Posts Tagged ‘Canada’

Other Cinemas

November 17, 2010

Yes, the movie offerings from Hollywood are fun to watch. The thing is what if you want to watch something different and I’m not talking about foreign or indie films.

Well, what else is there to watch? You ask. Old television shows? No, I’m talking about oddball films like educational films from the 1950’s or short documentaries about public parks, feature films that were made, then quickly forgotten or even employee training films.

Who wants to watch films like that? You ask. Believe it or not, loads of people. In this entry I will mention several organizations that specialize in preserving and most importantly, showcasing oddball films for public enjoyment.

Secret Cinema London
Just when you thought you could only see movies in a sterile multiplex or at home, Secret Cinema in London, brings spectacle and mystery to the moviegoing experience. Founded by Fabien Riggall, in 2005, Secret Cinema shows films in locations around London and the UK. To take part in the Secret Cinema, people have to sign up via a newsletter on the organization’s website and locations aren’t announced until the day of the screening. If that wasn’t mysterious enough, the title of the film isn’t announced until the credits start rolling. Yet, there are clues littered along the way to the viewing location, such as mock posters and actors wearing costumes related to that evening’s movie screening. One viewing featured an actual heavy metal band that entertained people before the film. To learn more, go to:  http://www.secretcinema.org

Secret Cinema Philadelphia
The “Secret” in Secret Cinema Philadelphia, isn’t the location. Organizers announce that on their website weeks ahead of time. Rather, it is the subject matter which ranges from, what founder Jay Schwartz calls “neglected films of all kinds… teen-exploitation, rock ‘n’ roll, psychedelia, oddball black comedies, ‘golden turkeys,’ ’70s nostalgia…” even rare movie shorts and educational films. What makes Secret Cinema unique is that they show original films on 16mm reels, not video or DVD. Viewings are in various locations in the Philadelphia area and the show’s been going on since 1992. To learn more, go to:  http://www.thesecretcinema.com

Found Footage Festival U.S.
What happens when two guys stumble upon a fast food training video?  They, being Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher, start collecting what they call “…strange, outrageous, and profoundly stupid videos on VHS.” In 2004, they had enough footage to start the Found Footage Festival.  The rules of Found Footage Festival are:

1) Footage must be found in a physical format, as in VHS tapes.  It can’t be floating around on YouTube.

2) Whatever the footage’s original intention, it has to be “unintentionally” funny. “Whatever it’s trying to do,” states the Found Footage website. “It has to fail miserably at that.”

The Found Footage Festival travels throughout the U.S., Canada and even the UK with Pickett’s and Prueher’s collection of VHS tapes ranging from instructional/informational videos to straight to video cartoons to employee training videos. The one thing they have in common is that these videos are, as the founder put it, “unintentionally” funny.

To learn more about the Found Footage Festival, go to: http://foundfootagefest.com/about

See, a person doesn’t have to live on multiplex, Netflix or YouTube movies alone. There are organizations that brings the oddball and unexpectedly humorous films to the masses.

Sources:
http://www.secretcinema.org/

http://www.thesecretcinema.com/

http://foundfootagefest.com/

Advertisements

What Lurks In Your Walls Or Some People Have All The Luck

October 20, 2010

As I have stated many times before, I love the Antiques Roadshow[1].  I especially love hearing the stories of how people happened to find their treasures. Usually people find things at yard sales, estate sales, tucked away in an attic, a basement, a closet or even curbside. Well, not too long ago there were two people who found treasures in their home that would astound the appraisers at the Antiques Roadshow.

First there’s Blair Pitre of Lacombe, Alberta, Canada. He bought a turn of the century bungalow and started work on renovating it.  As he was tearing down the walls, he found movie posters from the late 1920’s/early 1930’s featuring actors such as Greta Garbo, Charlie Chaplin and Joan Crawford. This is an important period in the history of motion pictures because the industry was transitioning from silent to talkies. The previous owner, an 80-year-old woman who died in 2009, was the granddaughter of an early twentieth century movie theater owner in Pitre’s town. As to why the posters were in the wall, most likely she used them as insulation and never thought that they would be worth anything. Pitre had the posters auctioned off to help pay for renovation of his house. One poster, Bulldog Drummond, a drama from 1929 sold for $9,000. Pitre hopes to find more posters in his home. In particular, he is hoping to find Metropolis, since that poster is worth a million dollars.

Next there’s retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Martin Kober. For as long as he could remember, a painting of the Virgin Mary crying over the crucified Jesus has been in his family.  Family lore said that the painting was a Michelangelo. The item hung over the sofa of his parents home, until the day when the younger Kober threw a tennis ball and knocked it off the wall. His parents then wrapped it up and kept it behind the sofa. When Kober retired in 2003, he decided to research the history of this painting. One expert, Antonio Forcellino says that the painting is a actual Michelangelo painting, another expert, William Wallace says that it isn’t. Forcellino bases his claims on his expertise as a restorer, as well as the painting’s similarity to a drawing Michelangelo did that is now at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Wallace states that while the piece is impressive, it was not done by Michelangelo. So, who’s right? Time and more examination by experts will tell.

Still, what I want to know is why are Pitre and Kober so lucky? How come their treasures were right under their noses and all that’s in my walls is insulation and all that is behind my sofa are dust bunnies? This inquiring mind wants to know.

Sources:

http://www.montrealgazette.com/entertainment/movie-guide/Lost+found+Vintage+movie+posters+fetch/3300921/story.html

http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/10/12/new.york.painting


[1] Antiques Roadshow is the American version of the BBC television show of the same name that airs on PBS. This show has people bringing their antique and collectible items to appraisers and the appraisers tell them if their items are worth anything. Sometimes the items are worth something and sometimes they aren’t.