Selecting Films and the 2018 Fall Film Series

 

Gif of myrna loyThe question is asked often: How do you select the films for your series?

And there is no easy answer. I would like to tell you that we spend hours watching 30-40 films, having passionate arguments about the artistic qualifications of each film, dissect plot and character development, and then negotiate for weeks with each distributor.

In reality, the process is usually fast and furious! The film world moves quickly and with the advent of streaming services, it moves faster than ever. Back in the day (as in, 5 years ago) we wanted to make sure we showed films that were not yet released on DVD. Today’s college students don’t know what a DVD is as films now hit Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, or any number of streaming services quickly. In fact, many films are made to bypass theatres completely and go straight to a streaming service.

As a result, our efforts to show you the latest independent and international films before you can see them anywhere else has become harder. Sometimes we see a film we would love to show, but we can see that it will be released for streaming and DVD (if they still use them) before we can show them. So, that film goes off the list!

Our list gets created through a variety of ways. Some of our staff have strong connections with different distributors who suggest films for us. In addition, we watch what is happening at major film festivals (Sundance, Toronto, etc), check in with other independent theatres, take suggestions from patrons, and see what major news outlets are reviewing. We then look to create a balanced list that includes international fare as well as films from the U.S., documentaries as well as dramas as well as comedies as well as artistic entries. Once we get a list of films, we check with distributors for their input, check IMDB online, search for reviews, and watch various trailers. If we are really on the fence, a distributor might get us a “screener” that allows us to the see the film, but usually with some watermark over it so we cannot show it for free!

In the end, several of us in the office review the different films and give our input. It is a good group as we approach the films with a variety of tastes, backgrounds, and expectations. Honestly alert: we are not all thrilled with every film we choose! But with some gentle arguments we usually come to find a well-rounded series.

This fall series is now set and is a good example of our selection process.

Fall Film Series PosterWe open with “What Will People Say” which is a dramatic film focusing on the clash of cultures as a young Pakistani woman wrestles with her birth culture and her upbringing. From there we go to the documentary, “Love, Gilda” about Gilda Radner who was a driving force on the original Saturday Night Live. As many of you know, Radner battled an eating disorder and then died from ovarian cancer when she was just 42. Next, we go to the heart of the U.S. with “Neither Wolf, Nor Dog,” a film based on a popular novel about a white writer called by a Lakota Elder to help him write a book. We end with a Norwegian film, “Gavagai,” about a widower seeking to finish his wife’s work of translating the poetry of Tarjei Vessas, which is featured in the film.

As you can see, there is a little bit of everything in there. What we love most is when we go to a film expecting to be underwhelmed, and instead walk away moved. The Knick films are not blockbusters, which certainly have their place. Instead, we seek films that challenge the viewer and make you walk away entertained and thinking.

Read about all our films in our release and sign up for the free, weekly Arts Update for all the latest news. Or, visit the Knickerbocker Film Series page for trailers and information about the films.

As always, thank you for supporting our series.

Derek Emerson
Director of Public Affairs and Events

Welcome to the Knickerbocker Film Series Blog

130618Knickerbocker009Welcome to the Knickerbocker Film Blog!

We’ve created the blog to give us some space to explore the films we show, hear from other film fans, and, basically, find a new way to celebrate the celluloid film (or digital film — we’ll cover that in a future blog).

If you are not familiar with us, the Knickerbocker Theatre is a historic venue in downtown Holland, Michigan owned and operated by Hope College. In addition to year-round live events, we also do three film series each year (winter, spring, and fall) with four independent or international films. 7:30pm is our usual starting time.

We also have a “One Night Only” series where we focus on one actor, director,150330KnickerbockerSign003 or genre over four weeks. In the past, we’ve looked at Audrey Hepburn, Paul Newman, and Famous Couples. In the summer we host four free family films on Thursday evenings where we throwback to some classics we all love, such as Indiana Jones, The Princess Bride, and The Goonies.

091013KnickerbockerTheatre007There are many great reasons to spend some time with us. Our ticket prices are reasonable and our concessions are actually delicious and inexpensive. No $40 tab when you have popcorn and soda while watching a movie with us! We have friendly students helping with tickets, concessions, and often running the movies. We also always have one of our Events and Conferences Office staff hanging around (and most of them are friendly). And, we do all this in a historic theatre!

So, this is just our way of saying welcome!

We would love your comments on our blog or our films.┬áSuggestions? We’ll take them.

Derek Emerson
Director of Public Affairs and Events