With all of the impact the Robinson Film Center (RFC) has had on our area, it is hard to imagine a SBC without it. The organization has made great strides in reinforcing the notion that film is an active experience rather than a passive one.
The fact is, however, that in this digital age there are infinite ways to binge through films on your own with very little physical or financial cost, but sometimes you have to get up and make an effort to find something really special.
Considering everything the Robinson has in store for 2014, there has never been a better time to do just that.
Alexandyr Kent, executive director at RFC, works daily to create an experience. He realizes that options are out there for audiences. Kent himself is an avid Netflix user, but he is also very passionate about the enrichment a movie theater can offer.
“There’s a lot of competition out there,” Kent said. “We’ve learned to make people feel invited, not welcome. We want people to arrive with smiles on their faces, no matter how sappy the film is they’re seeing.”
The folks at the Robinson are working to instill and preserve the magic of the movies, an age-old equalizer that defies income brackets and social classes. That all starts with what may seem a general task: to bring you good movies (but these are the types of movies that would never have been in this market just a decade or two ago). Once that mission is satisfied it comes back to establishing an atmosphere that separates it from the rest. With niceties such as the newly added “mercedes-level” Digital 4K projectors, the place is bumping like never before.
“It’s so big for a small theater that the results are astounding.” Kent said. “ I’m more impressed with the sound quality. It’s like night and day. The theater can really rock out now.”
As one might expect, those at the helm have been devising an itinerary that they hope will meet the ever-evolving wants and needs of moviegoers in 2014. That process looks to yield programs to nurture the foundation that film has recently formed in the community.
One of those fresh new programs is the Teen Film Council, a four-month-long project which, to 15 area high schoolers, will pose the question: Why does art matter? The teens will meet weekly to produce a monthly film series to broadcast their answers.
Kent said it’s “a unique opportunity for students,” adding, “They get the mic, the theater, and total control over the screen for the night.”
In addition, the Robinson will continue with a sophomore round of family matinee films intended to bring an interactive experience to films we’ve come to know and love.
“We realized there was a gap in our viewing experience,” Kent said. “Most indie flicks are not so family friendly.”
He hopes that the Family Matinee Series will bridge that gap. For just $5.50, such staples as “Annie,” “The Princess Bride,” “The Muppets,” and “The Wizard of Oz” may be seen and heard in the quality only a movie theater can provide. Thiry of those tickets will be given away to area nonprofits.
There are many other events to look forward to. Of course there’s the Oscar Watch Party, which has become an annual tradition, and Jewish and French film series are being planned for the spring. The film center will hold its biannual gala event fundraiser in May, where the focus is for people to just have fun. You can dress up, celebrate film, eat a bunch of food, and dance to an interactive DJ. A wild-game night is in order by which audiences are encouraged to donate their own game to be fixed up in the bistro and accompany a similarly themed film.
And don’t forget the movies! With the recent announcement of Oscar nominations, staff is working to get as many nominated films as possible.
One can only expect the list of RFC events to grow. As the year progresses, you don’t want to find yourself deprived of such an area gem. With quite an asset at your fingertips it is a great opportunity to create an experience, and as long as there are movies being made, you can bet on the Robinson to bring its A game.
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