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COLUMN: Happy all the time: Fogies, snappers, and simians too

The Grand Seduction is a Canadian film that is not to be missed. - Submitted photo
The Grand Seduction is a Canadian film that is not to be missed.
— image credit: Submitted photo

There was a small flurry of emails amongst the Civic’s movers and shakers last week.

Theatre manager Jason Asbell started it off by letting the board and a few key affiliates know —some of whom have, apparently, been muttering a bit — that a week of films for the “old fogies” demographic was in store.

President Marilyn Mint immediately removed herself from said demographic, declaring herself “ageless,” but the truth is, many of us were pleased with last week’s non-blockbuster lineup: The Chef, Jersey Boys, and coming up tomorrow as the Thursday flick, Don McKellar’s remake of The Grand Seduction, which has been getting rave reviews.

Crowd-pleaser that the recent showing of the summer blockbuster Transformers may have been among the younger set, for me this was a welcome shift.

The Chef and Jersey Boys were great. And believe me, you want to see The Grand Seduction, an ageless movie that, honestly, defies demographic. It’s just good Canadian fun, with great writing and actors in a stunning setting.

Rigid distribution rules demand that movies shown “on the break”— as soon as they are released — must get exclusive screen time: no other movies shown during the run, which could be as long as two weeks.

For a one-screen small-town theatre, it means that when a new blockbuster takes over it can shut out the old fogies or the young whipper-snappers (depending on the film), for a chunk of time.

In the three-screen Civic Theatre of the future, any given week will feature fare for both, as well as something for the in-betweens.

We want everything for everybody, all the time. Because doesn’t Nelson deserve that?

Jason and his programming team do try to keep everyone in mind. Coming up we have blockbusters such as The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes for the simian demographic, as well as some more eclectic offerings.

The Bus, screening on Wednesday, July 30, is a quirky documentary about the VW bus from its post-Second World War utilitarian days to the cultural icon it became.

Director Damon Ristau and its central character, Dave Manning — a vagabond musician travelling in his 1965 split screen VW Bus — will be in attendance, with a set of music from Dave. Jason hopes folks will bring out their beloved buses for a procession in front of the theatre.

I love it when we have the players on stage, in person; it makes for my favourite kind of Civic event. That said, I’m just as glad that the stars of Planet of the Apes aren’t up for the trip. I’ve seen the trailer, and I have to say: those things have teeth.

For those still feeling demographically out of sorts, there’s good news: the Civic has partnered with the Capitol to begin showing Great Performances on the big screen, alternating between venues. Look for Royal Opera House Cinema, Shakespeare’s Globe, and Great Art on Screen in the coming months.

We’ll kick off by celebrating mid-summer on July 23 with A Midsummer Night’s Dream. By that time, air conditioning should be installed and cooling down your midsummer night at the movies.

“Something for everybody” may be cliché, but in the Civic’s case, it’s true.

Having a membership not only gives you a break at the box office and free Member Movie Mondays, it’s estimated that every membership dollar translates into $5 in funding for theatre renovations, including three screens — so that eventually, every demographic will be happy all the time. How great is that?


— Anne DeGrace is the past president of the Nelson Civic Theatre Society. To buy or renew memberships or find out about upcoming movies and events go to

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