Shot in the Dark hopes to shed some light on the Toronto International Film Festival’s (TIFF) independent line-up this fall with a new season of Langley Film Nights.
The local non-profit group certainly has had a lengthy relationship with cinema, currently celebrating their 20th anniversary of screening movies for the public at Cineplex Langley (20090 91a Ave).
Every spring and fall, Shot in the Dark screens a batch of films every second Wednesday, which normally wouldn’t get a mainstream release in theatres based in smaller communities.
Organizer Dennis deGroot said the screenings began as a labour of love, which have only grown over the past two decades.
“A couple of brothers in Toronto wanted to get smaller towns into the circuit back in 1999 so that independent and Canadian movies were getting seen outside bigger markets like Montreal and Vancouver,” deGroot said. “Langley was one of the first of that group, which has since grown into 170 [locations].”
“They used to ship tins of actual film by Greyhound bus which would travel from town to town…Veron to Langley to the island…,” deGroot continued. “What’s changed is now instead of the tins, they send a hard drive and people screen them wherever possible like gyms and libraries.”
Because of Shot in the Dark’s relationship with Cineplex Langley, the group has always had a home in one of their smaller theatres.
deGroot said they average about 100 audiences members, a number that sometimes doubles depending on what’s playing.
“The average audience member age is around 65, but it just depends,” deGroot said. “We just screened a polish film last season called Cold War, which attracted a high number of polish immigrants who loved it and were singing along with the movie. We screened another one made in the Haida language which attracted a few people that were actually from Haida Gwaii.”
The 2019 fall season officially kicks off, Wednesday, Sept. 11 with a screening of the foreign language film Photograph.
Six films will make up the season until November for a Christmas break. deGroot said Langley Film Nights will return in the spring with an even longer line-up.
“What we do is pretty low key and we try to give back to the community when we can. We’ll skim some of our earnings and give it to local schools to their film department,” he added, hoping for a 20th anniversary celebration in the spring.
The films that are screening as part of the 2019 fall season of Langley Films Nights are as follows;
Photography, a foreign language romance about about a photographer in Mumbai who gets a stranger to pose as his partner, plays Wednesday, Sept. 11.
Amazing Grace, Aretha Franklin’s live recordings of her gospel album of the same name (previously thought to have been lost) will play Wednesday, Sept. 25.
The Public, an Emilio Eztevez-led dramedy about homeless people that organize a sit-in protest at their local library, plays Wednesday, Oct. 9.
Peterloo, Mike Leigh’s political period peice set against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars screens Wednesday, Oct. 23.
They Shall Not Grow Old, Peter Jackson’s WWI documentary that colourizes and revitalizes old footage of the Great War, screens Wednesday, Nov. 6.
Sometimes Always Never, a British family drama starring Bill Nighy, follows a father and his strained relationship with two sons, which plays Wednesday, Nov. 20.
Tickets are $10 at the door, starting one hour before each film begins.
Season passes covering all six films can also be bought at the door or Wendel’s Bookstore (9233 Glover Rd) for $50.
Each screening starts at 7:30 p.m.
People can visit www.Shotinthedark.ca to find out more about the group and what’s playing at Langley Film Nights.
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