Theaters show atypical films

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    By Lindsay Bird

    Swimming upstream from the current trend of mainstream blockbusters, the Salt Lake Film Society, a non-profit organization, offers moviegoers a chance to watch independent films at two Salt Lake movie theaters.

    Filmmakers, audiences, patrons and sponsors often flock to the theaters to view unconventional films. The two venues, the Broadway Centre and Tower Theatre, offer independent, foreign and art title films.

    ?What they have to offer is great for filmgoers who may not be into blockbusters,? said Aaron Syrett, Utah film commissioner, ?but who are more into lesser-known, even obscure films.?

    They also provide a home for screenings during the Sundance Film Festival each winter.

    Students looking for a weekend film activity can attend the ?Tower at Midnight.? The event allows participants to request films, and receive free midnight admission for every third show they attend. They also have prizes, costume contests, free pizza and other activities for the midnight crowd. The midnight screenings take place Friday and Saturday nights with films such as ?2001, A Space Odyssey,? ?Bill & Ted”s Excellent Adventure,? and ?Bend It Like Beckham.?

    ?It?s important to the Film Society that we bring these films to the community to offer a diverse voice in cinema art,? said Tori A. Baker, Executive Director of the Salt Lake Film Society.

    Along with screenings during the Sundance Film Festival, they also show new, independent films all year long including recently released ?March of The Penguins,? narrated by actor Morgan Freeman.

    The Film Society, founded in 2000, is primarily funded by ticket revenues with a portion of the budget coming from members of their patron program and local sponsors. Students can also participate with programs starting at $35 per year, an amount that can fit many student budgets. Membership includes discounts and free admission.

    ?The people coming to independent films really care about cinema and the state of cinema as art,? Baker said. ?They come to the theater to do one thing, watch the film.?

    Even the food sets them apart from mainstream theaters; the theaters offer international chocolate, Pie Pizza (a local restaurant), a cinema-educated staff and an audience that cares about film as an art.

    ?Generally speaking, the audience will be much less disruptive then you?d find at your local megaplex,? Baker said.

    Information for show times, midnight screenings and upcoming events can be found on their Web site at www.towertheatre.com.

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