out of the house. what haven't i thought of? i appreciate everyone's input and i will let you know more details as soon as i can. thanks.


  1. I'll think about it. In the fall, I like to watch movies with fall color palettes, like Belle du Jour, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Why Does Herr R. Run Amok, and actually a lot of films made in the very early 70s. I think it's some weird need to live fall to the fullest (it's my favorite season by far), and maybe other people will feel the same way, consciously or subconsciously, especially since Texans don't get much fall stimulation from nature. Or maybe you could choose films that were released around the same time of the year as your screening date. It might achieve the same thing and also work a little nostalgia magic on the older set, which I assume is the same as the library set.
    It might be nice to tie it to the library by offering a suggested reading list of books that will inform the movie by giving historical perspective, insight into the director or writer's influences, or even just straight-up film criticism. It could be as far flung as you want, from "here's a short story with a similar theme" to "here is a critical essay about this very film!" Maybe the library would let you set up a small display, which might get more attention than a flier.
    I think a short discussion after makes sense for people who want to stick around. You could give short film notes (or invite a guest to), then open the floor for people to comment on what you've said or about anything else, including the suggested reading if they chose to read any of the selections. I don't know, maybe that's more of a thing you could force your students in a class to do and not so much something that will bring in the crowds. I'll keep thinking about it. Congratulations on the new film series!

  2. as far as stimulating discussion, you might pose a question to the audience; it could be something as simple as "what did you think?" or you could make it more specific. from what i've seen with the starlite series, you're good at giving historical context notes for the films you show, which i think is good to do at the beginning of the film to give people something to think about while they watch it.

    in terms of a name: do you want the name to tie into the location at all (like 'cedar park repertory cinema') or did you have something else in mind?

  3. carla, i had considered the book angle but i hadn't thought about coordinating with the calendar in that fashion. it's certainly an intriguing idea, though. and much more challenging than just showing "it's a wonderful life" at christmas. thanks.

    sara, i like the idea of giving more context for these ahead of time. i tend not to do that as much at starlite since it's such an informal thing but i am always thinking about it. i am very much in favor of having more to mull over as a film unfolds. you know that, though. the name could be anything. no concrete ideas yet, though i do like cinema in there, as it connotes something more serious/scholarly than "movie" without implying actual film projection.

    the main consideration that applies to discussion, program choices and everything else will just be building an audience to start with. i think i will have more success in cedar park if i start slowly and earn their trust first. after doing starlite for a year now, i feel like the folks that come to those know i am going to show them something interesting and are willing to take a chance on it. a little more conservative approach might be the way to go with this one. it still leaves me a wealth of great choices. i just might wait a while before we roll out the more esoteric selections.

  4. If you want to pull in a larger audience you might try showing great movies that influenced lesser, later, more popular movies. "See the movies that influenced Super Craptastic 3!!" Pop films are a conglomeration of many past works, so though I know you hate Star Wars, let me use it as an example. It could be used to pull people in to see Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress and Lawrence of Arabia amongst others that Lucas pilfered for his creation.

    Good Luck.

  5. Also, yr animated gif reminds me of an old soviet quote that will probably useful here in the US after the coming revolution: "Never be the first one to stop clapping."

  6. i like the idea of giving people antecedents like that a great deal, giving credit where credit is due, and all that. another good idea.

    and that quote is great.

  7. I feel like I should add that the films I listed as examples of fall-colored movies weren't suggestions for the series. Can you imagine kicking it off with Belle du Jour? Hahaha! I was going to list a few suggestions, but first I should probably check that they aren't on the Paramount's list. Thank you thank you thank you for posting that!

  8. I walk a couple of miles a day around my office park with a few ladies in their 50s and 60s, and I asked them about this today. Their top suggestions: anything from Elia Kazan, Kurosawa, and High Noon. I kind of forgot about the "milestone"part until I reread this just now and asked for important crowd-pleasers. If you're looking for milestones, I'm going to add The General, Safety Last, The Maltese Falcon (I guess?). I really want to add Thieves Like Us--maybe it was the first movie to pitch Coca-Cola?

  9. Oh wait, One, Two , Three! I'll nominate that on the same grounds, but it's probably not the first.

  10. the more i think about it the more i am in favor of the name and the programming being more open-ended. i would hate to limit myself to strictly classics programming on the chance that i wanted to work in something more contemporary that fits with a certain theme. "essential cinema" is probably more like it. that gives me a wide enough berth.

    you are quite welcome for the paramount schedule. i am fortunate that my series will be starting just as theirs is coming to a close so i can sort of fill that gap for folks for a few months, the ones that want to drive a little bit, anyway.

    funny that kazan was at the top of their list. i always think of him as more of a "social issues" guy than a crowd pleaser. i would love to do panic in the streets, baby doll and a face in the crowd. and a keith carradine double feature - thieves like us/emperor of the north. within a week i am going to have lists on top of lists.