How the Internet (Well Social Networking Really) Saved the Cinematheque

By Sid Grauman with additional reporting in the real world by Margot Gerber

As a general rule, non-profit arts organizations have no money for advertising. They may have tremendously inventive, even innovative programming, but if no one knows about it, it’s like the proverbial tree falling in the forest when Paul Bunyan goes on a coffee break and no one is around the hear it. Making noise in the community about our programs had become something of a problem. A few years ago, we couldn’t justify high-priced advertising in print publications that had no track back (we didn’t know if the ads were being seen, but no one cared about our programs, or if people had just stopped reading print altogether). Our audiences for films on the big screen as they were meant to be seen at the American Cinematheque’s gorgeous, state-of-the-art theatres (especially Sid Grauman's legendary Egyptian Theatre - home of the first Hollywood movie premiere), were dwindling.

There is no doubt, that the Internet killed the centuries old institution of the printed newspaper. As the ad pages shrunk, so did the editorial. The Los Angeles Times, our remaining local daily paper of record, that once devoted a whole column to repertory cinema around LA, reduced editorial in proportion with ad pages. Before the demise of print, cable television started the wave of change, offering more choices than the original three networks everyone watched and it split the audience into too many pieces to go to one source to mount a campaign targeted at the vast majority. The Internet cut audiences again, this time, a thousand-fold and the days of there being one or two sources that every person in America consulted (and spoke about around the water cooler), were gone forever. Around 2007, the cry went out, “Nobody is reading the LA Weekly anymore” and “All entertainment news has gone online.” The LA Weekly had always been the source to advertise entertainment. You picked it up to see what was happening in LA in film and music even if you didn't read the news section. In a year or two when Facebook peaked, it became a much friendlier advertising climate for companies with no money who were actually looking for a very specific audience. You could drill down to find people who liked a certain movie. You didn't have to hope they might happen to see the small ad you could afford in the LA Weekly that week. I should add that I came across a box of LA Weekly's from the 90s around this time and was reminded that the Weekly often reviewed our one night, one off events including short film showcases and highlighted listings from the world of repertory cinema! The paper was fat and there were no URL's. All the information was contained within those pages.

But before Mark Zuckerberg's revolutionary concept reached critical mass, I was faced with the question, "so where does a non-profit movie marketer go from here?" We couldn’t afford to buy one million impressions on a national website and that strategy made no sense since we only operate in Los Angeles, but we did have our own e-mail list of opt in subscribers that we had been cultivating since 1996. We had been sending out our calendar in a text format for awhile, but we were starting to get labeled as a “spam server.” Then around 2007 Icontact and Constant Contact and other web-based e-mail programs came onto the scene. What a concept! A service you pay for that maintains “white list status” with all the big e-mail service providers like aol and yahoo for example. Suddenly the Cinematheque’s e-mails were getting through to our customers, were now more eye-catching html based emails with pictures and color AND we were spending less time managing our own database because people could unsubscribe or change their e-mail addresses themselves! There is nothing more appealing to a company with a small staff than automation.

In 2007, my assistant at the time came in one day all hopped up about something called MySpace. She wanted to build a page for the Cinematheque. “Give it a try,” I encouraged her. It was free and supposedly young people were on Myspace. Number one on the wish list of all of us museums, performing arts and heritage type institutions, is connecting with and building a new generation of patrons, before our customer base literally dies off.

My assistant would give me daily updates on friend requests and shared people’s comments on Myspace around the office. It seemed to be working. People joined our page. It wasn’t long before we had our 10,000th friend. Still, I didn’t feel like there was a lot of engagement. People joined the page, but then what? Most of the messages seemed designed to get me to listen to a band. Still, my assistant was enthusiastic that her job required her to spend several hours a day on MySpace, updating our calendar of films and posting soundtrack selections as background music for the page.

Maybe a year later, a volunteer came in and told me about something called Facebook. “Yeah, people start pages for everything," she said. "There is even a fan page for Spaghetti,” she confided. “Go for it,” I told her. “Start a fan page for the Aero and one for the Egyptian.” At this point, I was of the mindset that all of these sites were just designed for people who had way too much time on their hands, but hey, if hey were movie fans with idle evenings, maybe they would come out to the theatres! At the time, I put these social network site users in the same category as those friends and colleagues who were compelled to pass on chain e-mails of jokes that went were cc’ed to a million people you didn't know, who would then reply all, cluttering your inbox with "LOL’s" and emoticons to the point of nausea. If nothing else, Facebook seems to have rid cyberspace of that disease. Now people can post that garbage on their own pages to their heart’s delight and the comments stay on their OWN PAGE.

As we got into Facebook at the Cinematheque - and eventually Twitter, the thought of having my own Facebook page made me nervous. I chose who I invited into my life. I was fine promoting someone else's film, but not my own life. I didn’t want to be judged or challenged in a public forum. But, as it turned out, it was necessary to have a profile in order to interact on Facebook. So first, I tried to have one that was sort of a hybrid of my name and business, but ultimately I changed it to my own name and posted a photo of myself so that people could find me. I’ve been on Facebook for about three years now and outside of an ex-boyfriend recently appearing out of the past to send me a private message to let me know I had used the contraction it’s without an apostrophe (never heard from him again after that), I haven’t suffered too much anxiety from having a profile. I was even disappointed when I realized I had hid by birthday and since no one knew, I didn’t end up with a page full of birthday wishes from people I barely know. And then, there is that sense of being left out, tinged with jealousy, when you see all the fabulous things everyone else is doing.

Back to the CINEMATHEQUE... So, we started to accumulate fans as Facebook began to rule the Internet and the demographic went much wider than MySpace. Grandparents got on to see photos of the grandkids, post-college kids making their way in a new city stayed in touch with school friends, business people got on to gain leads and people WERE (for the most part) , who they said they WERE. The Cinematheque used Fan Pages, never groups. Our website (soon to be re-launched) sufficed for presenting information, but it would have been too expensive for us to build in a proprietary chat room to provide a way for audience members to interact and isn’t it better to be part of a much, much larger platform that is being marketed every day to new people who we don’t already know? The fan page allowed us to get updates out at a rapid fire pace and to make sure people saw them. We could tease programs and get a barometer reading on interest, we could post events and people could RSVP to them and pass them around to friends and we could answer questions quickly and easily to one person, but all could see in case they wanted to know too.

With Facebook, people who had already been indoctrinated into the thrill of being immersed in a film on the big screen at the Cinematheque, could easily share their passion with friends on Facebook with the tap of a key. One of our biggest recruitment methods has long been word of mouth and by extension, this IS word of mouth. People are more likely to try something if someone they know recommends it. That goes for books, diets, plastic surgeons, movies and movie theatres.

Once we hit that 1000th fan the viral part of the equation kicked in. It is like that story about the monkeys on the island with nuclear fall out. Scientists started teaching some monkeys to wash the coconut before eating it. Once the 100h monkey adopted this practice, all the monkeys were washing their coconuts.

From September of 2009 and September of 2010, audiences returned to the Egyptian. Our message had gone viral. All those people sitting around at home typing movie titles - ERASERHEAD, ROBOCOP, LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, GONE WITH THE WIND, into their Facebook profiles - did we suddenly get on their radar?

The economy was down and movies were still amongst the cheapest forms of entertainment you could buy. Now selling out at least one show a month in a 616-seat theatre, our demographic was all over the place. We literally had patrons that ranged from infants to people in their 90s. Every night we might have a different audience, depending on the theme of the show. News Film from Italy, a genre film 30 years in the making, finally making its premiere, an old classic with a Golden Age star in person...

Another goal Facebook, as well as Twitter helped us meet, was to build a community. People came to our facility to do something non-social by definition. To sit in the dark and watch a film even if at the Cinematheque it is an altogether different experience than going to the usual movie theatre. Not only have patrons been stoned by fellow patrons for deigning to extract a cell phone from their pocket during a movie, but the audience is whip smart about film and will applaud a popular 1930s movie star's entrance onscreen or laugh at the inside jokes in a movie. Our Facebook page began to literally put a face with a name and a personality. For the first time we were really interacting with our audience and when I would post something especially clever (like a Tweet on 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY that was “sent from my HAL9000), I couldn’t wait until our audience started to comment. And yes, they challenge us, argue with us and flat out get nasty sometimes, but we remember it is all for the love of film, so we forgive them time and again. At least they care enough to argue right?

People love to talk about the movies and we’ve given them a platform, but it has gone beyond the arena of when people loved to read our expensive printed newsletter and then RENT the films they had just read about to watch at home, instead of coming to the theatre to see them. No, the new fans of Aero Theatre and Egyptian Theatre DO show up for events at the theatre. They are part of the dialog, so how could they not show up for their events.

For more information on how these and other tools are used on a daily basis to keep the Cinematheque relevant in a changing world, come to the panel discussion SOCIAL NETWORKING FOR THE FILM COMMUNITY on Tuesday, November 19, 2010 at 7:30 PM at the historic 1922 Egyptian Theatre (built by theatre impresario and darn fine promoter, Sid Grauman).

CARLOS based on the real-life Terrorist Carlos the Jackal Opens in LA Exclusively at the Egyptian Theatre

Director Olivier Assayas & Actor Edgar Ramirez In Person with
an exclusive engagement of

Only one man could hijack the world. Carlos the Jackal.

A representative of the next generation of Cahiers du Cinéma critics-turned-filmmakers, Olivier Assayas has amassed a body of work encompassing some of the most ambitious and accomplished movies in contemporary French cinema. AssayasFollowing the character-driven, behavioral tradition of post-New Wave directors, Assayas also proves connected to his Cahiers forefathers by making films that speak to a wide variety of cinematic texts (seen most famously in IRMA VEP, which looks backwards to the mysterious silent serials of the great Louis Feuillade while throwing a sidelong glance at contemporary Hong Kong cinema). Assayas’s career has been marked by a thrilling creative restlessness, as he has explored a variety of genres and modes, trying his hand at contemporary drama (CLEAN), documentary portrait (HHH, his 1997 film on Hou Hsiao-hsien), period-piece (LES DESTINÉES) and cyber-thriller (the notorious DEMONLOVER).

Assayas’ most recent cinematic contribution, CARLOS, certainly falls in line with the creative ingenuity seen in his previous works. At 330 minutes, CARLOS has been described by the Los Angeles Times as "THE BOURNE IDENTITY with more substance, or MUNICH with more of a pulse…a globetrotting and epic look at one man's rise to the station of international guerrilla leader and terrorist celebrity." The film was an official selection of this year’s Cannes Film Festival where it electrified audiences.
Join us for an in-person tribute to Olivier Assayas with IRMA VEP and DEMONLOVER, as well as an exclusive limited-engagement of CARLOS!

Carlos Trailer
Interview with Assayas in LA Weekly
Meet Edgar Ramirez

Thursday, October 21 – 7:30 PM
Before we get started with Carlos, Olivier Assayas In Person!
Double Feature:
IRMA VEP, 1996, Zeitgeist Films, 96 min. Dir. Olivier Assayas. "[A] dark, brittle…comedy about a film company remaking Feuillade’s silent serial LES VAMPIRES…A once prestigious French director (Jean-Pierre Léaud) casts Hong Kong star Maggie Cheung (playing herself) as villainess Irma Vep, and his sexual infatuation with her is matched by that of the costume designer who escorts her around Paris. The feverish pace of the shooting seems to unleash bad vibes as well as desire, and Assayas follows the delirium as if he were at the center of a hurricane." – Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader. In French with English subtitles. Trailer

New Print!
DEMONLOVER, 2002, Palm Pictures, 117 min. Updating David Cronenberg’s VIDEODROME for the dotcom age, this dark thriller throws together gray-suited executives, high-tech websites and corporate espionage. As it draws links between the worlds of anime, videogames and pay-per-view pornography, Assayas’ film unnervingly suggests that even the most innocuous entertainments are part of a far less wholesome culture of the image. Music by Sonic Youth. In French with English subtitles. Discussion between films with Olivier Assayas. Trailer

Exclusive Engagement!
All ticket buyers will get a souvenir 'Carlos' booklet!

2010, IFC Films, 330 min.
In French with English subtitles.

Director Olivier Assayas' epic, searing and relentlessly thrilling portrayal of the Venezuelan revolutionary Ilich Ramírez Sánchez has been praised by the Los Angeles Times as "THE BOURNE IDENTITY with more substance, or MUNICH with more of a pulse," and received much well-deserved buzz at this year's Cannes Film Festival. Sanchez (played by Venezuelan actor Édgar Ramirez) is a fascinating real-life figure with an explosive rise and fall - he managed to found a worldwide terrorist organization and raid the OPEC headquarters before being caught by the French police in 1975.
Olivier Assayas electrified the Cannes Film Festival with CARLOS, his epic and definitive portrait of the notorious international terrorist known as Carlos the Jackal, who masterminded a wave of terror attacks in Europe and the Middle East in the ’70s and ’80s. Co-written by Assayas and Dan Franck, CARLOS illustrates the evolution of contemporary terrorism as it examines the life of its title character. Tracing the arc of Carlos’ criminal activities across two decades and several nations, the film features a dynamic cast of international talent and was shot in numerous countries, including Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Lebanon, and Morocco.
Don't miss this stunning telling of an unbelievable moment in history, in a one week exclusive run at the Cinematheque!

"(An) epic achievement...Nothing I've encountered on any size screen matches the lucidity of this fact-based fiction—it amounts to a textbook on state-sponsored terrorism—and nothing I've seen in recent years has held my attention so relentlessly. 'Carlos' also stood as a textbook case of the total immersion that one can enjoy only in a theatrical setting."
- Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal

"An event...An outrageous political gangster film Possibly the most universally admired movie among the Cannes Film Festival's official selections."
- J. Hoberman, Film Comment

"An astonishing film. Olivier Assayas adopts a fleet, ever-propulsive style that creates an extraordinary you-are-there sense of verisimilitude, while Edgar Ramirez inhabits the title role with the arrogant charisma of Brando in his prime."
- Todd McCarthy, indieWIRE

"HOW GOOD IS OLIVIER ASSAYAS' 'CARLOS'? Think of 'The Bourne Identity' with more substance, or 'Munich' with more of a pulse, and you begin to have a sense of what the French filmmaker accomplished with this globe-trotting and epic look at one man's rise to the station of international guerrilla leader and terrorist celebrity. This is an impressive work, the kind that one may be moved to see for reasons of novelty (it is a five-hour odyssey, after all) but that one is glad to have seen for all sorts of nobler reasons."
Steven Zeitchik, Los Angeles Times

"A SPECTACULAR ACHIEVEMENT. BRAVURA NARRATIVE FILMMAKING ON A HUGELY AMBITIOUS SCALE. A landmark contribution to the recent flush of movies devoted to '70s terrorism....a marvel of concision, and for all its nonstop globe-trotting and language-switching, its energy rarely flags...Ramirez holds Carlos' many contradictions together in an indelible performance, maintaining a fearsome intensity through the first two-thirds before gradually draining away the charisma and athleticism, he's convincing at every age and every stage. The film is Ramirez's star-making show."
Justin Chang, Variety

Screening Schedule:

Friday, October 22 – 7:00 PM
Director Olivier Assayas and Edgar Ramirez will introduce the screening.
Special prices: General $18, Student/Senior $15, Members $12.
There will be an intermission after Part 2. Buy Carlos Tickets

Saturday, October 23 – 11:00 AM

Director Olivier Assayas and Edgar Ramirez will introduce the screening and appear for discussion following.
Special prices: General $18, Student/Senior $15, Members $12.
There will be an intermission after Part 2. Buy Carlos Tickets

Saturday, October 23 – 6:00 PM

Director Olivier Assayas and Edgar Ramirez will introduce the screening.
Buy Carlos Tickets

Long Version additional screening in the 80-seat Spielberg Theatre:

Sunday, October 24 – 3:00 PM
Special prices: General $18, Student/Senior $15, Members $12.
There will be an intermission after Part 2. Buy Carlos Tickets

The "Short Version" (166 min) of CARLOS will screen in the 80-seat Spielberg Theatre at these times:
(regular ticket prices apply: general admission $11; student/senior $9; Cinematheque members $7.)

Monday, October 25 – 7:30 PM

Tuesday, October 26 – 7:30 PM

Wednesday, October 27 – 7:30 PM

Discussion with Cinematographer Denis Lenoir.

Thursday, October 28 – 7:30 PM

Egyptian Theatre
6712 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90028

$2 for up to 4 hours with validation from the Egyptian or any business in the Hollywood & Highland Complex parking structure. Lots are $5-10 behind the Egyptian off Selma Avenue.

Controversy Over Pope Joan by author Donna Woolfolk Cross

In April, "Pope Joan", the movie based on my novel of the same name, opened in Italy. "La Papessa" ( the title in Italian) was doing so-so business at the box office until the Vatican denounced it--at which point it vaulted to the top of the box office charts. In the mad, mad world we live in, controversy sells things. The Vatican surely understands this, and yet could not refrain from condemning Pope Joan, an act that had the opposite effect of the one desired. The best way to bury any story is to ignore it. Joan's story is over a millennium old, but few people have ever heard of her. It doesn't matter whether Joan's story is legend or truth (though one can make a strong case for the latter, as I do in the Author's Note the end of my novel). King Arthur's story is known to be nothing more than legend, yet every school child knows Arthur's name. His story has been told and re-told, repeated and advanced to the point where it seems like history, like Henry VIII and his six wives. In contrast, Joan's story has been expunged, obliterated, and ignored. A good example of what Francis Bacon, the 17th-century philosopher said: "People believe what they prefer to be true." I think the movie is wonderful (and how often do you hear the author of the book say THAT?) Enjoy the screening at the Aero Theater as pure story-telling, or as history, whichever you prefer. Either way, I think you'll be inspired, as I was, by this tale of a woman who overcame medieval social strictures asserting that females can not reason and therefore should not be educated--and who defiantly went on to become the most brilliant and scholarly mind of her day. What an inspirational story to tell our daughters, and our sons!

POPE JOAN screens on Friday, October 27, 2010 at 7:30 PM at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica as part of GERMAN CURRENTS: New Films From Germany.

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Recent Spanish Cinema 16 at the Egyptian Theatre October 14 - 17

October 14 – 17, 2010, at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood

Presented in collaboration with the Instituto de la Cinematografía y de las Artes Audiovisuales (ICAA) of the Spanish Ministry of Culture and EGEDA - Filmotech.
With the support of Embassy of Spain in Washington, Spain USA Foundation, Consulate General of Spain in Los Angeles, Tourist Office of Spain in Los Angeles, Promoción Madrid (Madrid City Council) and E.L.M.A. (European Languages and Movies in America).
Sponsored by Lladró, Codorniú, Bodegas Terras Gauda y Viña Zaco.

One of the Cinematheque's most anticipated foreign film series is finally here. The detailed schedule with dates and times will be posted by October 1st. Below are the names of the films we will present, with an opening night slot reserved for the yet-to-be-announced official Spanish entry for Best Foreign Language Film Oscar! Join us to meet the next generation of Spanish stars and directors. Back in 1994 when the series began, a young unknown Spanish actor named Javier Bardem was our special guest!

Spanish cinema continues to attain a broader international market by embracing slick genre films, emotional dramas and box office winners that win critical acclaim both at home and abroad. This year’s selection of recent Spanish cinema focuses on a new generation of filmmakers, while highlighting performances by both seasoned veterans and talented newcomers in roles that demonstrate their strength and versatility. Don’t miss one of Spain’s most vibrant actors, Luis Tosar, as the delectable Bad Mother in Daniel Monzón’s box office hit CELDA 211. Lola Dueñas in Alvaro Pastor’s and Antonio Naharro’s YO, TAMBIÉN, alongside newcomer Pablo Pineda, garnered the Goya for Best Actress and both won accolades at the 2009 San Sebastian International Film Festival. Alberto Rodriguez’s AFTER showcases the talents of Blanca Romero, who received a nomination for Best New Actress at the 2010 Goyas. Emilio Aragon’s directorial debut, PÁJAROS DE PAPEL, pairs Imanol Arias and Lluís Homar as a comedy duo in a vaudeville troupe in post-civil war Spain. Oskar Santos directs EL MAL AJENO, starring Eduardo Noriega in a “snappishly contempo morality tale [that] is satisfyingly breathless and twisty,” raves Jonathan Holland of Variety. Daniel Sánchez Arévalo directs a stellar ensemble cast in GORDOS, a comedy that received seven nominations at the 2010 Goyas, with one win for Raúl Arévalo in the Best Supporting Actor category. Director Laura Maña’s second feature LA VIDA EMPIEZA HOY stars the ever-delightful Rosa Maria Sarda as an unconventional teacher of a senior citizen sex education class. All films in Spanish with English subtitles.

In addition to the lineup, we will screen the winning entries from the Recent Spanish Cinema XVI Student Short Film Contest, a competition for Spanish film students living in Los Angeles.

Join us for our Spanish Cinema opening night event, with Spain’s official selection for the 2011 Foreign-Language Film Oscar (film TBA in early October). Also, a celebratory bash will take place in the Egyptian Courtyard after the screening!

Actors and director will be joining us for the weekend – check our website for update.

Series compiled by Gwen Deglise with the assistance of Soledad González and Elvira Cano. Program notes by Noelia Saenz.

Join Recent Spanish Cinema on Facebook

Thursday, October 14 – 7:30 PM
Join us for our Spanish Cinema opening night event, with Spain’s official selection for the 2011 Foreign-Language Film Oscar (film TBA in early October). Also, a celebratory bash will take place in the Egyptian courtyard after the screening! Please check our website for details.

Friday, October 15 – 7:30 PM
The schedule for the weekend will be posted October 1, as soon as Spain’s official selection for the 2011 Foreign-Language Film Oscar is announced, Please check our website for details. The selection includes the following films (plus a few surprises!):

The selection will include:
L.A. Premiere! EL MAL AJENO, 2010, Mod Producciones, 107 min. Dir. Oskar Santos. After a near fatal shooting, Diego (Eduardo Noriega), an emotionally distant doctor, discovers he mysteriously possesses the ability to heal with a touch of his hands. This ability proves life-affirming, but with unforeseen consequences for Diego and his patients. Screen Daily describes this beautifully executed film as “an intriguing emotional and psychological drama.”
Trailer | Official Website

CELDA 211, 2009, IFC Films, 113 min. Dir. Daniel Monzón. After an on-the-job accident that renders him unconscious, Juan Oliver (Alberto Ammann), a rookie prison guard, finds himself locked inside cell 211 during a prison riot. To ensure his survival, Juan masquerades as a new prisoner and finds himself under the wings of Malamadre, aka Bad Mother (Luis Tosar), the prison riot leader. “The film won eight Goya Awards, the Spanish Oscars, this year. It deserves them.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Trailer | Official Website

L.A. Premiere! GORDOS, 2009, Cinemien, 110 min. Dir. Daniel Sánchez Arévalo. Stories and lives are intertwined in a group therapy session for fat people, led by thin therapist Abel (Roberto Enriquez). The participants include a now fleshier former spokesman for a weight-loss supplement; a jovial crime investigator; and a woman engaged to a thin and devoutly religious man. Don’t miss what Variety called “a daring, refreshingly fleshy take on society’s obsession with appearances”!
Trailer | Official Website

U.S. Premiere! LA VIDA EMPIEZA HOY, 2010, Ovideo TV, 90 min. Dir. Laura Maña. Olga (the ever-delightful Rosa Maria Sarda) teaches a sex education class to a group of senior citizens. “A lively, sympathetic script brought to bubbling life by fine perfs, agile scripting and a shot of social critique.” – Jonathan Holland, Variety.
Trailer | Official Website

U.S. Premiere! PAJAROS DE PAPEL, 2010, Hispano FoxFilms, 110 min. Dir. Emilio Aragon. A traveling vaudeville troupe struggles to stay afloat despite economic hardships in post-civil war Spain. Jorge del Pino (Imanol Arias), a former member of the resistance, and Enrique Corgo (Lluis Homar), a closeted homosexual, play a comedy duo who take in a feisty but lovable orphan named Miguel (Roger Princep). “A zesty celebration of those who entertain us,” – Variety
Trailer | Official Website

L.A. Premiere! YO, TAMBIEN, 2009, Olive Films, 103 min. Dir. Alvaro Pastor & Antonio Naharro. A recent university graduate with Down syndrome, Daniel (Pablo Pineda), falls in love with coworker Laura (Lola Dueñas, winner of the 2010 Goya for Best Actress), a woman battling her inner demons. This touching tale focuses on Daniel’s quest to develop a romantic relationship with Laura and raises the contentious issue of sexuality and love within the Down syndrome community.
Trailer | Official Website

U.S. Premiere! AFTER, 2009, La Zanfona Producciones, 116 min. Dir. Alberto Rodriguez. Three soon-to-be middle-aged friends reunite for one drug- and alcohol-fueled night of debauchery in Seville. Nominated for three Goyas, including Best Screenplay and Best Cinematography. “This is acid noir with a flashy surface.” – Robert Koehler, Variety
Trailer | Official Website

What Skills Do Americans Need in the 21st Century? 'Speaking in Tongues' Tackles This Topic

Sunday afternoon, the American Cinematheque at the Aero Theatre presents a new documentary on bi-lingual education. Following the film there will be a panel discussion with the following guest speakers:

  • Lori Orum, Principal, Edison Elementary School, Santa Monica Malibu School District
  • Toby Bornstein, Executive Director, Multicultural Learning Center, Los Angeles Unified School District
  • Shelly Spiegel-Coleman, Executive Director, Californians Together
  • Marcia Jarmel & Ken Schneider, Filmmakers, Speaking in Tongues


Sunday, September 12 – 3:00 PM at the Aero Theatre

SPEAKING IN TONGUES, 2009, Patchworks Productions, 60 min. Four Kids, Four Languages, One City, One World. Marcia Jarmel and Ken Schneider's fascinating documentary follows four kids from diverse backgrounds on a bold journey to becoming bilingual despite a troubled school system. At a time when 31 states have passed "English-only" laws, a few pioneering families have put their children in public schools where, from the first day of kindergarten, their teachers speak mostly Chinese or Spanish. This charming story will challenge you to rethink the skills that Americans need in the 21st century.Winner of the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the San Francisco International Film Festival.

View a trailer on the official Speaking in Tongues website.

Fox Celebrates 75th Anniversary with 'Valley of the Dolls' Double Feature

Fox Studios celebrates its 75th anniversary with 'HOMETOWN HOLLYWOOD,' a nationwide celebration. The Los Angeles event is a double feature of Jacqueline Susann's "VALLEY OF THE DOLLS" & Russ Meyer's BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS at the Egyptian Theatre tonight!

Discussion and meet-and-greet with actors Dolly Read, John Lazar and Harrison Page between films! Hosted by Jackie Beat!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010 - 7:30 PM
Fox 75th Anniversary Double Feature:
New Digitally Restored 35mm Print!

VALLEY OF THE DOLLS, 1967, 20th Century Fox, 123 min. Dir. Mark Robson. "You know it's bad to take liquor with those pills," warns small town girl-turned-supermodel Anne (Barbara Parkins) to Broadway diva/train wreck Neely (Patty Duke). Neely's answer: "They work faster." If you want to see the great, bitchy, booze-angst-sex-drugs-fueled godmother to the "Real Housewives" franchise, you've come to the right place! Based on Jacqueline Susann's runaway bestseller - which practically created a cottage industry in glossy, sex-drenched soap operas on page and screen - VALLEY also co-stars the tragically beautiful Sharon Tate as B-movie queen Jennifer. Enormous thanks to our friends at 20th Century Fox for striking a new print of this 1960s classic!

The Carrie Nations in Russ Meyer's Beyond the Valley of the Dolls
Beyond Valley of the Dolls
Pristine 35mm Archive Print! BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS,1970, 20th Century Fox/Criterion, 109 min. Dir. Russ Meyer. Girl-group madness from the director of FASTER, PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL! Dolly Reed, Marcia McBroom and Cynthia Myers journey from hicksville to Hollywood, hoping to make it with their rock trio, The Carrie Nations. They fall prey to the "business" as well as their own inflated ambitions, in what is arguably Meyer's most purely entertaining, pop-culture sex-fest (co-written by film critic Roger Ebert). With additional tunes by The Strawberry Alarm Clock. This is not a sequel the trailer assures, "You've never seen anything like it." Check out this studio trailer prepping the audience for the genius of Russ Meyer! Trailer | Clip. Discussion and meet-and-greet with actors Dolly Read, John Lazar and Harrison Page between films.

This event is part of the 75th Anniversary celebration of 20th Century Fox. As part of this nationwide celebration, Fox is presenting "Hometown Hollywood" events in 15 cities, featuring films being shown in the cities in which they were shot and by which they were inspired.

Portrait of Jackie Beat by Peter Pallandino.
The evening will be emceed by the incomparable Jackie Beat who played Helen Lawson in the off Broadway NYC production.

You are encouraged to glam up when you come out to this fabulous celebration of bouffant hair, gold culottes, booze and pills in an assortment of pretty colors and every girl's desire to be a buxom rock starlet.

View this event on the Cinematheque's website.

The American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre is proud to celebrate Twentieth Century Fox’s 75th anniversary by bringing two of its most beloved films back to the big screen, Valley of the Dolls and Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.

Tonight’s screening is just one aspect of a year-long celebration to commemorate and promote Fox’s library and legacy.

The Egyptian Theatre has been chosen as a historic “Hometown Hollywood” location for its contribution to the revitalization of the City of Hollywood. The Egyptian held the first-ever Hollywood premiere when it opened in 1922, and twelve years ago this major Hollywood landmark was renovated by American Cinematheque.

Tonight’s seat dedication at the Egyptian on behalf of Fox’s 75th anniversary pays tribute to the movies of yesterday that continue to inspire people today.

The Agony and the Ecstasy of Phil Spector Comes to LA

A few years ago you couldn't turn on a TV, or open a browser without hearing about the Phil Spector trial. In England, a director wanted to make a documentary for the BBC. He suggested that he try to interview Spector. Everyone dismissed this as even a remote possibility. Spector didn't grant interviews. But, Vikram Jayanti sent him a letter anyone and to everyone's surprise Spector said yes. Jayanti made it inside the castle and he spoke one-on-one with the man many in the music industry call genius and many more call murderer. Decide for yourself this week when you see THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY OF PHIL SPECTOR, an apt title for a look at the life of the out-of-control guru of pop music who began his career with a hit he penned called "To Know Him Is To Love Him" - inspired by the epitaph on his dead-by- suicide, father's tombstone. - and who ended it, jailed for murder. Director Vikram Jayanti will appear for discussion following the film on Opening Night (8/19) and again on 8/20. From Spector's very early days, is two-time Oscar nominee, singer/songwriter Carol Connors who will introduce the 8/20, 7:30 PM show. Carol was the voice of The Teddy Bears, Spector's teen band. She sang "To Know Him Is To Love Him" and as a result, met and dated Elvis Presley. Carol will discuss Phil Spector, Before the Wall of Sound in her introductory remarks.

THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY OF PHIL SPECTOR Screens August 19 - 25 at the Egyptian Theatre in an exclusive Los Angeles Engagement at multiple showtimes. For details and showtimes click here.

KPCC Interview with Vikram Jayanti by John Rabe:

LA Weekly Story by Karina Longworth:

LA Times review by Kenneth Turan:

WAH DO DEM - Adventure in Jamaica with Sean Bones, Yeahsayer, MGMT & More

"If you're in search of this generation's Brooklyn hipster-pop equivalent of Singles (or at least Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist), there's a promising candidate in the form of Wah Do Dem, a new movie from directors Sam Fleischner and Ben Chace. Singer-songwriter Sean Bones stars as a recently-dumped Brooklyn skateboarder who gets lost in Jamaica after taking a cruise alone that he was supposed to take with his girlfriend (played by Norah Jones) Yeasayer's Ira Wolf Tuton also stars in the film, and it features appearances by Suckers (who perform live in the film) and MGMT's Ben Goldwasser, as well as music from Santigold, Yeasayer, MGMT, Suckers, the Congos, and Bones. he film shares a title with an eternally badass dancehall anthem by Eek-A-Mouse." - Pitchfork

Once in Jamaica, Max quickly escapes the tourist zone for more "authentic" surroundings and in the process is robbed of his possessions and is stranded, and literally misses the boat. As Max sets out for the American Embassy in Kingston on foot, Jamaica is waiting to meet him with unexpected and extraordinary encounters, including a full-moon celebration with the legendary reggae group The Congos, and a dreamy stay with a Rasta prophet (Carl Bradshaw,

Screenings at the Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Boulevard, LA, CA 90028:
The film repeats on the following dates and times.
Friday, June 18, 2010 at 7:30 PM & 9:00 PM, Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian Theatre
Saturday, June 19, 2010 at 7:30 PM & 9:00 PM, Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian Theatre
Sunday, June 20, 2010 at 4:00 PM, Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian Theatre
Buy Tickets | Read about this on the Cinematheque Website
and in New York this weekend at the Cinema Village.

WAH DO DEM co-creators Ben Chace and Sam Fleischner have been friends since kindergarten. Two years ago Ben won a cruise in a raffle at a free screening of Buster Keaton's THE GENERAL in Brooklyn's Prospect Park and invited Sam to come along. The young filmmakers decided to turn the trip into a project. With a mutual love for Jamaican culture and a free boat ride to the Caribbean, they began to map out the story's possible scenarios. Two additional cruise tickets were bought for actor/musician Sean Bones and Kevin Bewersdorf, sound recordist/actor. The crew of four boarded the luxury vessel in Red Hook, Brooklyn and sailed for one week. Once in Jamaica, they were joined by producer Katina Hubbard for two weeks of Island production. WAH DO DEM (Jamaican Patois for "what's wrong with them") enjoyed its world premiere at the 2009 LA Film Festival where it was honored with the top jury prize for Best Narrative Film. The movie went on to screen at the London, San Francisco IndieFest, Spokane (Best Feature), Reggae (Best International Feature), and Vancouver film festivals.

"Guerrilla indie filmmaking meets slacker road movie, WAH DO DEM is a well crafted black comedy that benefits from its raw, improvisational feel. "
-Critic's Notebook

"Winning and often funny, the scrappy Amerindie WAH DO DEM is a fish-out-of-water comedy driven by Sean "Bones" Sullivan's offbeat performance..."

"A dynamic portrait of Jamaica and of vacation as experience, not escape."
-The Hollywood Reporter

Sean Bones, Norah Jones, Carl Bradshaw,
Kevin Bewersdorf, and Mark Gibbs

Sean Bones, MGMT, Yeasayer, Santigold, Suckers,
Mykal Rose, Mr. Lexx

Filmmaker Magazine interviewed filmmakers Sam Fleischner and Ben Chace about their unusual story behind making the film (they won a cruise to Jamaica). Click here to read the interview.
Watch the trailer. Official WAH DO DEM website

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Producing Web Entertainment

On Monday, June 21st at 7:30 PM, filmmakers, actors and others will have an opportunity to learn from professionals involved in creating web entertainment at a panel discussion focused on how to produce for the web, how to get your work seen, how to market your web series and best practices for interacting with with the major sites that stream web series and more.

Panelists include:

Jim Burns, Executive Producer of Fear Clinic,

Illeana Douglas, Creator/Writer/Actor, "Easy to Assemble"

Mark Gantt, Executive Producer/Co-Writer/Actor "The Bannen Way"

Peter Hyoguchi, CEO, Strike.TV

Amber J. Lawson, Comedy Publisher at

Brady Brim-DeForest, CEO of

David Fickas, Drama 3/4 Productions
and others to be announced.

The American Cinematheque at the Aero Theatre presents a panel discussion on web entertainment, web series creation, sustainability and growth, entitled EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PRODUCING WEB ENTERTAINMENT. Following moderated questions, audience members will have an opportunity to ask questions of the panelists.

Once just a revenue and career gamble, the world of web series creation is now becoming a vital life force all its own for emerging filmmakers, actors, producers and writers. Not only are careers getting started both in front of and behind the camera, but established celebrity participation and corporate endorsement of web series creation is on the rise.

Are you still resisting understanding the vast exposure the internet can provide your film career?

Yes, there is a BIG web entertainment world out there... but let’s set the stage for all of you filmmakers, producers, writers and actors looking for a start in the entertainment industry:

Here’s a little fact sheet to consider about today’s Web Entertainment industry:

The web entertainment industry includes ORIGINAL programming of every conceivable genre and classification (and a few yet to be defined) known to the established mainstream industry. Action, animation, cult, documentary, drama, experimental, exploitation, fantasy, horror, informational, LGBT, musical, noir, reality, sci-fi and talk original series can all be found on the internet. And then there are the comedies – situation, sketch, screwball, stand-up, sex, satire, parody and some really twisted blends!

Corporations as diverse as IKEA, Lexus, Altoids and Spherion are all getting involved in the creation of “branded” web series. Jaguar, Kodak, Verizon Wireless and Mountain Dew are coming to the playfield with financial support via “product integration”.

Academy Award nominees like Michael Lerner (BARTON FINK) and Robert Forester (JACKIE BROWN); Emmy Award winners/nominees like Lisa Kudrow (“Friends”), Megan Mullally (“Will & Grace”), Ed Begley, Jr. (“St. Elsewhere”) and Illeana Douglas (“Six Feet Under”); television beloveds Justine Bateman (“Family Ties”), Wil Wheaton (“Star Trek: The Next Generation”), Neil Patrick Harris (“Doogie Howser, M.D.); cult/horror superstars like Robert Englund and today’s hottest established talent like Zach Galifianakis (THE HANGOVER), Rosario Dawson (SIN CITY, SEVEN POUNDS); a host of the coolest and brightest new stars (Amir Blumenfeld, Nathan Fillion, Mark Gantt, Rachael Hip-Flores, Nicole Pacent et all); impressive new animators are all contributing new content exclusively to the web.

The mainstream, broadcast world has warmed up to buying and adapting web original series for the more traditional form of exhibition they offer. Catch Lisa Kudrow’s former web series original, WEB THERAPY, debuting on Showtime soon!

The coveted “Best Short Film” prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival did not go to an independently or film school made short film. A web designed short took top honors.

The Television Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2009 recognized web series DR. HORRIBLE’S SING-A-LONG BLOG with a “Prime Time” Emmy Award (Dr. Horrible beat out the likes of “Battlestar Galactica”, “The Daily Show”, “30 Rock” and Bruce Springsteen for the honor!)

The world has found its first American “webberty” in actor Felicia Day (THE GUILD).

Whether you are a budding filmmaker looking for a place to start, a smart producer looking for an arena to play in, an actor looking for a career start and a way to get in front of thousands of viewers or if you are just interested in learning more about the best web series out there, our June 21st Web Entertainment seminar is going to be completely invaluable to you!

It is high time to turn a brighter light on an end of the entertainment industry that all too frequently escapes the attention it deserves.

Monday, June 21 at 7:30 PM
American Cinematheque at the Aero Theatre
1328 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90403
$12 Member, $15 Student/Senior, $20 General.
Buy Tickets | Official Website

American Cinematheque on National Television Tonight!

Tonight's the Night Folks! Strange as it may sound, American Cinematheque employees, members and supporters are being encouraged to sit around their television sets at home tonight around 9pm. Yep, tonight is the premiere broadcast of the American Cinematheque Award presentation to Matt Damon on ABC. Tune in and make the ratings sky-rocket.

The Cinematheque gave out its 24th annual award back on March 27 in front of a live audience at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills. Now the nation will have a chance to witness this
momentous occasion on national television tonight, Thursday, May 27 at 9 PM on ABC (that is channel 7 in Los Angeles).

Here are the details:
Award-winning actor Matt Damon was the recipient of the 24th American
Cinematheque Award at a gala held this past March at the Beverly Hilton. The presentation and celebration will be televised in the hour-long special, Hollywood Salutes Matt Damon: An American Cinematheque Tribute, airing THURSDAY, MAY 27 (check local listings) on the ABC Television Network. The stellar list of guests who paid tribute to Damon when he received the award from longtime friend and co-star Ben Affleck are Casey Affleck, Don Cheadle, Clint Eastwood, Jennifer Garner, Jimmy Kimmel, Greg Kinnear, Sarah Silverman, Charlize Theron and Robin Williams. In addition, George Clooney and Ben Stiller paid tribute by partaking in individual pre-taped comedy sketches, while President William Jefferson Clinton appeared in and narrated a piece about Damon's humanitarian efforts. Damon's efforts include work with and as an ambassador with

Read a post by the show's writer David Wild on the Huffington Post blog.

For information about the American Cinematheque Awards click here.

Top photo: Courtesy of ABC
All other photos: Eric Charbonneau/Le Studio Photography

Jim Henson Studios Family Day: Fraggles and Doozers and Gorgs OH MY!

It's Jim Henson Family day at the Egyptian Theatre on May 22 at 10 AM. The kids are in for a treat with the appearance of Sid the Science Kid, Buddy the T-Rex from Dinosaur Train, Red Fraggle from The Fraggles and more! A program of films on the Egyptian's giant screen, including a sneak of something new from the Jim Henson Studios and fun, fun, fun activities in the Egyptian's Courtyard for kids of all ages. The Henson Studio gave us the Muppets on "Sesame Street" back in 1969 and they continue to delight new generations with their creative puppet wizardry!

In attendance will be Buddy the T-rex from "Dinosaur Train," the new hit series on PBS KIDS®. Additional special guests include Red Fraggle, star of the hit series "Fraggle Rock," with world-renowned puppeteer Karen Prell; Paul Rugg, star of the PBSKIDS GO! Web destination "Wilson & Ditch: Digging America," who will demonstrate the Emmy ® Award winning Henson Digital Puppetry Studio; and creative Guru Courtney Watkins, star of the online creativity destination "The Possibility Shop" featured on Disney Online’s*

The event is co-produced by the Producers Guild of America/ New Media Council as part of the Saturday 2.0 series: JIM HENSON FAMILY DAY: One of the world's most visionary puppetry artists, Jim Henson brought an original combination of playful fun and artful sophistication to his groundbreaking film and television works that widely appeal to children and adults alike. Henson gave us such icons as Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and a host of other memorable Muppets, not to mention the Fraggles and various Sesame Street characters. Join us for a special program of shorts from The Jim Henson Legacy and some new material from The Henson Company.
Saturday, May 22 – 10:00 AM at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood

A BETTER WORLD: LIVING IN HARMONY from world-touring series Muppets™, Music & Magic: Jim Henson's Legacy (90 min). Included in this wonderful, environmentally-oriented program of shorts from the beloved Henson studio is a 1983 rare episode from the "Fraggle Rock" TV show that contrasts three different communities (the musical Fraggles, the industrious Doozers and the giant Gorgs!) living in harmony in a carefully balanced underground world far below those mysterious silly creatures (the humans) who live above ground, and the short "The Song of the Cloud Forest," (1989) a beautifully colorful evocation of the rain forest and the adventures of a lovable golden toad, directed by Jim Henson. It features a blend of music, puppetry and animation resulting in a vibrant landscape of color that echoes the natural beauty found in the real world's rain forest. Starring a brightly colored cast of puppet animals, the show celebrates the beauty of this natural environment while educating the audience of the real dangers threatening the survival of both the rain forest and its inhabitants. (c) The Muppets Studio, LLC 2010, (c)The Jim Henson Company, 2010. After the shorts program, the Henson Company will showcase exciting sneak peeks in the Rigler Theatre, and host lots of fun activities in the Egyptian courtyard until 2:30 PM. Free for ticket-holders!

The Jim Henson Company's Family Day at the Egyptian Theatre will feature an exciting line up of children's favorite characters and activities including Sid from "Sid the Science Kid," Buddy from "Dinosaur Train," Red Fraggle from "Fraggle Rock," Ditch from "Wilson & Ditch Digging America" and Courtney Watkins from "The Possibility Shop." To celebrate the June 21 premiere of Sid's "No School Singalong Special!" Sid himself will be on hand to meet with kids and parents, and welcome them to a dynamic and interactive investigation station hosted by local PBS affiliate KCET/Los Angeles where kids can investigate, explore and discover!

11:30 AM: Premiere of "Sid the Science Kid:" "No School Singalong Special!"

12:00 PM: Premiere of "Dinosaur Train:" "Pteranodon Family World Tour," "Gilbert the Conductor"

12:30 PM: "Wilson & Ditch: Digging America:" Two comical gopher brothers explore America

12:45 PM: "The Possibility Shop:" Creative Guru Courtney Watkins demonstrates how to turn ordinary afternoons into extraordinary creative adventures for the whole family

Website | Buy Tickets