Monday, May 22, 2017

Strand announces the Reel Film Festival

ROCKLAND, Maine - The presentation of movies as they were originally meant to be viewed--- on 35 mm film projected onto the silver screen---is coming to the Strand Theatre, 345 Main Street, on June 23 and 24.  Three films, Cabaret, A Star is Born and The Band Wagon will be the line-up for a two day Reel Film Festival which organizers hope will become an annual event for the Strand.

“The Strand is one of only a few theaters in the region that has the ability to project film,” says Jo Dondis, chair of the Board of the Friends of the Strand Theatre, the non-profit entity that owns and operates the Strand. “When we switched to digital projection three years ago, the comfortable size of the projection booth allowed us to keep our two large projectors. Although the casual observer may not notice the difference between digital and film there is a richness, a certain “flicker” that comes with the film experience.  We want to give our audiences the opportunity to enjoy that at least once a year.”

The films, among the greatest cinematic musicals of all time, are linked by two stars and a director.  Vincente Minnelli directed The Band Wagon (1953, starring Fred Astaire). His daughter Liza Minnelli starred in Cabaret (1972) and her mother, Judy Garland, was the showstopper in A Star is Born (1954).

“We wanted to tie the program together thematically, and because of the popularity of the musical La La Land this year, thought it was a good time to showcase musicals,” says Jessie Davis, Executive Director of the Strand.  “So even if you’re not a film purist, this program offers a big punch in terms of sheer entertainment and is designed to appeal to a wide range of people.”

Featured speakers will include the world’s preeminent Judy Garland author, authority and lecturer John Fricke, and film producer, writer, director and local resident Willard Carroll.  Emmy Award winning Fricke, who has written seven books on Garland, will speak briefly before each film and answer questions afterward.  Willard Carroll, an Emmy Award winning producer whose films include “Playing By Heart” with Sean Connery and Angelina Jolie, “Marigold” and “Tom’s Midnight Garden,” will join Fricke on stage after the final screening Saturday evening to wrap up the festival with a conversation about the films and the musical genre in general.

The Constellation Center Collection at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Film Archive is loaning the Strand the three restored film prints.

Screening schedule:
Cabaret: Friday June 23 at 7pm.
A Star is Born: Saturday, June 24 at 2pm
The Band Wagon: Saturday, June 24 7pm

Tickets are $12 per screening, or $30 for a festival pass that includes admission to all three films. For more information, visit Tel: (207) 594-0070 EX 3  Email:

Photo: Judy Garland in A Star is Born

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