Went to the bi-monthly meeting last night of the Nickleodeon Advisory Committee; a group of ten or so people who give their input on what to schedule in the upcoming months. Always an interesting group, where we constantly find ourselves up against several problems.
One is the fact that the kind of films we're interested in -- indie (whatever that means nowadays) and foreign -- tend to arrive ever more quickly on DVD before we get a chance to screen them.
Another is that our projection equipment is out of date, a problem that will be resolved when we move into a new theatre sometime in the next couple of years. A brand new print of an old film can look atrocious on our equipment -- as happened when we showed Rules of the Game, where everyone looked rotund, like characters in a Botero painting, and stretch limousines were a city-block long. Alas, this is why we won't get the new print of Last Year at Marienbad. Plans for the new theatre, though, call for one of two screens to be largely devoted toward repertory classics.
I find myself looking forward, increasingly, to the move.
Another point, always addressed at these meetings, is that we do occasionally have to think "mainstream." We have to think what will sell. Looking at last night's report of the last few months showed that only three -- The Orphanage, The Savages, and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly -- really did bang-up business. The others were kinda eh. One, Gus van Sant's Paranoid Park, actually had one screening where no one showed up. You'd think there would be at least a few people in our college-town metropolis who would be interested in what van Sant was up to, and the film has garnered great reviews.
(Full disclosure: I didn't see it either.)
Along this same line, it has been pointed out repeatedly that among the films that don't sell in particular are ones that have anything to do with the war. People aren't interested; I guess they get too much of it everyday. Of all the films on our list, I argued as well as possible for Errol Morris' Standard Operating Procedure, but given our stats it's not like I can promise anyone will show up.
Come on, I said, everyone likes Errol Morris. The Thin Blue Line? Dr. Death? Fast, Cheap and Out of Control? The Fog of War? Hello? Hello? Is this thing on?
War aside, the votes were few. If we get it, it'll be a miracle. Hope I'm not the only one who shows up if we do.