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Red River Theatres to honor first Art House Theater Day

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    Red River Theatres held two exclusive showings of "Food Fight: Inside the Battle for Market Basket" for Market Basket employees Thursday night. The documentary will be shown to the general public April 29-May 5.

Monitor staff
Published: 9/22/2016 11:06:53 PM

Red River Theatres will participate in a nationwide celebration of independent cinemas Saturday, with 12 hours of special programming that ranges from French films for children to a Willy Wonka sing along to Werner Herzog’s contemplation of the internet.

The first-ever Art House Theater Day will take different forms with each of its 160-plus participants, but its organizers say it’s a reminder of the important role independent theaters play in their communities.

“In an age where media has become more digital than tangible, more solitary than social, art house theaters remain the physical spaces where film lovers congregate and connect with intrepid, creative filmmaking,” the event’s website says.

Katie Mosher, the events and marketing manager for Red River Theatres, said that’s what will happen at Concord’s art house theater on Saturday.

The day’s schedule begins at 10 a.m., with a regularly scheduled event – “bring your own baby” – in one theater and two short French films for children shown in another.

The former is a chance for new parents to see a regular movie in a baby-friendly atmosphere, “so they can have that same experience, but no one’s going to judge them if their baby cries,” Mosher said. The latter is “something to expose kids to art house movies,” by following a figurine cowboy and Indian on their 26-minute adventures in French.

At 1 p.m., the theater has planned a tribute to the late actor Gene Wilder, who died last month of complications of Alzheimer’s disease. The star was best known for his role in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory – and his fans are invited to buy a golden ticket, dress up in costume and sing along to the film’s classic songs.

Mosher said the showing is an example of the flexibility an independent theater has to adapt its programming.

“We wanted to fit a good tribute in,” she said. “Not a lot of theaters can say, ‘Hey, we’re going to play Willy Wonka.’ ”

At 3:30 p.m., a local composer, Jeff Rapsis, will play a live score to the silent film, Sunrise, which Mosher said is known as one of the best-ever silent films and will serve as a good introduction to the genre.

At 8 p.m., the theater will show a documentary, Danny Says, about punk rocker Danny Fields, who managed groundbreaking acts including The Stooges and The Ramones.  Fields will record a live question-and-answer session at another theater participating in Art House Theater Day, which will be shown after the film ends in Concord.

The final film is Herzog’s exploration of the internet, Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World, at 10 p.m.

There will also be tours throughout the day, when visitors can familiarize themselves with the theater, its organization as a nonprofit and its mission as an art house theater.

Included in the tour will be an explanation of a project that Red River Theatres is currently raising money for: an upgrade to its smallest hall, the Jaclyn Simchik Memorial Cinema.

Mosher said the theater is looking to raise $275,000 to upgrade seating, projection and soundproofing for a better viewing experience in its utility theater that is also rented for downtown gatherings and birthday parties.

The 4K projection that is planned as part of the conversion project – set to begin Nov. 14 – will take the room from essentially a Blu-ray player and a projector to some of the highest quality available.

“What’s in there right now is pretty basic, so it’s going to catch up to what’s in the larger halls and actually surpass it,” Mosher said.

The Simchik cinema, in its upgraded form, is expected to be ready by the beginning of next year.


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